KC-46 Simulators now at Pease

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

As the contractors install the last module, tighten the last screw, and finely tune the necessary software, the work on the new KC-46 simulators is nearing completion here at Pease. The first KC-46A is scheduled to arrive, Aug. 2019.

The Weapons System Trainer, (WST) and Boom Operator Trainer, (BOT) have been installed and are scheduled for government testing Nov. 27 – Dec. 11, and will be ready for training crews Jan. 16, 2019. The Fuselage Trainer, (FuT) is nearing completion and is scheduled to train crews starting Dec. 5.

“The Simulator should have a profound impact,” said Lt. Col. Michael Sanders, KC-46 project integration officer with the 157th Air Refueling Wing, referring to the (WST) or flight simulator.  “It’s a high quality high fidelity sim much like the airlines would use.”  

“By replicating flight conditions and various malfunctions, it affords us the opportunity for emergency and adverse weather training to a level that would not be possible in the actual aircraft,” said Capt. Leon Rice, Instructor Pilot, 157th ARW, currently training on the KC-46. “The simulator also allows for normal flight training without the associated wear and tear that occurs when employing our actual aircraft.”

The virtual nature of the simulators allows for new training scenarios.   

“The sim allows you to link up with not just the boom operator sim and fly as a crew, but you can link up with the F-35 unit going into Burlington and fly an exercise with them just virtually,” said Sanders.

The BOT or boom operator trainer is housed in the same building as the WST. The BOT will allow boom operators, who are tasked with operating the refueling system on board the aircraft, the ability to complete air refueling training without leaving Pease.

Housed in a newly refurbished hanger across base is the new FuT or fuselage trainer. 


“The FuT is a full size KC-46 fuselage with fully functional controls, loading equipment and operable doors. The escape slides can even be activated for egress training,” said Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Luter, Inflight Refueling Instructor/Evaluator, 157th ARW. “The BOT will allow boom operators to maintain a high level of proficiency and practice emergency procedures that may not be possible or desirable to simulate during an actual air refueling on the aircraft.”


The Fut will be used primarily for training boom operators in the safe handling of cargo loading, as well as equipment handling for aircraft maintenance crews. In the advent of the wing receiving an air evacuation squadron, the FuT will be used to train medical personnel on the safe handling of patients within the aircraft.


“Proficiency training is an ongoing process,” said Luter. “It is a tremendous benefit to have those devices at home station. There are many flying organizations without their own simulators that constantly are sending crews off station to complete proficiency training.”