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Building training innovation

Thomas Lassabe, Trainer Development Center flight chief, demonstrates virtual reality equipment capabilities inside the Trainer Development Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 2, 2019. The Trainer Development Center produces equipment to further the innovative qualities for Air Force training while staying cost effective. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller)

Thomas Lassabe, Trainer Development Center flight chief, demonstrates virtual reality equipment capabilities inside the Trainer Development Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 2, 2019. The Trainer Development Center produces equipment to further the innovative qualities for Air Force training while staying cost effective. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller)

A lasercutting machine carves a circuit board designed by the Trainer Development Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 2, 2019. The Trainer Development Center produces equipment to further the innovative qualities for Air Force training while staying cost effective. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller)

A lasercutting machine carves a circuit board designed by the Trainer Development Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 2, 2019. The Trainer Development Center produces equipment to further the innovative qualities for Air Force training while staying cost effective. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The trainer development center is responsible for modernizing training materials for the Air Force through the most cost-effective methods possible.

The cost-effective modernization of training equipment is made possible through the four sections of the trainer development center: the instructional technology unit, trainer development portion, simulation software and cyber campus training network.

“When you’re teaching students about how a network works it’s hard to teach that without the students seeing it,” said Thomas Lassabe, Trainer Development Center flight chief. “A virtual environment allows us to go in and take the students through the system. The instructor can put faults in and the student has to figure it out in the virtual environment, so anything they do is not affecting real world operations.”

The trainer development portion of the center creates training hardware such as a hands-on trainer and the circuit boards that go inside of it. Any software needed to complete the training unit is gathered from the instructional technology unit, simulation software or cyber campus training network.

“Collectively, between simware and trainer development, they build what you would see in the field, but simware adds the software, the realism piece to it,” said Lassabe. “If you can bring us an idea, we think we can build it, as long as it will fit out the backdoor, we’ll give it a shot.”

Crafting the equipment isn’t always the best option, however.

“We have a form a customer fills out,” said Lassabe. “We take the form, review it and check for any commercial off the shelf products that would provide the same benefit and then we would weigh the cost. Is it cheaper for us to build it or is it cheaper just to buy something that’s already built off the shelf?”

Not only does the center save on cost through the creation or purchase of equipment, but they also save through maintaining what they provide.

“When we build something we like to take it cradle-to-grave, so if it’s in the classroom for ten years we’ll keep it on our books to provide changes and updates,” said Lassabe. “Anytime our approved software falls off the network, the approved listing, we’ll try and find new software to support it or we’ll supply the customer with an entirely different trainer built around a new approved software.”

The trainer development center offers a cost-effective way to modernize the training and education of the next generation of Airmen.