By Joanna Bradley, CCDC Aviation & Missile Center Public AffairsApril 18, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (April 18, 2019) -- An effort across the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center resulted in a virtual trainer meant to help familiarize Soldiers with the Stryker armored vehicle.
In support of the Army's modernization priority of Soldier lethality, CCDC AvMC's Engineering Directorate, Prototype Integration Facility, and Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate teamed up to develop the Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer. The combined work was done in support of the Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, or PEO STRI.
The Stryker armored vehicle is an eight-wheel-drive combat vehicle that provides quick transport of infantry troops to critical battlefield positions and maneuverability in close and urban terrain while offering protection to the personnel inside. The simulator mimics the shell of the Stryker and allows Soldiers to gain experience using the vehicle before going on a real battlefield.
"The simulator is a platform for the Stryker brigade combat teams … so their Soldiers can use this Army standard gaming system called VBS3 - Virtual Battlespace 3," said Jeff Loudin, CCDC AvMC's PIF government project lead. "It's an extension of a previously existing gaming system called GFT -- Games for Training. The Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer is an extension of GFT to facilitate the Soldier's ability to use VBS3 video games for gunnery practice and other things."
The SVCT allows Stryker platoons and dismounted infantry to operate as a collective system in force-on-force scenarios. The SVCT simulates the capabilities of a Stryker rifle (four vehicles, 45 infantryman) or scout platoon (six vehicles, 36 scouts) and their symbiotic relationship with the dismounted crew. The physical vehicle mock-up includes each key mounted crew position -- driver, gunner, squad leader, and two air guards -- with both "outside the hatch/unbuttoned" and "inside the hatch/buttoned" positions.
The design -- six Stryker shells made of wood and fitted with computer screens hosting the GFT software -- allows up to a platoon-sized element of Soldiers to fight together on a virtual battlefield based on real-world locations.
The simulators are equipped with a combination of authentic military gear, Xbox controllers, luxury gaming chairs, and foot pedals designed for racing games. The gunner's seat comes directly from a Stryker vehicle and has a Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station or CROWS and joystick, allowing the Soldier to fire a virtual .50-caliber machine gun and, in some cases, virtual 30 mm autocannons.
"These guys can now practice their engagement tactics and techniques as a team in a totally immersive environment with absolutely no risk to personnel or equipment," said Jeff Carr, CCDC AvMC's PIF supervisor. "We are simply leveraging technology to give them the touch time they need to perfect their battle rhythm. They can record their lessons learned, perform after action reports, and do it again until everyone is totally synchronized."
The fielding team, which typically consists of 10 to 12 members, has completed three of eight planned installations, and is currently installing the fourth simulator in Fort Hood, Texas. Other locations of installation include Vilseck, Germany; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Fort Carson, Colorado.
The CCDC Aviation & Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, which conducts responsive research, development and life cycle engineering to deliver the aviation and missile capabilities the Army depends on to ensure victory on the battlefield today and tomorrow. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.