How the Navy is looking to build better flight training students

The U.S. Navy has graduated its first group of students from a new aviation program aimed at better preparing would-be aviators and flight officers for the rigors of the flight training pipeline.

The Naval Introductory Flight Evaluation, or NIFE, program began in September and 33 students graduated from NIFE in mid-October at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, according to a Naval Education and Training Command release.

NIFE replaces the Aviation Preflight Indoctrination and Introductory Flight Screening programs, which had been used for decades to prepare students from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard for primary flight training.


Navy completes testing next-gen air combat training system on F/A-18

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The Naval Aviation Training System and Ranges program office (PMA-205) recently completed testing its next- generation air combat training system, the Tactical Combat Training System Increment II (TCTS II), on an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. 

The latest series of tests, conducted by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, are the culmination of innovative, strategic planning across multiple organizations working together with industry to complete this mission with urgency.

“It is a significant milestone event when a system moves from lab testing to aircraft testing at Pax River.  Due to the hard work of our government and industry team, these tests are meeting program schedule dates to enable low rate production this April,” said Capt. Lisa Sullivan, PMA-205 program manager.


Navy aviation orders one-day stand down following several mishaps

After a week that saw two Navy plane crashes, one of which killed two U.S. service members, the head of Naval Air Forces ordered a one-day safety stand down for non-deployed units Monday.

The order by Naval Air Forces commander Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell aimed to provide “an opportunity for our aviation commands to focus on how to further improve operational risk management and risk mitigation across the Naval Aviation enterprise.”

The stand down follows the crash of a T-6B Texan II training jet Friday in Alabama that killed Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett and Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross.


Force Multiplier: U.S. Fleet Of Air-Capable Amphibious Warfare Ships

The Navy and Marine Corps are proposing radical changes to their force structures in line with new concepts for maritime and expeditionary operations. All eyes on what is new, such as the Navy’s desire for fleets of unmanned surface and subsurface vessels and, with respect to amphibious warfare, at least two new proposed ship classes.

What has gotten relatively less attention is the growing importance of airpower to the Sea Services’ ability to conduct agile, distributed operations across the vast distances of the Indo-Pacific theater. Proposals to reduce the number of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and aircraft-capable amphibious warships in favor of proliferating smaller, less capable vessels are extremely short-sighted.