Sponsored by Meggitt Training Systems
16 Oct 19. Meggitt Training Systems updated the Editor on new systems and technologies at AUSA. Meggitt Training Systems displayed its newest Stationary Infantry Target (SIT) with LOMAH (location of miss and hit) at AUSA. Meggitt told the Editor that LOMAH has already been sold to the USMC and the UAE and Kuwaiti armed forces. There is considerable interest from other users including the UK which already has a number of Meggitt systems.
Meggitt’s SIT is a remote-controlled pop-up target actuator, capable of supporting a variety of target silhouettes. The lightweight and portable target adapts to a variety of range environments, infrastructures and operational constraints, and does not contain hydraulic fluids, contaminants or hazardous toxins. The LOMAH system adds shot scoring by measuring the precise time of a bullet’s supersonic shock wave passing over a ballistically protected microphone sensor array. Triangulation of sound waves for hit location makes Meggitt’s offering unique in this market, computing the bullet’s location and presenting a graphical image on the shooter’s firing point computer. The bullet’s measured location provides the shooter the information needed to accurately display shot grouping and zeroing of weapons more effectively, resulting in improved marksmanship skills. LOMAH can be installed easily via a retrofit kit or on new, LOMAH-capable Meggitt targets such as the SIT.
Meggitt’s live-fire offerings include infantry and armor targets, outdoor and indoor range solutions, target retrieval and training systems, shooting stalls, bullet traps, range control systems, as well as range planning and design. The company has won numerous orders in recent years via the Army Targetry Systems (ATS) III indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, five-year contract, including $15.8m awarded by Tank-automotive & Armaments Command since May 2019.
“Meggitt’s LOMAH capability is truly industry leading, offering superior accuracy while saving precious manpower downrange,” said Andrea Czop, vice president of strategy, sales and marketing for Meggitt Training Systems. “Meanwhile, the FATS® 100MIL virtual training system has generated global interest from allied nations looking to achieve the highest fidelity for marksmanship, judgmental and collective training.”
The FATS 100MIL is a major expansion in weapons training capability, introducing revolutionary features such as advanced game engine 3D marksmanship, enhanced diagnostics with intelligent automatic coaching and collective training. The system provides an impressive array of functionality for both instructor and trainee, delivering solid weapon-handling and shot-placement analytics, coaching tools that automatically highlight trainee results for reinforcement or correction, and enhanced graphic capabilities for an all-encompassing immersive training platform. Meggitt was first awarded the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) II program of record contract in 2014 and installed the last of 895 systems based on the FATS 100MIL at Ft. Bragg, N.C., on April 14, 2018. The FATS 100MIL interfaces with a variety of firearms, including Meggitt’s wireless BlueFire® weapons.
16 Oct 19. The UK is ready to kick off an effort to revamp military training. The British Army is rethinking how it conducts a key element of its training, tapping industry to help deliver the first phase of what the military says will be a “surrogate for warfare” by the time the upgrade is complete.
Requests for information (RFI) are scheduled to be released by the Ministry of Defence Nov. 1, formally launching an industry competition to secure the first phase of a major training overhaul: the Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP).
“Collective training will become a surrogate for warfare; driving adaptation, generating combat ethos, empowering commanders, and delivering tactical innovation,” said the British Army in response to questions from Defense News.
“From now to 2025, collective training will be transformed to prepare the Army. Critically, that will be through delivering trained force elements at readiness, but also through contributing to maintenance for the dynamic and complex future operating environments faced in an era of constant confrontation,” said the Army.
The Phase 1 RFI is expected to attract responses from at least three of the top British and U.S. defense contractors interested in the sector here. Spokespeople for Babcock International, Lockheed Martin UK and Raytheon UK all confirmed their interest in the program.
Its the second time in a few months the three companies have found themselves head-to-head in a competition for a significant military training deal in the U.K. They are also vying for a potentially major deal to train Royal Navy recruits.
Babcock and Lockheed Martin already have significant land forces training businesses here, while Raytheon’s main training activity in the U.K. is in the commercial sector.
