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USAF rolls out new B-52 simulator


Armageddon in 180-degree Technicolor

U.S. Air Force is overhauling its B-52 simulators in an effort to ease and improve air crew training.

It's been using B-52 simulators since the disco age, 1978 to be exact, and the time has come to give the pilots some eye candy. Instead of two analogue screens, the new sim boasts six digital screens and a 180-degree view.

Apart from low res graphics, the old simulator suffered from some other technical issues. It was conceived decades ago and written in an ancient program language which made it very hard to modify and find skilled technicians to work on it, as most of them were born years after the system itself was developed.

"We had to upgrade the system and get rid of the unsupportable parts in order to keep the simulator running," said Jeff Burgdorf, the Air Combat Command B-52 Program test director. "It is like we went from Pong video game systems to the newer gaming consoles of today."

An hour in the simulator costs the Air Force $400, which is nothing compared to $16,000 for an actual flying hour on the ancient B-52 powered by no less than 8 gas guzzling turbofans. Nice to see the USAF cares about the environment and taxpayer dollars, isn't it?

More here.

Last modified on 05 May 2008
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