NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The 363d ISR Wing’s LION Board initiative has helped secure funds for multiple squadrons, covering ideas from postnatal recovery support to data backup in the cloud.
When the 547th Intelligence Squadron heard about the LION Board, members from the squadron saw an opportunity to modernize the Frick Threat Training Facility. Ninety days after their pitch was approved by the board, the FTTF was transformed.
The FTTF, built in the 1970s, is one of the most visited training venues here, with approximately 36,000 visitors per year. The one-of-a-kind venue has long been known as the premiere location for hands-on threat-relevant training for the U.S. Air Force, joint and coalition aircrews, and intelligence professionals.
“Throughout their careers, aircrews and intelligence professionals receive training on adversary threats in various forms such as videos, presentations, and paper-based career development courses,” said Master Sgt. Zachary H., 547th IS operations superintendent. “The threat training facility is unique because it provides a hands-on opportunity to learn about adversary threats where members interact with and manipulate equipment to better understand how our enemies operate.”
To remain relevant, the FTTF requires continuous upgrading and modernization.
“Without the extra, unfunded requirements money we received this year, modernization would not have been possible,” said Maj. Ashleigh A., 547th IS assistant director of operations.
Modernization efforts included the acquisition of 13 new models for the scale model threat display, bringing the total number to 33; the completion of a permanent virtual reality space for use with the Twenty-Fifth Air Force’s Mobile Applications and Games for Intelligent Courseware (MAGIC) Program with multiple interactive simulated environments; the addition of surface-to-air missile simulators to provide realistic hands-on training on multiple adversary threats; the installation of training videos throughout the venue for personnel to learn about the threat systems at their convenience; and the necessary infrastructure upgrades.
“The introduction of new training materials and aids really ups the game of educating everyone who enters the doors of the [F]TTF,” said Lt. Col. Lisa O’Neil, 547th IS commander. “As we strive to compete and win in the era of great power competition, we need to harness any opportunity we find and use to our advantage. These new training aids can be tailored to address most threat problems, as well as the learning style of those we work to educate.”
Currently, the FTTF primarily operates at the unclassified level, but to increase the depth of training, the 547th IS is integrating more classified sources.
“With ‘[F]TTF Next Phase Two’, we plan to increase our classified spaces by more than 400 percent,” said Zachary. “This allows us to provide training to larger audiences and at higher classification levels than is currently possible.”
The importance of modernizing the FTTF cannot be understated, as it increases trainees’ exposure to realistic advanced enemy threats, ensuring the FTTF continues to meet the needs of today’s warfighters.