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    Warrior Skills Trainer Enhances Training Capabilities

    Virtual Firing Range

    Photo By Cynthia McIntyre | The Warrior Skills Trainer is installed at Fort Hunter Liggett, with the instructors...... read more read more



    Story by Cynthia McIntyre 

    Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs Office

    Five machine gun crews in Humvees engage in a fierce battle at Fort Hunter Liggett. The rat-a-tat of the exploding .50-caliber shells is interspersed with crackling radio traffic as another Soldier sights the enemy location through binoculars and calls for fire.

    Yet, the Humvee never moves, and the landscape disappears when the lights are turned on. Instead of an expansive landscape, each of the five crews operates out of a stationery Humvee core without wheels, wrapped in a cocoon of computer-fed indoor screens.

    This is how simulated warfare is fought on today’s virtual battlefield.

    It is, in some ways, similar to online warfare of MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) computer warriors engaging on the same battlefield even though they are thousands of miles apart.

    The FHL scenario is one of hundreds that can be displayed in the Warrior Skills Trainer modular system, said Scott Gurnett, program manager for Laser Shot Simulations located outside of Houston, Texas. He and his crew trained FHL instructors, as well as a U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) master gunner, and one Soldier from Fort Knox on Jan. 15, 2019. Operation Cold Steel III Soldiers will be among the first to use the new system at FHL in February.

    “We could also turn these vehicles into police cars,” said Gurnett, meaning the physical Humvee body wouldn’t change, but their representations on-screen would. “There are 500 police scenarios that include judgmental training,” he said. For example, the cops confront a thief, domestic abuser or active shooter, and can garner different responses from the perpetrator depending on what they do.

    “You are totally immersed in the environment,” he said of the system. “The five vehicles can “see” each other, and each can have different weapon systems mounted on top.”

    The system uses Virtual Battle Space (VBS) graphics and boxy, portable Mobile Marksmanship Training Simulators (MMTS) hooked in tandem to create interactive scenarios.

    “The VBS software graphics engine provides reality-based scenarios that replicate thousands of geo-specific terrains around the world,” said Gurnett. “Every building, every street sign, shows up.”

    Staff Sgt. Jason Obert, USARC senior gunner at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said, “The Warrior Skills Trainer is fantastic. It falls within our Table 2 simulations, fire commands and crew drills. You can work as a convoy and tailor scenarios exactly like the range here.”

    The training prepares Soldiers for Table 3 firing with blanks, and live-fire for Tables 4 and 5, before Table 6 final qualifications.

    Obert is also senior advisor at the USARC level for units that conduct gunnery operations, and looks forward to promoting the WST to the Reserve components and helping them design scenarios.

    Dan Leach, the Virtual Battlespace Integrator for the USARC Virtual Training Team, is also excited about the new system. “It’s VBS with a new skin,” he said. In the current VBS trainer at FHL, the action is controlled with a mouse. This way they have a more realistic experience, he said.

    Laser Shot built the first WST in 2007 and fielded it at Fort Hood, Texas. Gurnett says around 280,000 Soldiers have used the system since then. This is one of two new virtual trainers installed at FHL in January, the other being a 660 Simulator for 88M truck drivers.

    The WST can be used to train individual and crew-served weapons qualifications, and section gunnery with several crews. All the weapons, from machine guns to grenade launchers, are made with real parts, and have realistic sounds and recoil, but can’t fire a real round. Weapons can even be taken off-vehicle for medevac operations under fire, and the MMTS units can be used in the field.

    It might not be the Holodeck of the United Spaceship Enterprise, but in today’s combat-training world, the Warrior Skills Trainer is the next best thing.



    Date Taken: 01.30.2019
    Date Posted: 01.30.2019 12:49
    Story ID: 308802
    Location: CA, US

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