Using the latest advances in gaming technology, the new VR training platform aims to improve training for personnel by making it more realistic, intuitive and immersive.
Trainees can use the simulator and use intuitive gesture control designed to match real-world battlefield actions. This is coupled with HD surround sound and highly realistic visuals to bring to life training scenarios in VR.
Trainees will be able to hold a virtual ‘gun’ and crouch and crawl when necessary, just as they would on a real-life exercise. They will be able to practice this virtual exercise as many times as needed before going into the field for real, preparing them more effectively for operational deployments
A reconstruction and evaluation team is giving sailors in ongoing Dynamic Manta anti-submarine warfare exercise almost real-time feedback that helps them learn from any mistakes they make each day instead of waiting weeks or months for corrections.
An In-Stride Debriefing Team IDT participants in the air, surface and undersea domains understand each day what contributed to their success in finding the target submarine in that day’s serial, or if they didn’t find the submarine, what opportunities they had to detect the sub and why they missed their target.
In some cases, the issue could be as simple as operating a sonar at the wrong depth in the water column, where a simple fix could help the team find success the next day. In other cases, the lessons learned may be more complicated – but participants are finding out during the exercise while they can consult other experts and try to correct out their mistakes, whereas in other exercises they might not understand until weeks or months later what went wrong.
“Normally during most exercises you don’t get that sort of immediate feedback. So what we’re hoping to see is maybe at the beginning of the exercise the people shaking the rust off, if you will, to at the end of the exercise they are feeling really that they’ve gotten that feedback that they need in a real-time feedback loop such that their skillsets are improved.”
The capability is like a test where you can see the answer to the first question and know if you got it right or wrong before moving on to the second question.
That immediate feedback can help participants “see if you’ve improved and understand where maybe your mistakes are. And that’s incredibly important, because a lot of times in these exercises the ships, the assets don’t know if they got the answer right until weeks later after there’s been some feedback. So that real-time here’s the answer to Question 1, this is how you did, let’s take Question 2, is really important.”
For an example, say an exercise had nine submarines and 40 maritime patrol aircraft missions that were flown – but no surface ships at the time. All the data had to be collected when the aircraft came back from their missions, and in sorting through stacks and stacks of papers from the exercise, you realize that 75 percent of the missions were cold – the airplanes did not detect a submarine – and the aircrews would have no way of knowing if there was just no submarine in their operating area or if they missed it due to a mistake they had made.
“They were cold, and they don’t know why, if they missed anything.”
With just a little more information on the submarines’ actual tracks, you could figure out what detection opportunities were missed and, with perhaps with a little more information, why.
For feedback, the snapshots are mapped out every interval or so, where the subs were versus anti-submarine warfare assets, and comments regarding what actions the crew took versus what they should have done.
“The idea is that the operations officer takes that aboard ship, gets the whole team around it and talks his way through it and picks up on what went well and what could go better, to accelerate the lessons learned process.”
The PBED process – planning, briefing, executing and debriefing – is above all else a way to improve proficiency quickly. “That is exactly what we’re doing here. So we receive the data, do the analysis and debrief.”
During tactical training, PBED process is enhanced by playback tools that allow operators to listen back to conversations on the bridge and re-look at what they could see on their screens at the time, to discuss in vivid detail what they knew and how they arrived at the decisions they made.
“Being part of Dynamic Manta, we’re constantly analyzing the tactics being used in each combined ASW exercise to provide lessons learned to all of the major players. During the debriefs, we have a chance to teach doctrine and help the participants from every community become a more lethal force.”
A recent pilot program tested in the fleet to provide information systems training virtually to shipboard trainees proved promising enough that the Navy plans to implement it, enabling students to learn and work on the exact systems they will operate on their ships.
The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services CANES Training Virtual Environment will provide a workshop, using displayed network connection and linked up with an instructor for training that’s realistic, relevant and up-to-date with their particular ship’s systems.
Trainees and instructors have grappled with training that hasn’t replicated or fully reflected the onboard systems infrastructure that sailors encounter when on their ships, which can vary by ship. While the Navy had fielded to the workshop the same equipment the fleet uses, shipboard trainees haven’t always had the latest technology available.
“It’s hard to keep up with the technology refresh rate on all the things when you’re trying to modernize a fleet, so over time, the equipment we are training our CANES operators on became out of date and out of sequence with the majority of the fleet.” Often, “whatever trainees would see in the fleet would not exactly be what they would see” in the workshop simulator.
So the virtual training environment ensures that’s no longer the case, and trainees will learn from training virtually on systems with the look and feel of the same systems and versions installed aboard their ships.
Here’s how CANES TVE works: A trainee logs in and selects the particular version of CANES on their ship for whatever they are training to, and the instructor sets up the virtual environment. “It send a series of instructions to the network, and it would be built into the virtualized environment all
the servers that make up the CANES stack. It would be fed back to the trainee, and they would see the environment, and it would replicate and operate exactly like their version” on their ship.
The CANES TVE was ran through a pilot program with the forward-deployed naval force while both ships were pierside. They were able to bring up the instruction, with a facilitated instructor, and do that kind of background training that they couldn’t do otherwise.”
“Once the pilot is complete, this every trainee who sits down now will go through at a laptop, see the version that they will actually use out in the fleet – not some generic version – and you can sit down a person with CANES 1.0/1.0 hardware and software next to a kid who is going to a 2.0/3.0 ship, and they can go through the same training, but on their version.”
“Debrief is the most important part, that’s how the guys get all their lessons learned. So we construct the maps with detailed tracks, depth movements, detections, and commanders’ commentary on what tactical thinking drove their decisions.
The we got the chance to interact with the squadrons and the surface ships and submariners and poke them to talk about what they did and how they can improve.”