A spokeswomen for the U.S.-based SAIC said the company was “not actively pursuing a bid at this time,“ despite murmurings to the contrary.
CTTP involves training groups or units up to divisional level. The program is part of the British Army’s new Future Collective Training System. The transformation program has been sparked by the need to adapt to the rapid change in the nature of warfare and the re-emergence of state-on-state threats from potential adversaries like Russia and China.
For much of the last two decades the British have been engaged in counter insurgency campaigns against terrorist forces in Afghanistan and Iraq operating with comparatively low technology. The need to ramp up the effort to counter complex peer or near peer threats has left some British training facilities and processes short of today’s requirements.
The British believe collective training needs to be more challenging and conducted in more complex environments, if its formations and units are to maintain battle readiness. Urban operations and information maneuver are among the key skills the British want to improve, said an industry executive who asked not to be named.
The benefits of the program go beyond training. The Army said it is also looking to generate more strategic effect and deterrence in the future by conducting collective training in key parts of the world.
“The British Army will train in regions of the world that cement our joint and international partnerships and reassure our friends and deter potential adversaries,” said the Army.
The British already train in Europe, Canada, Oman, Kenya and Belize. It’s possible that list could be expanded.
The Phase 1 RFI was supposed to be released at the start of October, but was marginally slowed by various issues. Responses are due Nov. 29. The intention is to follow up Phase 1 with the release of the Phase 2 RFI on Jan. 20, with industry responding no later than Feb. 14.
The Army declined to give expected industry contract dates for either phase of the transformation, but the Future Collective Training System is planned to achieve full operating capability in 2025.
Upgraded urban training facilities, additional virtual training at Army bases and potential use of innovative synthetic training capabilities are among the potential improvements, said the industry executive.
The second phase is expected to build on the work conducted in the first phase, involving a number of services and capabilities that together deliver the full Future Collective Training System.
Together the two phases could be worth in excess of £600m ($770m), although more precise figures depend upon final requirements, which be driven in part by affordability.
The British currently spends about £1bn annually on collective training.
Most, if not all, the companies involved will likely be leading industry teams in some form of partnership with the Army.
The commercial model the MoD wants to adopt for the industry alliance with the Army is as yet unclear.
CTTP officials are known to have looked at five or six possible options including appointing a strategic delivery partner, a contractural alliance and even private finance. (Source: Defense News)
16 Oct 19. US Army to test virtual-reality goggles to improve soldier training. The US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division troops are set to test Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) next month at Fort Pickett, Virginia, US. The artificial intelligence (AI) powered goggles will enable soldiers to practise combat missions. Known as Soldier Touchpoint 2, the upcoming test will provide feedback to help PEO Soldier in bringing additional improvements to the IVAS heads-up display. The army will start fielding 200,000 of the virtual-reality headsets in 2021.
The goggles are designed to provide simulated images superimposed over the actual terrain.
According to Program Executive Office Soldier officials, the goggles and miniature computer equipment will allow soldiers to negotiate obstacle courses and run land navigation.
The IVAS will support the army’s modernisation efforts and help improve soldier lethality.
US Army AI Task Force director brigadier general Matthew Easley stated that the headsets are a reflection of the role played by AI in boosting soldier lethality.
Speaking about the IVAS goggles during the AUSA Annual Meeting and Expo, Easley said that each pair has ‘significant amounts of high-tech sensors on board and processors’.
Each headset features built-in integrated AI chips, according to Easley.
He added: “Those chips are doing visual recognition. They’re tracking a soldier’s eye movements, they’re tracking a soldier’s hand as it interfaces with the system, and they’re tracking a soldier’s voice.”
He also emphasised on the significance of AI in the army’s modernisation programmes ranging from Future Vertical Lift to Long-Range Precision Fires to the Next Generation Combat Vehicle. (Source: army-technology.com)
15 Oct 19. US, Japan and Philippines navies begin Sama Sama training exercise. The navies of the US, Japan and the Philippines have started the third iteration of the maritime training activity (MTA) Sama Sama in Puerto Princesa, Philippines. Joined by the US Navy, Philippine Navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the joint maritime exercise is intended to promote regional security cooperation.
