Written by Michelle Henderson – May 9, 2019
Distributed Mission Operations
Distributed mission operations – which is effectively linking simulators together for collective training — is becoming ever more commonplace as the military seeks better ways to prepare forces for joint and multinational operations. However, limited bandwidth over which to network the systems is one monumental hurdle that needs to be faced. There also are compatibility issues between simulators manufactured by different companies. For instance, one group of soldiers may be in small arms virtual marksmanship training and see a very different visual representation or have a completely different training experience than soldiers at another base across the world.
That means an exercise may have to run on lower fidelity data, which can compromise the quality of the training. Non-kinetic operations are now increasing in importance. As wars continue, socio-economic areas such as language and culture, nation-building and politics are growing in significance. Since the military has not had to traditionally worry about such arenas, they are now facing demands for increased realism. Technologies from the gaming industry have been brought into military training, which has increased the development of artificial intelligence and physics-based systems. All the while home station training is being looked at more closely as a future possibility for ground forces. Allowing more units to plug into joint simulation training from their military bases requires a myriad of different connectivity technologies, all of which must be investigated and developed.
The case for simulated training is only growing stronger. As budgets for recurring and initial qualification training shrink, high cost platforms need to be removed and replaced with low cost, higher availability platforms. That’s where the value of virtual training comes into play. It’s up to the command to determine how it will be established and implemented in the field. As the demand and ultimately use of distributed mission operations grows, so will the simulation industry’s development of robust connectivity amongst its systems.