The Navy and Air Force are acquiring a new air combat training system called the Tactical Combat Training System Increment II (TCTS II). It is a generational leap into the future enabled by digital technology. The new system substitutes synthetically generated threats in place of adversary aircraft to provide a more rigorous, affordable and secure training system. A pilot flying a training mission can’t tell the difference on his displays from real threats, but the new system enables much faster updates to incorporate new threat intelligence while precluding the ability of actual adversaries to learn from observing training exercises. The only problem with the new system is that the Pentagon isn’t modernizing its training ranges at a rate that keeps pace with emerging threats. Congress needs to accelerate range modernization so U.S. and coalition pilots can benefit fully from the fruits of new training technology. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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