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​Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, the commander of Air Education and Training Command,​ speaking at ASC15 Monday, Sept. 15, 2015. Staff photo by Kristina Parrill.​

​One of the main deciding factors for the next-generation training aircraft will be how good the system’s simulators will be, in addition to how the aircraft performs in the air, Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, the commander of Air Education and Training Command, told reporters Sept. 15 at ASC15. The need for high-level training in threatened environments makes the need for simulators with enough fidelity to replicate intense training in anti-access/area-denial situations. “We in AETC are focused on getting the state of the art capability in the virtual constructive environment so we can, from the beginning, train to a level that’s going to allow us to fight in that (high-threat) environment,” Roberson said. The T-X’s simulators will need to get a pilot so into a mission that he can’t tell “he’s not out flying in the airplane for real,” he said. AETC has worked to be open with contractors on the changing requirements for the system. The T-X contract award is expected in 2017.