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100th ARW cuts ribbon on Boom Operator Weapon System Trainer

Wing leadership from the 100th Air Refueling Wing prepare to cut a ribbon on the Boom Operator Weapon System Trainer simulator.

Wing leadership from the 100th Air Refueling Wing prepare to cut a ribbon on the Boom Operator Weapon System Trainer simulator at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, Oct. 13, 2020. The ceremony celebrated the grand opening of the BOWST, which is a simulator designed to train boom operators to become mission ready. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lexie West)

Instructor boom operator show the Wing Commander how to fly the boom in a simulator.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. JD Upegui, 351st Air Refueling Squadron instructor boom operator, instructs Col. Troy Pananon, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, on using the Boom Operator Weapon Systems Trainer simulator at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, Oct. 13, 2020. The BOWST is a simulator designed to train boom operators to become mission ready. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lexie West)

Boom operator changes settings on simulator.

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jon Adams, 351st Air Refueling Squadron superintendent, adjusts the settings on the Boom Operator Weapon System Trainer simulator at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, Oct. 13, 2020. The BOWST is a simulator designed to train boom operators to become mission ready. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lexie West)

ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, England --

The 100th Air Refueling Wing held a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of the Boom Operator Weapon System Trainer, or BOWST, at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, Oct. 13, 2020. 

The BOWST is a simulator that enables boom operators to hone their skills on the ground and allows instructors to evaluate student development before they complete real-world operations.

“The simulator allows us to train boom operators without having to get in an airplane and gives us the capability to complete some of the training on the ground which is harder to accomplish in the air,” said Lt. Col. Tyler Berge, 351st Operations Support Squadron director of operations.

Boom operators can now utilize the BOWST simulator to train on refueling various aircraft in different visibility conditions, all while staying at home station.

“Previously, we’d have to send people on temporary duty to receive training,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jon Adams, 351st Air Refueling Squadron superintendent. “We were only getting half of the training that we should have been getting on an annual basis because of the TDYs. This trainer is going to help us fill our requirements, cut training costs and save time,” Adams continued.

The simulator provides boom operators the convenience of completing training at home while allowing them to obtain the necessary skills in a much shorter time frame.

“We can get someone qualified, mission ready and out the door quicker compared to what we had to do in the past,” said Berge. “With the addition of the BOWST, we can set our Airmen up for success by giving them multiple ways to accomplish their training, maintain proficiency and continue to accomplish the mission.”