by Michelle Henderson 6/20/17
Virtual Training is Worth It
Virtual training is encompassing more time and resources as military leaders take advantage of commercial technology. Realistic, advanced graphics equate to simulators that make you feel like you’re there – all the while saving millions in infrastructure and live training expenses.
Training even one soldier continues to be a multimillion dollar endeavor, and “train like you fight” is still the buzz. However, as technology advances and budgets shrink, modern training and mission rehearsal constitute a virtual experience – whether it’s practicing for urban combat scenarios or beefing up on your marksmanship skills.
More and more, military leaders are utilizing Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) hardware and software to create complex training environments before soldiers even get to live training. The use of COTS technology also makes virtual training attractive from a cost management perspective – which is good news for military simulation designers in today’s budget-constrained environment.
The advantages of simulation play right into a budget-constrained environment as the military looks to more of a live and virtual blend. Many training managers agree that budget cuts require an increase in the use of virtual training because there is no other way to maintain readiness with reduced funding. Defense forces will have no choice but to move training hours to the simulator. This is an industry challenge, as companies move to increase simulator fidelity so as not to sacrifice training effectiveness – all the while decreasing operational costs. It’s obvious and apparent that you can do more in simulation than you could a decade ago.
But as students’ progress from individual-based learning environments to large group-oriented exercises, determining the effectiveness of such training becomes more arduous. Connecting simulators together for collective training (or distributed mission operations) is becoming commonplace as the military searches for better ways to prepare forces for joint and multinational operations.
Customers told Meggitt that the more vivid a simulation environment is, the more it calls upon the trainee for situation awareness and focused precision where every second counts. Hence enhanced 3D marksmanship provides highly detailed terrains and targets, including weather, birds in flight and realistic ballistic effects.
Meanwhile automatic coaching tracks the weapon sensor information with shot analysis that recalls customer doctrine and reinforces the fundamentals of shooting. Tablet functionality maximizes session time by allowing the trainer to run the system wirelessly and move as needed.
At a time when budgets are shrinking, especially for recurring training and initial qualification training, the justification for simulated training is only growing stronger. And that is all the more reason to start assessing the value of virtual training.