Virtual Systems Could Change How Soldiers Train

Virtual Systems Could Change How Soldiers Train

Soldiers training virtually
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. Darryl Briggs

Modernized synthetic training environments will help soldiers sharpen their skills all the way up to the division and corps levels of the Army, leaders said.

In a Warriors Corner presentation earlier this year at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville, Alabama, leaders with the Army’s Synthetic Training Environment Cross-Functional Team discussed the advancements being made to replace 1990s simulation training technology with cutting-edge synthetic trainers.

“Our adversaries have been watching what we’ve been doing, and they have been making their own strides and their own improvements, so with that, we need to make sure that we kind of double down to ensure that we continue to provide the best-trained soldiers for our nation’s defense,” said Brig. Gen. William Glaser, director of the Synthetic Training Environment Cross-Functional Team.

For example, the Engagement Skills Trainer fielded in 2000, with one upgrade since, will be replaced by the Soldier Virtual Trainer “so that our soldiers can maintain their weapons proficiency with more repetition, and it’s more accessible instead of having to draw weapons, draw live ammo and go to the range all the time and compete with those resources,” said Col. Scott Woodward, deputy commander of the Combined Arms Center-Training.

Two more components, the Call for Fire Trainer and the Joint Fires Trainer, will be rolled into the Soldier Virtual Trainer, Woodward said, adding that another new system, the Squad Integrated Virtual Trainer, will be an immersive training environment for squads of dismounted soldiers.

Also coming are reconfigurable combat vehicle training platforms for mounted crewmen and aviators, he said, pointing out that soldiers have been training on Close Combat Tactical Trainer simulators for Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams tanks that were first fielded in 1996.

“It is a shame that we have collective trainers in the United States Army that are that old, and they don’t talk to anything else,” Woodward said. “The synthetic training environment will allow us to maintain that proficiency through repetition with affordable, scalable and accessible simulators and simulations.”

The Synthetic Training Environment Cross-Functional Team is also working on a next-generation system to replace the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, or MILES, as well as systems for collective training exercises at the division and corps levels, Woodward said.