Fidelity Technologies Corporation, Reading, Pennsylvania, was recently awarded a potential $31 million contract to provide simulation training technology and logistics support to assist the U.S. Army as it prepares to transition security responsibilities to the Afghan National Army Air Corps. The U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, based in Orlando, Florida, awarded the contract.
The U.S. Army is leveraging the latest advances in computing power and digital hardware to expand and improve training using virtual reality technology. Whether it is teaching soldiers how to exit an overturned vehicle safely; reinforcing lessons learned in ground patrol training; or even helping returning warriors cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, virtual reality simulations are enabling the Army to train more effectively and economically.
U.S. Army soldiers have something in common with Superman and Spider-Man: they all benefit from Army-funded virtual reality research being conducted at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. The Oscar-winning research has made digital characters look more realistic in movies such as Avatar, Spider-Man II and Superman Returns, among others, and it also helps soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. It also is used to train service members for a variety of missions and situations, including countering both improvised explosive devices and insurgency operations, as well as tactical intelligence gathering. The institute’s research, which rapidly is taking the “virtual” out of virtual reality, also helps teach soldiers such traits as leadership, cultural awareness and relationship building.
Coalition forces have a new resource in the battle against improvised explosive devices, and it should enhance efforts well into the future. This training initiative offers both immediate skills for the war in Afghanistan as well as train-the-trainer options for participants to bring back to their home countries. Success will mean fewer deaths and injuries for all warfighters, but the work also has another goal—to prepare foreign troops to take more active roles in conflict, thereby reducing the number of U.S. service members who have to fight on the front lines.
Lockheed Martin Corporation, Orlando, Florida, was recently awarded a nearly $32 million contract to provide for the acquisition of four Mobile Advanced Gunnery Training Systems and eight Deployable Advanced Gunnery Training Systems, with new-equipment training and logistics support, for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Program Executive Office of Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity.
Pragmatics recently announced the award by the U.S. Army of a task order potentially valued at approximately $100 million. The award was made under the Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Services (ITES-2S) contract for technology insertion in the Training and Doctrine Command Enterprise Classroom Program. Pragmatics will provide modernized instructional technology to support digital training in Army proponent classrooms for warfighters and Defense Department civilians.
CACI Incorporated, Chantilly, Virginia, was recently awarded an $8 million contract to provide simulation-supported battle command staff training exercises for pre- and post-mobilizing soldiers. The U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is the contracting activity.
Cubic Applications Incorporated (CAI) has been awarded a five-year contract with a potential value close to $35 million to provide simulation and network services to support battle simulations and battle command systems for the Joint Multinational Simulation Center (JMSC) located at Grafenwöhr, Germany, and five other European sites. The JMSC is an element of the Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC), the training command of U.S. Army Europe. The JMTC is the largest training command outside the continental United States.
"Ignorance is our biggest vulnerability [in the cyber domain]." --Vice Adm. Carl Mauney, USN, deputy CO, STRATCOM
While all of the services continue to transform the ways they operate, one of the armed forces' primary institutions for advanced education is leading the way to joint transformation. In recently renovated, technologically advanced classrooms, students delve into the challenges the military faces today to discover innovative joint approaches to tomorrow's problems.
Future virtual training environments may provide soldiers with computer-generated opponents who realistically portray anger, fear and fatigue. Researchers are adding human behavioral and cultural data to software to accurately depict crowd and adversary reactions. By introducing these layers of authenticity, scientists hope to enrich the quality of the learning experience that simulation systems offer.
The U.S. Defense Department has developed a software standard that permits organizations to write and share online courses and learning material. Representing the combined efforts of government, industry and academia, the guidelines are part of a larger program that seeks to provide federal personnel with high-quality training delivered any time, anywhere.