New Army computer-based training (CBT) is making training more accessible, interactive, and fun for Soldiers. Project Director Sensors-Aerial Intelligence (PD SAI) and Project Manager Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PM UAS) are partnering to develop Interactive Multimedia Instruction (IMI) training for the Gray Eagle Common Sensor Payload (CSP) and Small Tactical Radar Lightweight (STARLite) systems, as well as the Shadow Electro-optical/Infrared/Laser Designator (EO/IR/ID) (SHEILD). This will allow unit trainers easier access to training metrics and Soldier progress, leading to greater product proficiencies.
The new IMI training will provide multiple benefits allowing operators, maintainers, and mission coordinators to have access to the latest in sensor capabilities and training. This will ultimately lead to less time required for on-the-job training when Soldiers execute a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) as they will be provided the tools needed to maximize their use of the sensor payloads on the Gray Eagle (MQ-1C) and Shadow (RQ-7B) unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
“The Unit Training Management System, or UTMS, will be the primary method of deployment of all PD SAI and PM UAS IMI materials as well as function as a warehouse to all student/user-based training analytics,” said Doug Haskin, Product Manager Aerial Enhanced Radars, Optics, and Sensors (PdM AEROS) of PD SAI. “Above and beyond the software and analytic systems, the UTMS will also be multi-functional and will serve as the Gray Eagle’s primary method for training-related communication.”
PD SAI and PM UAS are developing the new UTMS, which will replace the existing training management system currently deployed locally at Gray Eagle unit locations and will transition all technology and user-level access to a cloud environment. This will provide near-instantaneous updates to all the sensor training packages and allow training to be accessed at any time by Soldiers.
Designed for use on the Gray Eagle UAS, the CSP is an EO/IR/LD sensor for battlefield commanders which supports force application, battlespace awareness, Force Protection, and Net-Centric operations across the battlefield. The CSP allows the sensor operator to detect, observe, identify, and engage surface targets.
Under PD SAI, the PdM AEROS CSP team has developed three interactive applications designed specifically for Gray Eagle CSP operators. These applications include the CSP Study Aid, the CSP Overview, and a mission training application called First Strike.
“The intent is to provide operators interactive training that encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills that support and enhance Institutional, Operational, and Self-Development training by providing warfighter focused Distributed Learning Products,” said Scott Bradley, PdM AEROS training specialist. “The training will also support Army Learning Model standards while providing engaging IMIs.”
The CSP Study Aid application is designed to aid operators with retaining vital information learned throughout the learning process. It is a customizable, computer-based, flash card style study aid, complete with a 3-D model viewer and glossary of terms.
“This application will allow the user to select various subject areas for study or testing from preset question banks and custom card decks,” Bradley said. “This study aid is particularly useful in preparation for upcoming Directorate of Evaluations and Standardization (DES) visits and monthly training requirements.”
The CSP Overview application is designed to introduce students to the CSP. It provides narrated and hands-on interactive CSP training and real-world practical exercises in a digital and virtual reality 3-D game environment.
The CSP Overview application is approved by the Directorate of Training and Doctrine for all current training material and will receive updated approval for future evolving content. In addition, the application supports integration with the Legacy Training Management System and will be updated to integrate with the Unit Training Management System once it is active.
The Gray Eagle’s STARLite payload provides an all-weather, multi-mode radar with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery/moving target indicator (MTI) capabilities to aircraft operators and battlefield commanders. It provides increased situational awareness through wide area surveillance, imaging of stationary targets, and detection/tracking of moving targets. The payload is capable of on-board processing and transmission of near-real-time imagery and target detection data to the Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS) via a digital data link.
PD SAI is currently developing the STARLite Overview, Maintenance Assistant, and Study Aid, which are designed to engage both operators and maintainers in the STARLite learning process. Since the STARLite system is not taught at the schoolhouse, these IMI applications are critical to train Soldiers with the basic skills needed to properly use the STARLite system and to apply these skills in a tactical environment.
