RI National Guard breaks ground on new facility

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The 143rd Airlift Wing of the Rhode Island Air National Guard broke ground Friday on a new facility at the Quonset Air National Guard Base, set to host an aircraft simulator for the C-130J Super Hercules jet.

The simulator will allow pilots to safely train in scenarios that “you wouldn’t want to perform in an actual aircraft,” according to the Guard’s Staff Sergeant Peter Ramaglia.

“Not only will [the simulator] help us preserve the life of our tactical airlift assets, but when linked with other USAF simulators, it will greatly improve the ability to train U.S. combat aviators across the force,” said Col. Daniel Walter, Commander of the Airlift Wing. “So now instead of traveling down to Kessler Airforce Base, which is what we do now, we will be able to do that training right here.

According to Walter, there are other states that are being considered for the simulator, but Rhode Island’s high flying track record helped secure the facility.

“We have tried to lead the pack as much as possible, we tried to get the airplane out into the field as quickly as possible once we received it, and I think that has paid some dividends,” Walter said.

According to Jack Reed, the new training facility will be one of the most sophisticated in the country.

“And that means that it will give them the best equipment for the best pilots and crew in the United States Airforce,” he said.

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