MTA Sama Sama also seeks to improve maritime relationships and increase interoperability.
This is the first time that Japan is joining the maritime drills between the US and the Philippines.
Logistics Group Western Pacific commander US Navy rear admiral Joey Tynch said: “MTA Sama Sama gives us a great chance to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends, partners, and allies, the Philippine Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. We train together so that together we can face threats to maritime security.”
During the exercise, the personnel and assets will engage in shore-based and at-sea activities.
The scenarios will involve maritime training using naval platforms and operating areas.
The shore phase of Sama Sama will see the navies conducting exchanges in areas such as maritime domain awareness, force protection, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and medical care.
In addition, the sessions will focus on sharing best practices related to visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations.
The navies will conduct division tactics, VBSS drills, helicopter deck landing qualifications, anti-air and surface warfare tracking, as well as vessel of interest tracking in the at-sea phase.
Destroyer Squadron 7 deputy commodore captain Ann McCann said: “Any time we can execute realistic, combined scenarios with our partners, it goes a long to make us better and more effective together.
“MTA gives use the perfect opportunity to conduct knowledge exchanges, then take that knowledge to sea, where we can put it into practice together.”
The US is represented by Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8), Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), and Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3). Other US Navy assets taking part in the exercise include Legend-class cutter USCG Stratton (VMSL 752), Safeguard-class salvage ship USNS Salvor (ARS 52), and P-8A Poseidon aircraft. (Source: naval-technology.com)
15 Oct 19. Inzpire Limited Contribute to the Design and Delivery of International Exercise COBRA WARRIOR. A 7-strong team of ex-military training experts from Lincoln-based Inzpire Limited has recently completed the design and delivery of a major international exercise, working alongside 92 Squadron based at RAF Waddington. Working in conjunction with 92 Squadron officers and operational analysts embedded with the Air Warfare Centre, Inzpire personnel acted as the white force for Exercise COBRA WARRIOR, which took place from 1 – 20 September and included 50 aircraft and personnel from 5 different nations and included Typhoons from the U.K, Germany and Italy, the F35 Lightning II, a B-52 from the USAF, rotary aircraft and ground personnel from 1 Sqn RAF Regiment. The Exercise also saw Israeli F-15C/D and 707 refuel aircraft flying in U.K airspace for the first time. As part of the whole force approach, Inzpire’s collective training experts worked closely with the 92 Sqn officers in designing all the scenarios which took place during the 3-week Exercise, developing a series of complex missions to meet the varying training requirements of the 5 participating nations.
Prior to the Exercise starting on 1 September, personnel from Inzpire’s collective training division undertook vital planning tasks to facilitate the exercise, including the booking of land areas for the use of Surface to Air missile systems, ground troops and support helicopters, booking all airspace required for each mission, creating all support products and briefs for the participants and coordinating personnel from the 11 participating RAF bases.
The exercise management team, comprised of military personnel working alongside Inzpire, guided 6-hour-long mission planning processes where all participating military personnel planned how to meet the intent of the commander and achieve the tasks of the mission. To ensure the participants were fully immersed and received the best training, Inzpire’s experts and 92 Sqn personnel played a number of crucial roles during the delivery of the exercise to make the environment as real as possible.
At the conclusion of each mission, Inzpire operating closely alongside the MoD customer to facilitate the crucial de-briefs, where every individual element of the Exercise – both air and ground-based – was analysed to assess whether the mission intent was achieved.
Rob Hough, Inzpire’s training manager for live delivery said “our staff have been working extremely hard for the last year on designing the largest Exercise COBRA WARRIOR to date. It was a pleasure to once again to work alongside our military counterparts as part of the whole force approach to deliver immersive training to both air and ground-based personnel, culminating in the successful graduation of Qualified Weapons Instructors not only from the U.K but from our international partners as well”.
