Virtual training saves time, money
March 29, 2013
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Service members receive virtual training on the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer prior to deployment at the National Guard Bureau Joint Training and Training Development Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., March 13.
As budgets are being cut across the country, the military is cutting costs by using virtual training for military personnel to experience a variety of wartime scenarios in a cost effective and time efficient way to experience field training.
Previously, vehicle training was conducted only in the field. Field training requires coordination with other units for fuel, ammunition, personnel and equipment. The simulator is not subject to weather, time or supplies.
"We can train three or four units per day versus one in the field," said Bret Bussman, Principal Training and Development Specialist for the RVTT. "There are no limits."
"For example, getting helicopter assistance for some training requires coordination three months in advance and a lot of money," said Bussman. "We just create one. There is no cost to units."
Cost is not the only concern for training units. Time is also a consideration.
The virtual trainer can be scheduled from a basic to a special forces training level for a length of an hour and a half to six hours depending on the type and depth of training requested, said Bussman. Service members can train without the chance of a vehicle accident like they could in the field
Staff members can create various scenarios to benefit all military branches.
The scenario simulation was a convoy set in Bagram, Afghanistan. Military members practiced spotting and reacting to improvised explosive devices and communication between convoy vehicles and headquarters.
"It requires us to think as a convoy unit," said Cpt. Jay Turner, Supply Corps Officer with Defense Logistics Agency, Washington D.C.
In the trainer, convoy members can hear the 'ping' of simulated shots fired at the vehicle. They feel their seat jolt during a roadside bomb explosion and the weapon kick when it's fired. Surround screens depict civilian vehicles, people and animals in a 100-square-kilometer radius. Time can be set for day or nighttime operations.
"It is total emersion with surround screens," said Bussman. "The database is as close as they can get to real areas from eastern Afghanistan to the Pakistan border."
"With generational changes, kids understand the virtual trainer," said Turner. "It makes more sense."
Bussman agrees, "Simulation is the way to go."