The Marine Light Helicopter Attack Squadron (HMLA) training received a boost with the successful delivery of the H-1 Mission Rehearsal Trainer (MRT) prototype in February. The prototype, delivered to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, is fully transportable with a small footprint and allows Marines to practice tactical combat skills, mission scenarios, and maintain combat proficiency while deployed.

The H-1 Mission Rehearsal Trainer (MRT) on display during a March 14 demonstration at NAVAIR headquarters. The new simulator provides on-site mission rehearsal training, increasing opportunities for pilots to maintain combat skills while deployed. Credit: US Navy

The H-1 MRT is the result of a collaborative effort between the Naval Aviation Training Systems and Ranges program office (PMA-205), PMA-276, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), and industry partners Veraxx Engineering Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Varjo, and Aechelon Technology. The team aimed to deliver a deployable trainer using state-of-the-art technology with the same capabilities as a much larger flight training device.

Col. Vasillios Pappas, Light/Attack Helicopters (PMA-276) program manager, expressed the importance of the MRT in maintaining warfighter readiness, saying, “The ability to train our pilots, regardless of location, is a game changer for the fleet.”

The H-1 MRT was designed with a small footprint, no larger than six-by-six-by-nine-foot dimensions, and is reconfigurable between a UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper. It can be assembled and disassembled in less than an hour, and the components stored in ruggedized cases that are transportable by hand. The H-1 MRT is light enough that it can be transported anywhere and deployed as long as the infrastructure is in place.

During a recent demonstration, Mr. Gary Kurtz, program executive officer for Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault, and Special Mission Programs (PEO (A)), had the opportunity to “fly” the new H-1 Mission Rehearsal Trainer (MRT). The simulator provides on-site mission rehearsal training, increasing opportunities for pilots to maintain combat skills while deployed. Credit: US Navy

The MRT features a Varjo XR-3 mixed reality headset as the primary visual system, providing the required visual acuity and fidelity necessary for advanced mission scenario and weapon systems training. The successful integration of the XR-3 demonstrated a paradigm shift in training capabilities through the utilization of a head-mounted system as the primary display in a training device design for and utilized for advanced combat effectiveness training. The head-mounted display is also a natural fit for a deployable trainer, helping to greatly reduce the MRT space required aboard ship.

The H-1 MRT team achieved another first with the successful emulation/simulation of the H-1 Mission Computer (MC) which relieves the trainers of a dependence on long-lead, short supply, and often expensive aircraft Government Furnished Equipment (GFE). The emulated MC paves the way for possibilities to integrate this technology into all other existing H-1 training systems, freeing up assets needed by fleet aircraft.

The H-1 MRT is currently in production and is on schedule to deliver to the fleet beginning in 2025.

PMA-276 manages the procurement, development, support, fielding, and disposal of the Marine Corps rotary wing close air support, anti-armor, armed escort, armed/visual reconnaissance, and fire support program systems. PMA-205 provides full life-cycle acquisition of naval aviation training platforms, general training systems, training range instrumentation systems, and distributed mission training centers to provide Navy and Marine Corps pilots, naval flight officers, aircrew, and maintainers with the training equipment required to provide superior capability and operational readiness.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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