Inzpire’s Collective Training Division
Inzpire’s Collective Training division has over 10 years’ experience of successful partnered collective training delivery with the UK Ministry of Defence. The division has designed and delivered over 300 live and synthetic exercises and provided operationally-realistic training to over 10,000 frontline personnel. Our collective training teams are currently embedded in the RAF’s Air Battlespace Training Centre, Air Warfare Centre and Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit, where we deliver joint collective training to Armed Forces personnel from both the UK and overseas.
10 Oct 19. Doing more with simulation-based military training. Simulation-based military training is gaining popularity amongst defence organisations as it offers the dual benefit of boosting operational effectiveness while reducing costs. Ian Cox, head of training and simulation at SEA, tells us what the future holds for simulation technology.
Militaries around the world are having to keep up with major technological advancements in equipment and operate in complex and dynamic environments, including non-traditional threats and the growth of information warfare. The pace of change is so fast that traditional training methods are no longer able to reflect the new operational reality.
In response to this challenge, sophisticated simulation technology is being readily applied to allow navies and other forces to adapt the delivery of training and mission rehearsal such that it is more relevant to modern, complex operations.
Some armed forces also have to conduct operations which are unfamiliar to them using new technology. As an example, many navies are now investing in a new anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, with limited prior operational experience in the domain. This creates a significant challenge: how to cost-effectively teach a new set of ASW knowledge, skills and attitudes to commanders, operators and equipment maintainers.
Although global military budgets are typically remaining healthy, when it comes to training, militaries are often forced to ‘do more with less’. In the face of this challenge, the application of simulation-based training presents a number of factors that amount to a considerable business case when compared to traditional methods.
Limitations of the classroom model
Previously, training courses may have been conducted within a classroom environment around a piece of physical equipment. However, in recent times, the availability of these physical assets has been reduced and the huge cost of dedicating equipment solely to training means that this may no longer be a viable option.
Similarly, the military is increasingly looking to provide training at a time and place that can be tailored to a particular student. It wants to prioritise flexible, student-centred learning that can help to reduce skills fade through timely refresher training and also enable training delivery whilst service personnel are deployed on operations, for example on board a ship. The more a student can practice and familiarise themselves with specific operational procedures, the less likely they are to suffer from skills fade.
Simulation-based training is therefore gaining momentum because it is a cost-effective, flexible and accessible method which supports de-centralised training. What’s more, it can provide accurate user content for emergency or fault scenarios that would be impractical or unsafe to create within a classroom or in live situations. It can also be tailored to a specific student or skill, providing greater focus on specific training objectives where the student requires more support.
When combined, these factors provide a strong business case for the use of simulation-based procedural training – as an example, the use of SEA’s DECKsim system has reduced the cost of training Flight Deck Officers by more than 50% when compared to training using live helicopters.
Applied technology from gaming and beyond
Technology has come so far in recent years. Developers have adopted the incredibly vivid gaming hardware and software technology and re-purposed it to deliver safe, efficient and high-fidelity immersive training. Simulation-based training aims to be physically and environmentally faithful to the scenario and functionally straight-forward.
Physical fidelity can be provided by a combination of visual, audio and motion cues via 3D image generation/graphics, projection systems, virtual reality (VR) headsets and audio systems. Electric and hydraulic motion bases, vibration platforms and haptic devices also help to recreate the sense of movement by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user.
Simulations provide environmental fidelity by considering lighting effects, weather effects and topography. Modern image generation systems, often developed via the computer gaming industry, are capable of producing highly quality visual representations of weather effects, such as rain, snow, wind and fog. In addition, the physical effects that the weather may have upon an activity, for example reducing sensor detection range, can be replicated within modern simulation systems.
Simulation-based training may also use high resolution terrain databases which include accurate regional and seasonal vegetation types to increase the realism. For maritime applications, physically realistic sea states and sub-surface representations can also be adopted to ensure the vessel operations are appropriate.
Tailoring simulations to specific situations
Whenever simulation-based training is developed for the military, the physical, environmental and functional requirements of the application should be evaluated. The training requirement will determine whether a piece of equipment is required to be represented in a spatially and visually accurate manner or whether the procedures are carried out during the day, at night or in different weather conditions.
