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New aerial gunnery simulator comes to F.E. Warren

Airman fires simulated rifle

Staff Sgt. Phillip Hill demonstrates the use of an aerial gunnery simulator, made to simulate the M240D rifle on the UH-1N Huey. The simulation is likely to save the squadron millions in ammunition and fuel costs, as well as range fees. (U. S. Air Force photo by Glenn S. Robertson)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

The 37th Helicopter Squadron took possession of an Aerial Gunnery Simulator April 27, 2021 at the helicopter hangar on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.

The simulator is expected to provide substantial cost savings to the squadron, as well as provide accurate simulated training for airmen manning the M240D rifle on the UH-1N Huey and then the MH-139 Grey Wolf.

“Taking Airmen up to train firing this weapon, considering cost per flight hour and the cost of ammunition, can be very expensive,” said Staff Sgt. Phillip Hill, flight chief and evaluator special mission aviator for the 37th Helicopter Squadron. “Every time we train using this simulator can save thousands of dollars for each flight.”

Though the simulator cannot be used for weapon qualification or requalification, the practice and muscle memory it promises to provide will help ensure that live qualifications will be more familiar when Airmen fill the gunner’s sling.

“Every time an airman uses this simulator, they will become more and more familiar with how the weapon works,” said Hill. “It will make it that much more likely that when they do have to qualify, they’ll know exactly what they’re doing and have no issues getting it done.”

Another challenge the simulator helps overcome is the ready availability of the system, in contrast with the difficulty in procuring range time to fire the weapon.

“Getting range time for live-fire training can be difficult, so having this simulator device will help ensure my Airmen are better trained and more proficient in the delivery of aerial fires with the weapon we employ.” said Lt. Col. Christopher Karins, 37th Helicopter Squadron commander. “That in turn, will ensure they are more prepared to fulfill their role within the nuclear security mission.”

With those challenges put aside, the Airmen of the 37th Helicopter Squadron are more equipped to handle their responsibilities to the ICBM mission.