Written by By Ellis Pines – April 6, 2020
First in a series about urban conflict
Truly integrated live fire and simulation training
“The military will likely have to change its roles and structure to reflect the growing prominence and changing nature of the urban environment.
“As urbanisation (sic) continues, the military must dedicate more time and effort to conducting urban operations training.”
Future Cities: Trends and Implications, Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL), an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom (March 2020)1
Soldiers face extreme challenges in today’s sprawling cities. Warfare is shifting from battlefield terrain to dense and irregular streets. Instead of combatants squaring off across battlefields, small squads must face an often-invisible enemy, lurking around corners, sniping from perches, hidden in hallways. Almost inevitably they must calibrate every move to force entry or clear an area without harm to omnipresent civilians. And they must do it amidst the shadows of dimly lit urban canyons.
The urban dilemma: “What will the military do if desperate people approach them?”
Preparing for this dramatic shift requires an urgent rethinking of tactical training. The 6th century B.C. strategist Sun Tzu proclaimed, “The worst policy is to attack cities. Attack cities only when there is no alternative.”2 And, of course, today, as Iraq and Afghanistan have presaged, there is no alternative.
The DTSL report also presciently notes that the UK military “may find themselves trying to contain the spread of a disease from within a highly connected environment, and (it) must therefore train for such high-impact possibilities.” Similarly, three months before the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, the U.S. Naval War College and the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health ran a war game called “Urban Outbreak.” One of the issues that surfaced involves basic use-of-force judgment: “What will the military do if desperate people approach them?”3
The conclusions from DSTL and Urban Outbreak are clear: American and allied militaries must step up urban training… immediately.
The SHOTT House: Integrating virtual and live-fire training
Judgmental shoot/don’t shoot engagements are just one example of the kind of tactical training necessary in unstable urban settings. Trainees need a comprehensive approach that ideally synthesizes live fire and virtual simulation training. Only this realism can prepare them for the unexpected urban incidents they are likely to encounter.
Meggitt Training Systems’ engineers have created such a tactical environment. The Shoot House Optimized for Tactical Training (SHOTT) can mirror all situations requiring critical skills. The SHOTT™ House enables users to experience the tests of what DSTL calls “three-block warfare”: Forced entry. Room, hallways and stairway navigation. Dynamic and covert clearing. Team tactics. SWAT training. And live-fire threats.
The SHOTT™ House allows soldiers to practice securing a structure using their own live weapons (or Meggitt’s virtual untethered Bluetooth ones). Meanwhile, video scenarios projected on the walls create a flexible, virtual shoot house that you can rapidly customize for your mission. The SHOTT House can be equipped with a FATS® virtual training system to provide a total solution for marksmanship, sustainment and judgmental training, including force escalation and de-escalation.
A safe, secure way to move towards the next phase of military tactics
The SHOTT House solution uniquely offers all the essential elements for beginning the transition to the new warfare paradigm:
- 360° ballistically secure shoot house in fixed or modular configurations. Realistic 5-inch thick shoot house walls create authentic house dimensions and doorways like real-world construction. The entire system is easily assembled on any flat, stable surface.
- Live-fire target systems with ballistic containment and safety. Rubber facing eliminates ricochet, splatter and bounce-back and filters dust, creating a cleaner and safer shooting environment. The facing tiles can be individually replaced anywhere in the wall in approximately 15 minutes, with no need to remove timeworn adhesive or wait for new adhesive to cure. Ballistic rubber panels are molded to overlap at the seams, eliminating gaps between rubber panels that expose the AR steel plate behind. This overlapping seam construction maintains continuous wall coverage without gaps, under all weather conditions.
- Virtual simulation. You can equip the SHOTT House with an advanced FATS virtual system, proven in thousands of military and law enforcement installations.
- After action review. Instructors can observe trainee capabilities from optional overhead catwalks or through closed-circuit cameras viewable in the master control room, allowing for fully reviewable after action analysis.
The SHOTT House resolves a hard choice for trainers and their acquisition officers: Honing marksmanship skills on live-fire ranges? Or improving judgment with simulated scenarios and laser weapons? Fortunately, technology has removed the either/or. After all, in actual urban combat or use-of-force situations, skills attained in both modalities merge. Thus, learning ideally involves putting trainees with their own weapons into immersive virtual scenarios.
In our next blog, Meggitt will discuss how, in the interest of the best possible preparation, virtual reality (VR) can take this integration a step further.
For more information on our urban warfare solutions, please contact Military/Law Enforcement Sales at +1-800-813-9046 or visit our contact page here.
1The full report is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-future-of-our-cities-dstl-publishes-new-report-on-the-future-of-urban-living
2Sun Tzu. The Art of War, translated by Samuel E. Griffith (Oxford University Press: 1963), Kindle Edition, p. 78
3Clifton Leaf, “Game Theory,” Fortune, April 2020, Forward to issue by Editor-in-Chief (A more detailed discussion of the game and results is also available on Military.com at https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/04/01/naval-war-college-ran-pandemic-war-game-2019-conclusions-were-eerie.html.)