REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Engineers at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center are near completion of a major training system for the Stryker combat vehicle.

The Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer, originally developed by the Combined Arms Center's Training Innovation Facility, was designed to address capability gaps in collective training for Stryker brigades. The CAC-TIF's configuration was an inexpensive solution to demonstrate how Stryker teams would benefit from the system, but they needed to produce multiple sets of trainers quickly.

AMRDEC's Prototype Integration Facility was selected as the materiel developer by the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation to create SVCT suites to deliver to Stryker brigade combat teams. A suite consists of six trainers to represent the standard six Stryker vehicles needed to perform a mission.

"Building upon the work done by the CAC-TIF, the PIF is developing a robust, producible, optimized system on a streamlined budget and schedule," said Jeff Loudin, the PIF's government product lead for Platform Integration, Weapons and Communications. "We are fabricating five SVCT suites that will be integrated with existing Army Games For Training hardware."

"The SVCT software is being integrated by the Army Game Studio at AMRDEC's Software Engineering Directorate using the GFT software, Virtual Battlespace 3," said AGS Chief Engineer, Mike Barnett.

The goal of the SVCT is not to teach Soldiers how to use the Stryker, but rather to teach a team in one Stryker how to work together with teams in other Strykers conducting a shared mission.

"It teaches the dismount troops how to shoot, move and communicate with the vehicle crew and with other Strykers. We are taking advantage of technology to accomplish a deep level of training through simulated reality. This mitigates training costs, while also providing a safe environment for the Soldier," Loudin said.

The PIF began work on the project in March 2017 after collecting requirements and recommendations from the Project Manager, PEO STRI. The design is simple and cost-effective with three separate compartments replicating the frame of the vehicle and computer screens to display a virtual training scenario.

"The three sections include the driver's compartment, the squad leader and gunner compartment, and air guard compartment," said Loudin. "It accurately emulates the interior dimensions of the Stryker but has low esthetic fidelity."

In a few short months, Loudin reports, "the design is 90 percent complete pending evaluation of the prototype. Because of the PIF's nature, we can take requirements and funding and turn them into hardware quickly. This production is an example of an AMRDEC organic effort."

The SVCT suites are scheduled to be delivered to five Stryker brigade combat teams in 2017 and 2018. The first suite is set for delivery Dec. 2017 to Fort Benning, Ga.

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U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Centeris part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.