GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, completed a virtual fielding of the 30mm Stryker Model, March 30, 2017 at the Joint Multinational Simulations Center, here.

In anticipation of receiving the new Strykers in 2018, which upgraded the .50 caliber machine gun to the 30mm autocannon, 2CR will use the virtual Strykers along with Virtual Battlespace 3, a first-person virtual environment that replicates combat situations, to familiarize its crews with the new cannon and other upgrades.

"This is our opportunity to use a simulation that trains our Soldiers. It does it in a financially smart way and it's an opportunity to get multiple repetitions," said Maj. James Anderson, 2CR force modernization officer.

In a simulation, gun and dismount crews were faced with opponents with light armored vehicles similar to Strykers. They also conducted a virtual gunnery.

"We came to get an understanding of how we could maneuver around the battlefield using the new system, as well as the new gun," said Staff Sgt. Kyle Norton, a squad leader with 3/2 CR.

"This training was very useful, especially for the bigger crews. We got a chance to see how it would react in a defensive position in which we may have to protect an area from enemy forces. I have a feel for how it will drive and react now because it's not the same as our current vehicles and the gun is heavier," said Private 1st Class Phillip Cob, a Stryker driver for 3/2 CR.

Representatives from Tank, Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center (TARDEC) attended the virtual fielding to answer any questions about the system, record data on the virtual Stryker's compatibility with the VBS3 software, and to see how easy the system is for Soldiers to use.

"Our goal was develop the virtual model of the 30mm Stryker for 2CR as a way to help them develop their techniques, tactics and procedures that are going to be how the 30mm is used," said Mike Megiveron, a TARDEC mechanical engineer.

Anderson said that this past week was about repetition, experience and training.

2CR is one of the first units in the Army that will field the 30mm Stryker.

"It is amazing the amount of work and effort so many organizations have put into developing the software to help put this training with VBS3. Also, the development and creation of the 30mm Stryker will increase the lethality and capabilities of 2CR, and the American Soldier is going off be better off for it," said Anderson.