Additionally, specific operational functions may be required to be represented to a high degree of accuracy – all of these elements are factored into the design of the training system.
Simulated systems are particularly effective for training scenarios that have a high degree of difficulty (that is, involving a large number of complex procedural steps or interactions), have a high level of importance (for example, involving mission or safety critical equipment or operations), or are conducted infrequently which means there is an increased risk of skills fade over time.
When seen in this light, it is not surprising that many forces are applying sophisticated simulation technology to enhance their training delivery. It is an effective training solution that reduces reliance upon physical hardware and provides a more flexible approach at lower cost. It can be delivered via web technologies and enables student-centred learning.
Furthermore, the flexibility of procedural training systems allows students to become proficient in a wider range of emergency and hazardous scenarios that would be impractical or dangerous to train under real conditions. We believe the use of simulation training will become more and more central to the training of military personnel and as technology continues to evolve, the gap in fidelity between the simulation and reality will continue to close. (Source: army-technology.com)
14 Oct 19. How does the Army know its new anti-spoofing antennas work? New simulation technology will ensure the next generation of military antennas have the anti-spoofing and anti-jamming capabilities contractors claim they do. War fighters rely on accurate positioning, navigation and timing data on the battlefield, primarily using the Air Force’s space-based GPS signal for that information. GPS is the gold standard of PNT — but it’s still vulnerable. Adversaries have developed spoofing and jamming capabilities that can either deny a GPS signal to an environment or spoof the signal, feeding false PNT data to the war fighter.
The U.S. military and industry have responded by developing anti-spoofing and anti-jamming technology to ensure war fighters can get the proper GPS signal.
Enter controlled reception pattern antennas, or CRPA.
“All next-gen military platforms are moving towards using these CRPA antennas so they can better be protected in adverse environments,” explained Tyler Hohman, director of products at Orolia Defense & Security.
But as the Army looks to adopt these antennas as an anti-spoofing, anti-jamming solution, it needs to know whether the technologies work with the platforms the service already has or is working to acquire. Orolia is touting its capabilities for simulation tech as a way for the military to test whether the antennas can deliver as promised.
“It’s tough right now for the military because they are starting to put these [antennas] on hundreds and thousands of platforms, but they need to first get them into labs and characterize how they’re going to work in certain environments, how do they work with the other subsystems as a part of the vehicle,” Hohman said. “And so we’ve designed this new simulator and are starting to sell it directly to the military so they can better test those systems.”
At the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference on Oct. 14, Orolia demonstrated its new BroadSim Wavefront Advanced Simulator, which provides the testing capability the Army is seeking.
The company sold one simulator to the Army and expects to deliver it by the end of the year as a way to support all future mounted testing, Hohman said. The Army will use the simulator to test its next-generation mounted and dismounted systems, though he noted that the simulator can be used for airborne or space systems as well.
“Commercial or military space vehicles that are going to the International Space Station, for example, those vehicles need to be able to accurately get there and know where they’re at and merge with the space station. So we actually have some customers that are using our technology within this system to be able to recreate those GPS and [Global Navigation Satellite System] GNSS systems so they can model those applications,” Hohman said.
Orolia said military orders for its resilient positioning, navigation and timing solutions nearly tripled in the third quarter as the Army puts increased focus on anti-spoofing technology. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
Meggitt Training Systems, makers of FATS® and Caswell technologies, a division of Meggitt PLC, is the leading supplier of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training systems. Meggitt Training Systems continues to grow its capabilities based on the legacy of these two industry leaders.
Over 13,600 Meggitt live-fire ranges and 5,100 virtual systems are fielded internationally, providing judgmental, situational awareness and marksmanship training to the armed forces, law enforcement and security organizations. Meggitt Training Systems employs more than 400 people at its headquarters in Atlanta and at facilities in Orlando, Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, UAE, Australia and Singapore. It can deploy service personnel anywhere in the world for instructor training, system installation and maintenance. Learn more at https://meggitttrainingsystems.com/.