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    Virtual Battlespace 3 Provides Training Opportunities During Coronavirus Restrictions

    Call for Fire

    Photo By Spc. Ryan Lucas | U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to headquarters and headquarters company, 173rd...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Ryan Lucas 

    173rd Airborne Brigade

    Vicenza, ITALY — Since the implementation of COVID-19 related restrictions in Italy, U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade have relied heavily on the Virtual Battlespace 3 program at the Vicenza Mission Training Complex on Caserma Ederle.

    Virtual Battlespace 3 is a fully interactive, three-dimensional training system providing a premium synthetic environment suitable for a wide range of military training.

    “It allows them to do their job without expending resources,” said Steven Baird, chief of the Vicenza Mission Training Complex. “We are here to help soldiers that can’t go to the field or need to work on complex training events that they can’t do anyplace else.”

    The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army's Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapidly deployable forces to the United States Europe, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility. Forward deployed across Italy and Germany, the brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build partnerships and strengthen the alliance.

    The VBS3 platform can support a variety of training objectives, including terrain reconnaissance, convoy operations, counter IED, and fire support.

    Each training objective, when designed for the VBS3, can be specifically tailored to the requirements of the respective missions. Table four of the fire support team certification process, for example, validates the fire support officer and the fire support noncommissioned officer, the leading elements for fire support within a company, who receive information about the environment from forward observers.

    “Forward observers will move through the trainer and send up information about what is going on to the fire support officer and fire support noncommissioned officer who will work together to prosecute those targets using 60mm mortars or passing information up to include things like friendly and enemy unit locations, missions fired, and targeting data,” said Sgt. Donald Middleton, the battalion targeting noncommissioned officer.

    The VBS3 is an incredibly versatile tool. “Your training is limited to your imagination,” said David Oakley, a systems engineer at the VMTC. “These guys [the simulation facilitators] are pretty good at developing scenarios.”

    If one were to utilize the VBS3 land navigation course, the user would find themselves presented with an altogether different scenario than the fire support trainees. This course offers soldiers the ability to train in basic map reading skills, the correct plotting of points, and the effective use of a compass.

    Due to the ability of the platform to be tailored to the likeness of specific ranges or training environments, the VBS3 can also be used for soldiers to become familiarized with a range before they engage in a live-fire exercise there.

    “It’s a geo-specific map,” said Mike Holguin, a simulations lead facilitator at the VMTC. “We replicate it here, virtually. On the map, it’s exactly the same as the range.”

    As the brigade begins to prepare for summer training rotations in Germany, paratroopers assigned to 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment used the VBS3 this week to familiarize themselves with Range 118 in Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, where they will be engaging in a series of assaults this August.

    “What this consists of is having an infantry platoon moving across an objective with pre-planned targets and engaging opposing force in the areas,” said Holguin. “They get familiarized to the environment that they’re about to train in. They get to see the training objective, the location, the routes of approach. Even the dead spaces out there are replicated, the trench lines are out there, the berms are out there, everything is specific to the particular training environment.”

    To ensure the safety of everyone involved, the Vicenza Mission Training Complex enforces sanitization and social distancing rules, cutting down on the number of troops who can take part in the training at any given time and extending the timeline of certification processes.



    Date Taken: 06.12.2020
    Date Posted: 06.13.2020 12:24
    Story ID: 372080
    Location: IT

    Web Views: 776
    Downloads: 2