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WASHINGTON -- Efforts continue on developing the next generation of virtual trainers intended to support Soldiers and small-unit training. Many of them will be highlighted at this year's Association of the U.S. Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, director of the Synthetic Training Environment Cross-Functional Team, will provide an update on development activities and provide a peek into future initiatives during the meeting held in Washington, D.C., from Monday to Wednesday.

The team remains on track to begin fielding new Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainers to support air and ground crew training and achieve initial operating capability in 2021. The Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainer-Air will replace the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, while the RVCT-Ground will replace the Close Combat Tactical Trainer and replicate the range of ground vehicles in the Army's inventory while supporting dismounted Soldier training.

"By improving on legacy systems that use 1980s and 1990s technology, we will be able to train air-ground coordination and enable combined arms training for units at home station, which we haven't been able to do before," Gervais said.

Other trainers in development include:

-- Soldier Virtual Trainer: Comprises several capabilities. The Weapons Skill Developer will replace the Engagement Skills Trainer to support weapons qualification at Army installations. The Joint Fires Trainer will replace the Call for Fires trainer to train Soldiers on joint fires operations. The Use of Force Trainer will support escalation of force training for Soldiers and units. Scheduled for initial implementation in 2023 with full operational capability scheduled or 2025.

-- Squad Immersive Virtual Trainer: SIVT is already in development as part of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, a co-effort with the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team. The IVAS is a mixed reality heads-up display that overlays simulated imagery within a Soldier's view of the real-world. The first squad trainer capability set will be fielded in 2021.

The trainers will all be enabled by software that is under development to converge the live, virtual and constructive environments. Consisting of Training Simulation Software, Training Management Tool and One World Terrain, the STE's Information System will portray a common scenario for all training participants, depicting all player actions and battlefield effects in real time using authoritative 3-D terrain models.

The introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will enable the creation of dynamic scenarios that present increasingly complex problems to the training audience, with the ultimate goal of training Soldiers to make better decisions when seconds count.

"The intent is to challenge leaders and units in the human dimension using cognitive performance feedback," Gervais said. "Whether we're talking hardware or software solutions, there's a lot of opportunity from the STE CFT perspective for our industry and academia partners as we move forward."

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