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The Road to Realism (#2 in a series for ITEC 2017)

/The Road to Realism (#2 in a series for ITEC 2017)

by Ellis Pines 5/17/17

Meggitt at ITEC 2017: Technological leadership requires knowing what makes trainees learn

In our last blog, we discussed the key to acquiring an up-to-date simulation system. As ITEC 2017 continues in Rotterdam through May 18, we understand that defense acquisition and trainers must sift through competing claims that use the same buzz words. But there is also a deeper aspect of this issue. If a system does not accurately meet training requirements, it does an extreme disservice to military personnel through irrelevancy.

The big question is how realistic can simulations get?

In 2013, IEEE Spectrum ran an article on how close military simulations were approximating the utter realistic technology of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel Ender’s Game. The US military have had trainees learn from the novel. In doing so, they realize that Card’s paradigm in which simulation and real war blur can help them take simulations as seriously as if they are indeed in the battlespace. The only difference is that you get a second chance. We define that “second chance,” in which the trainee perceives what could be done better, as genuine learning…learning that can be internalized for when it is needed.

Such is the true meaning of immersive. Each training exercise must keep the focus of the participants as if events were transpiring in the real word. Meggitt realizes that if care is not taken to ensure reality, distractions can quickly defeat the purpose of the exercise.

That is why our FATS® MIL100 depends on a carefully designed architecture that has been proven, modified and evolved in concert with the US Army, US Marines and other customers.

Designed for learning: Key features of the FATS 100MIL

The IEEE article discusses how Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3), the games-based training solution, provides intricate terrain detail for collective scenario training and rehearsing missions. One can, for instance, create a desert landscape that precisely matches an upcoming engagement down to the palm tree. When you incorporate VBS3 with the advanced training functions of the 100MIL, you take a big step towards an immersive experience. Our VBS3-based training mode allows training on three screens with panoramic view, using existing weapons and courseware. The system provides photorealistic 3D terrain and 3D targets (including “paper” targets) with natural occultation and high-fidelity environmental effects. In short, the trainee has an experience that is close to “being there.”

Duplicating actual weaponry is also critical. The 100MIL lets you assign up to 30 weapons to up to 15 trainees for concurrent exercises. Multiple weapon simulators can be assigned to each trainee. You can also align Meggitt’s patented wireless, untethered BlueFire® weapons to each trainee. Finally, direct and indirect weapons (e.g. mortars) are available in both marksmanship and collective modes.

In addition, the Unified User Interface provides common look and feel across all training modes.

Measuring learning

An advanced simulation system must give equal attention to the instructor and administrative side, responsible for judging the results. The new system provides an array of functionality for teacher as well as student. It delivers solid weapon handling and shot placement analytics, coaching tools that automatically highlight trainee results for reinforcement or correction. The platform gives administrators utilization reports for data mining, including time spent in each training mode, use of weapon types and more. Finally, tablet training material content is streamed from the system for data security.

Talk to us about your needs at ITEC

Authentic simulation as envisioned years ago by novelist Orson Scott Card and being sought after by today’s militaries tries the trainee physically, mentally and emotionally. Trainees emerging from a daylong session on the 100MIL with VBS3 would hardly call it “game playing.” Instead it contributes rigorously to the priority of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to “improve warfighter readiness.”

The FATS 100MIL is positioned for export via direct and foreign military sales. At ITEC 2017, Meggitt representatives look forward to discussing how we might accommodate your needs. Demonstrations will be available throughout the day on stand 43 or by appointment at our appointment page