HITS expands on post training opportunities
July 8, 2011
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (July 8, 2011) -- The defense of our nation is based on the strength of our military.
The strength of our military is based on how adept our troops are in battle.
How adept our troops are in battle is solely dependent upon how well they are trained.
The U.S. Army is stepping up to the technological plate of training as they continue to unfurl the Home Station Instrumented Training System, better known as HITS, which will help commanders train Soldiers in ways that only existed in movie producer’s minds a couple of decades ago.
“HITS is an automated information system, which collects training performance evidence,” said Michael Chura, project director for HITS. “It’s basically a replay in an electronic war game scenario of what happened with live players on the training battlefield.”
Chura said HITS is so realistic that it can take a Soldier and members of his unit, put a radio on each of them, dress them in Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System gear and place them in a battlefield scenario.
Chura added that HITS can track whether the Soldiers fire their weapons or not, whether they were shot or not, record their audio to compare how orders were followed, all to be combined with video in an on-site After Action Report for their commander to grade the end effect of their ability for that particular field exercise.
“We can also store that information, display it with icons and arrows, so when we play back the engagement, the Soldier can see what he did right and what he did wrong,” Chura added.
“This system basically tracks evidence of what really happens for a truer sense of preparedness.”
Chura, a member of the PEO STRI or Program Executive Office for Simulations and Training, was at Fort Campbell on Wednesday to follow up to the recent installation of the new HITS program and to attend a training simulation fair for 2nd Brigade Combat Team and 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
“We fielded HITS here a few weeks back. In seven years, 21 installations will be fielded with the HITS program,” said Chura. “I came back today to follow up on how the team is doing with it and to look for potential uses for the system.”
Chura said feedback from commanders and Soldiers is important so it can help HITS team members figure out faults in the system, get better with operating the system and even tailor it to the specific unit needs.
“Overall, HITS is a big deal with the Army,” stated Chura. “We have the Combat Training Centers and we’re all aware of how high tech their training arsenal can be, however, now we can bring some of those training enablers to the home station on a smaller scale and that’s what HITS is all about.”
Chura stated that HITS is simply a tool and doesn’t replace commanders who are the real trainers.
“HITS will just help them do their jobs better,” he added. “Stationary or taken to the field, it’s a very mobile system.”
As with anything new, there is some learning ramp up time for those who will be in charge of working closely with unit commanders to help them accomplish their training goals.
“In the past month, we’ve done new equipment training and we had to allow the installation to do field acceptance training where the vendor had to prove the system works,” said Bob Tetley, Fort Campbell HITS training coordinator. “I worked with some of the old Legacy MILES gear in the past and now we can track it on a screen in real time.”
Tetley admitted the pre-employment buildup has been pretty busy, but is excited about the HITS potential.
“Hopefully HITS can make our Soldiers better war fighters,” he said.
HITS was a big hit to some of the Soldiers who attended Wednesday’s training simulation fair.
“HITS is going to help our pilots with rules of engagement and to be able to operate their systems correctly before going to combat,” said 1st Sgt. Stephen Givens, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. “We don’t want our Soldiers having to figure it out while they’re in combat because our job is to kill the bad guy, not the good guy.”
Givens said he wants his Soldiers to experience as much simulation as possible before facing it in real time.
“Just like back there with that artillery simulation,” Givens pointed out. “They need to hear it and feel it.”
Givens commanding officer, Capt. Anthony Nelson agreed.
“It’s nice to have this capability here at Fort Campbell,” said Nelson. “It’s good practice for us to be able to use this system before going to Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk or the National Training Center at Fort Irwin and seeing it for the first time.”
“This is extremely important in helping our Soldiers improve their skill sets to possibly have to fight and survive downrange,” said 1st Sgt. Roger Bell, Delta Company, 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. “We’re trying to improve for future deployments, which we all know are coming.”