FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Fort Campbell is one of only two Army installations selected to test the latest version of the Live, Virtual, Constructive Integrating Architecture, or LVC-IA.
LVC-IA was designed to enhance training capabilities, be portable and connect Soldiers and units from other installations for training exercises.
Staff from the National Simulation Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, recently completed three weeks of testing LVC-IA, Version 4, at the Lt. Gen. Harry W.O. Kinnard II Mission Training Complex, and at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Although Fort Campbell Soldiers did not take part in the testing, KMTC staff worked closely with the National Simulation Center staff and developers to make sure new features work properly before the new version is validated and rolled out to other installations, said Kimberly Gilbert Mason, LVC-IA coordinator at Fort Campbell.
“This is more than just a cool thing for Fort Campbell to do,” Mason said.
“This allows us to have training here at our home station for brigade and below units to not only train like they would fight, but to have their whole organization in a training event.”
LVC-IA is a “system of systems” linking separate simulators and simulations together, said Maj. Matthew Gordon, simulations analyst for the National Simulation Center.
“Units are familiar with the simulations and simulators as they have trained with them over the years, including Virtual Battle Space 3 on a Games for Training suite, Home Station Instrumentation System, Close Combat Tactical Trainer and Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, to name a few,” Gordon said.
LVC-IA, located at 12 mission training complexes across the Army, enables unclassified and classified exercises by replicating a realistic training environment and providing simulated data to mission command information systems that units use in training and within the operating environment, Gordon said.
LVC-IA, Version 4
“Leaders are able to use LCV-IA [Version 4] to satisfy multiple training requirements simultaneously by linking separate live, virtual, constructive and gaming capabilities while simulating mission command information systems,” Gordon said. “Commanders and their staff can continue to train as they would fight in an environment of limited time and resources.”
The new version enhances the capabilities to both the hardware and software used to train while integrating live, virtual, constructive and gaming capabilities within an exercise.
“The amount of required space for hardware has decreased with the development of an external extension kit, from the cumbersome design of a server stack to the size of a briefcase,” Gordon said. “We call this our data system transport node. It is both highly durable and transportable.”
Versions 1 through 3 used a stack server that weighed about 300 pounds, said Christopher Vaughn, capability developer for LVC-IA in charge of testing Version 4 for the National Simulation Center.
“That 300-pound server stack is now a 27-pound suitcase that can be easily moved,” Vaughn said.
Collaboration with Fort Carson
Doug Robbins, chief at KMTC, which is part of the Directorate of Plans, Training Mobilization and Security, said the tests at Fort Campbell and Fort Carson will ensure the software displays all the forces used in any exercise including light infantry, air assault infantry, striker infantry and tanks, and armored units. Fort Campbell provides air assault while Fort Carson has heavy forces, he said.
“Not only are we demonstrating we can connect to another MTC halfway across the country, we are also able to integrate the heavy forces with the light forces in all these different vignettes,” Robbins said.
Fort Campbell was selected because it supported the LVC-IA, Version 3, validation event in 2018, Gordon said.
“It was such a successful testing event that Fort Campbell immediately volunteered to support Version 4 when the time came,” he said. “By leveraging the versatility of the Kinnard Mission Training Complex facility and the high proficiency of its staff, we knew we could test within an environment that provided the rigor and support structure required.”
The key to KMTC’s success lies in its versatility and ability to connect distributed simulations and simulators to mission command information systems that Soldiers currently employ during live training and in the operational environment, Gordon said.
“Another reason for KMTC’s success is the support provided by Fort Campbell’s reliable and highly functional communications network, serving as the backbone to enable an inter and intra-post distributed exercise, linking virtual training devices located at a separate installation,” he said.
Up until now, testing of the new version was in a laboratory environment with connectivity between nearby rooms and buildings, Gordon said.
“This validation event tests the new capability between installations,” Gordon said.
Planning for the testing at Fort Campbell began in August 2020 and because of COVID-19, the various teams couldn’t meet face-to-face but used Microsoft Teams meetings to ensure the validation event could happen, Vaughn said.
The three-week process began at Fort Campbell Jan. 25 and ended Feb. 12 with a briefing. Vaughn said the new version auto-populates information into slides that can be used for after action reviews that will save time digging for that data.
Mason said Fort Campbell Soldiers also will participate in a first use of the LVC-IA, Version 4, April 12-16.
“We’ll have a full brigade staff actually test out what we’ve used here,” she said. “It will be a command post exercise by the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.”
The new version will continue to be enhanced with its cloud-enabled capability to link into the synthetic training environment as it becomes distributed to the Army in the future, Gordon said. Once validated, it will be fielded to the 10 remaining sites through the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2022.