Instructors at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU), Norfolk completed their first MQ-8C Fire Scout pilot course using one of two new custom-built maintenance trainers Aug. 29.
The addition of these brand-new facilities enables the Navy to provide much-needed training on the latest evolution of the Fire Scout.
Over the summer, CNATTU Norfolk added the Composite Maintenance Trainer (CMT) and Avionics Maintenance Trainer (AMT) to assist with teaching aviation electrician’s mates, aviation electronics technicians, aviation machinist’s mates (AD), and aviation structural mechanics (AM) on all aspects of the MQ-8C Fire Scout. Previously, “C” School training was only available for the MQ-8B, a far different variation of the aircraft.
The eight-week MQ-8C Airframes and Power Plants Organizational Maintenance Course, a journeyman-level “C” school, teaches AMs and ADs how to perform maintenance at the squadron level and uses the Fire Scout CMT to enable students to perform the actual tasks that will be required of them at their squadrons. About 75% of the course consists of hands-on training.
“CNATTU Norfolk is proud to provide the highest caliber of training to our Sailors,” said Cmdr. R. Sudduth, CNATTU Norfolk’s commanding officer. “The new Fire Scout trainers will enable us to stay at the forefront of naval aviation training and ensure that our Sailors arrive in the fleet with the tools they need to work on this cutting-edge technology.”
The MQ-8C Fire Scout, an unmanned helicopter, is the highly advanced successor to the MQ-8B, which the Navy has used since 2006. The MQ-8C provides upgraded capabilities to the Navy that includes reconnaissance, detailed targeting support, situational awareness and aerial fire support.
“We specifically designed this course to be laboratory intensive,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Destinee Riesing, one of the MQ-8C instructors. “Our new CMT is equipped to support that goal. Out of the 290 hours in the course, we only spend 60 in the classroom. This allows our students to receive critical, hands-on experience and as instructors, allows us to return to our roots – turning wrenches.”
Students of the course are skilled Sailors from the fleet, returning for continuous training to ensure they have the knowledge necessary to perform at their highest level. Sailors will receive a Navy Enlisted Classification code specific to the MQ-8C upon graduation. The designator of this code is still being determined.
Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Sean Wylie, of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, is one of the first students to complete the course.
“I’m honored to be selected by the Navy to learn more about the MQ-8C. Training on this new platform is essential to the transformation of naval aviation in the future. This training enables me to share what I’ve learned with my fellow Sailors out in the fleet,” said Wylie.
CNATTU Norfolk is the only learning site that will offer maintenance training on the MQ-8C Fire Scout. Instructors and staff will take lessons learned from the CMT pilot course to continue to refine the training.
“Aviation maintenance is the pivotal link to keeping our naval aircraft flying,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Brandon Womack, the second half of the MQ-8C instructor duo. “Advancements in technology allow us to be ahead of the game; that is keeping our families safe. As an instructor, I am humbled to be a part of these changes as we move to a safer and more efficient Navy.”
The eight-week long MQ-8C Avionics Organizational Maintenance Course utilizing the Avionics Maintenance Trainer is scheduled to begin in September.
CNATTU Norfolk provides rate specific aviation fundamental training while professionally delivering specialized aviation “C” school training to maintain and operate air weapons systems supporting MH-53E/MH-60S/MQ-8C helicopters, E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft, C-2A(R) Greyhound logistics aircraft, airborne mine countermeasures, aviation maintenance administration management, aviation boatswain’s mate, aviation ordnanceman, interior communications electrician and aircrew survival equipmentman professional and rating skills.
CNATTU Norfolk is part of Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, a learning center under Naval Education and Training Command and a technical training agent for the Naval Aviation Enterprise, an organization designed to advance and sustain naval aviation warfighting capabilities at an affordable cost.
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