by Ellis Pines 11/28/17
Introducing the FATS® 300 the latest in immersive training
As I/ITSEC 2017 opens at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Nov. 27 through Dec. 1, attendees can glimpse not only today’s latest technologies, but also the dynamics of tomorrow’s warfare. On Nov. 28, they will hear from a leader in planning and designing the great changes ahead in combat: keynoter Gen. David G. Perkins, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. General Perkins holds responsibility for selecting and recruiting every U.S. Army soldier, as well as training Army professionals and designing the future Army.
In preparing for next-generation situations, where enemies can buy comparable high-tech equipment and engage American troops in complicated military scenarios, Gen. Perkins cites “soldier-technology interface” as a U.S. advantage. Because soldiers can adapt and innovate using technology, depending on the conditions in which they are operating, the Army has an advantage over enemies.
In a 2015 interview with Army AL&T magazine on “winning in a complex world,” General Perkins explained, “Almost anything the United States Army has, our enemy can go out and buy it, if they have enough money, on the black market or the orange market or whatever. So, the thing that we have to do is [look at] what is the thing that gives us the edge that is difficult to transfer. Pure technology, all you have to do is get a thumb drive in the right computer, and you can download a bunch of technology very quickly. Where we have the advantage is the way that our technology interfaces with the soldiers, the soldier-technology interface… How quickly can they adapt to the conditions that they’re operating in, and how rapidly can we increase that rate of innovation?”1
I/ITSEC 2017 picks up on this idea with the conference theme: “Harnessing new technologies to win in a complex world at the world’s largest modeling, simulation and training event.” For the soldier-technology interface to attain and retain its edge, realistic platform training must proceed apace.
Moreover, today that realism requires immersion, an environment that fully surrounds trainees and their senses. An example is Meggitt Training Systems’ new immersive, multi-screen FATS® 300 system, which the company will introduce at I/ITSEC.
The new FATS 300 system increases the capability and effectiveness of Meggitt’s proven, fielded military and law enforcement training products by providing a truly immersive environment. Existing FATS 100MIL and FATS 100LE customers will now be able to upgrade to a 300-degree, high-definition experience complete with a 5.1, six-channel, surround sound system. Consequently, trainers can create even higher levels of realism in a variety of marksmanship, judgmental and collective scenarios.
The next frontier of training: creating immersion
Most of the departments and agencies attending IACP have recently confronted one or more of the following challenges:
The most successful virtual environment replicates the real-world experience of the soldier as carefully as possible. Every aspect of the FATS 300 supports this immersion.
First, the FATS 300 includes five free-standing flat screens, each featuring a 150” x 84”, 16:9 aspect ratio, borderless projection surface. The screens can be arranged in a hexagonal format with the remaining (sixth) side used as an entrance. Five digital cameras feed information into the hit detection system. “Short-throw” projectors allow users freedom of movement within the training space. To enhance the realism, trainers can operate the system in a variety of lighting conditions, each of which features a combination of scenario sounds. The instructor can further add more sound effects appropriate to the training situation.
Second, the scenarios and visuals must match what trainees are likely to encounter in the real world. In collective training mode, the 300 uses the multiple screens to provide panoramic views. Operating with new or existing courseware in collective mode provides enhanced, detailed terrain and thorough, current 3D models with artificial intelligence and automatic pathfinding. There is also a hostile fire system that fires foam pellets to simulate hostile fire and force the trainee(s) to use cover.
The third requirement is for weaponry to match what the soldier uses in the field. The FATS 300 configuration supports the weapon and ammunition types available on the FATS 100MIL. These weapons include rifles, pistols, machine guns and anti-armor. Other weapon types can be installed via the system’s software. The system can support up to 20 simulated weapons, including a maximum of four assigned to a single user.
Multiple training modes: matching the soldier’s needs
Meggitt has designed the FATS 300 to support 3D Marksmanship, Judgmental and Collective training:
- Three-dimensional marksmanship: Displaying a vivid, realistic 3-D environment, the FATS 300 supports 3-D targets, including 3-D paper targets.
- Judgmental: High-definition imagery is projected on every screen. As the scenario eye point moves, all screens reflect the motion. This provides an amazing immersive experience that highlights realistic conflict situations and awareness in a training environment.
- >strong>Collective: Third-party game engines for squad-level instruction provide flexible simulation solutions. Using scenario training and mission rehearsal, the realism of collective training prepares trainees on effective decision-making within a safe, non-lethal, immersive environment. While virtual game engines are typically used for virtual and constructive training, Meggitt can now incorporate collective training with the company’s small-arms training solution.
Note that the system uses the same high-fidelity ballistic engine validated by the U.S. Army and other military customers.
The FATS 300 is one way Meggitt Training Systems continues to evolve its technologies for changing needs. This year the company also introduced the FATS 100P portable training system and the Live-Fire Screen that blends virtual and live-fire training.
To experience the FATS 300 and speak with a Meggitt executive during I/ITSEC, please visit booth 1223 or schedule an appointment at our Appointment Page.