334th TRS exchanges equipment, saves money

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stephan Coleman
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
By working with the Air Force Flight Standards Agency for a radar simulator monitor exchange, the 334th Training Squadron is providing necessary training equipment and saving money with an aim toward cost conscious culture.

Instead of upgrading the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System currently in place, the equipment will be returned to the career field and installed in facilities to support the National Airspace System while less expensive equipment is installed in its place.

"We were slated for an upgrade costing approximately $3.5 million," said Robert Brown, 334th TRS instructor supervisor. "But, the new PC replacements are only a $90,000 investment."

The PC-based Simulation and Integration of Ground, Network, and Air Links serves the same training purposes as the STARS equipment, which is an actual Air Traffic Control system, with little to no maintenance costs, said James Gunn, 334th TRS flight chief.

"While we can't get a definite figure on maintenance savings, the STARS system needs trained operators to work on it for upgrades and maintenance," said Gunn. "The SIGNAL software only requires a PC to run."

Commercial computers are used with Windows-based platforms to run SIGNAL, which has been in use by the Federal Aviation Administration for over 15 years. Upgrades and enhancements are free from the FAA.

The equipment overhaul initiative will standardize training in all 10 radar simulators and rid the squadron of unnecessary electrical costs. While the STARS monitors run off a server room, the SIGNAL classrooms will be self-contained, said Gunn.

"I love the STARS equipment," said Brown. "But there is too much cost benefit in the changeover, and the students are trained the same."