The STARLite Overview application is designed to introduce operators to radar and MTI theory, software navigation and use, and basic tactical usage of the system. STARLite Overview provides eight hours of fully narrated and hands-on interactive STARLite payload training and real-world practical exercises in a digital and virtual 3-D game environment that imparts full-spectrum training from initial system orientation to mission application. It is formatted to be used in either a traditional computer-based learning environment or in an all-immersive virtual environment.
The STARLite Maintenance Assistant application is designed to aid the maintainer in identifying the location and, while working together with the appropriate manuals and work packets, removing, replacing, and installing all the various parts within the STARLite system.
The STARLite Study Aid application is designed to aid operators with retaining the important information learned in the STARLite Overview application. It is a customizable, computer-based, flash card-style study aid, complete with a 3-D model viewer and glossary of terms. This application will allow users to select various subject areas for study or testing from preset question banks and custom card decks. This study aid will also be useful in preparation for upcoming DES visits and monthly training requirements.
First Strike mission training application
First Strike is a mission training application and is the CSP and STARLite suite capstone where operators’ knowledge will be put to the test in real-world scenarios. Soldiers can apply their theoretical and tactical knowledge gained from overview training to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against a variety of targets in multiple 3-D geo-typical operational theaters through single-player and future multi-player gameplay missions.
Through this application, operators and instructors can create, test, and assign their own custom missions to suit specific unit training needs. The application includes single player payload operations, seven geo-typical 3-D environments, immersive boxed scenarios, custom mission builder/editor system, weather and time of day system, fault and troubleshooting simulation, and Universal Mission Simulator (UMS) emulation.
The First Strike application currently supports integration with the Legacy TMS and will be updated to integrate with the UTMS once it is activated. A multi-player functionality is also being developed along with the UTMS update, which will allow students to remotely play alongside Soldiers at various Army units.
The SHEILD payload is a multi-sensor day/night imaging payload capable of providing full-motion video and/or still imagery to increase a commander’s situational understanding and allow for the acquisition, ranging, identifying, and laser-designating of targets for precision-guided munitions.
PD SAI is currently developing three interactive applications designed specifically for SHEILD which include a study aide, an overview application, maintenance operations training, and a boresight trainer application.
The SHEILD Study Aid is a thin client flash card and an MX-10D, POP300, and POP300D 3-D model in explorer application. The study aid also includes a custom flash card creator system and supports an augmented reality capability for 3-D model viewer when used on mobile devices.
The SHEILD Overview applications provide eight hours of fully narrated and hands-on interactive MX-10D payload training and an interactive check on learning in a digital 3-D game environment. The application provides full-spectrum training from initial system orientation to mission application.
The SHEILD Maintenance Operations training application includes six commonly used work packages from the technical manual for the system. It enables the user to rehearse maintenance practices without the need for a live aircraft. This application uses step-by-step training and familiarization in a 3-D game environment.
The SHEILD Boresight Trainer application provides step-by-step training and familiarization of the infrared ground boresight process for the MX-10D that is mounted into a Shadow RQ-7B Block III aircraft. This is accomplished in a 3-D or augmented reality environment.
Putting it All Together
When the system is fully deployed, the UTMS will provide a training capability that is engaging, cost-effective, easily updateable, and highly accessible. Through use of training applications such as First Strike and sensor specific overview training, regulations and manual distributions, and video hip pocket training, Soldiers will be better prepared to operate Gray Eagle and Shadow UAS payloads. The training system will also allow maintenance work order requests to be completed for faster staffing and investigation processes. In addition, trainers and content developers will be able to review training content in real time using the online IMI Development Review System.
The partnership between PD SAI and PM UAS will maximize efficiency in development and will greatly increase the UTMS availability for deployment. Once deployed, the UTMS will reduce the footprint needed for training lead support in the field as the Field Service Representative instructors will use the UTMS for training and fleet awareness for the CSP, STARLite, and SHEILD systems.