Marine Corps uses parts of kinetic and virtual training to enhance their readiness, the Battle Simulation Center is one of several virtual training facilities aboard the Combat Center.
The Battle Simulation Center supports the Corps by providing units with various training simulations that assist in individual, small unit and staff level operations. The technology available helps the Marines feel a sense of realism of their environment as well as provide communication with artillery units, aircrafts and other Marines.
The Battle Simulation Center trains approximately 15,000 Marines annually from units throughout the Marine Corps. They will continue to provide Marines the training they need in preparation for their field exercises and ultimately their deployments.
In constructive training the Marines can see what is supposed to be done in certain situations. Once the Marines understand what to do they move onto virtual training, where they can put their knowledge into action. The simulations allow the Marines to receive live feedback from their instructors, this allows the Marines to make mistakes and be corrected without risk of injury or loss of resources. After the Marines have had a chance to practice and be coached in a safe environment they can move on to live training.
“When we have to conduct certain exercises in which we believe the risk of injury is too high, so we practice in the simulations first. When the Marines go to do the live exercise then the risk is much lower since the Marines know how to react to each situation.”
The BSC provides training for any size unit from individual to regiment, for any warfighting discipline from infantry to logistics, and from all parts of the combat spectrum from full scale war to establishing local governance.
“We break up our training into live, virtual, and constructive training,” Live training consists of real people using real systems, virtual training is live people using virtual systems and constructive training is virtual people using virtual systems.”
“The different weapons the Marines train with in the simulation can range from the M9 service pistol to mortars, shot guns, and heavy machine guns,” The center also has different vehicle simulations where Marines can practice movement of troops dealing with enemy resistance, and many other situations where Marines would have to think on their feet.”
A simulation complex includes the large task trainers as well as a small simulation center. All of the vehicle and convoy simulators are housed at Camp Wilson. Camp Wilson offers a wide array of simulation opportunities for visiting units.
The BSC was stood up at the Combat Center in 1996 and originally offered only a couple of training simulations, the MAGTF Tactical Warfare Simulation and the Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation.
MTWS focused primarily on larger-scale training, meaning the company, battalion and regimental levels, while JCATS was designed to train Marines at the fire team through platoon levels.
The Battle Simulation Center works closely with the MAGTF Integrated Systems Training Center, which focuses of command and control systems training. To date, the BSC offers 10 different training simulators and the MISTC hosts seven training programs.
In addition to the numerous simulators the BSC has to offer, it is also working on integrating simulations with live training exercises.“One of the things we’re looking at is the integration of live forces in the field with virtual and constructive simulation.
If a company is training in the field alone, we can simulate other units on the battlefield that don’t really exist, but are needed for staff planning purposes.”Constructive simulation is currently being used by the BSC and is fully operational.
CPX-2 is a two-part training event that focuses on training battalion staff and is a part of TALONEX 2-18, a pre-deployment training event that coincides with Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course.
Throughout CPX-2, Marines at the Battle Simulation Center utilized multiple simulations in conjunction with other units at Camp Wilson aboard the Combat Center, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. This is all part of an effort called Marine Air Ground Task Force Tactical Integrated Training Environment.
"The idea behind the MAGTF TITE effort is to create a persistent capability which permits collective training in a distributed and constructive environment in order to enhance integrated training," "During TALONEX 2-18, Marine pilots, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, the Direct Air Support Center and Fire Support Coordination Center/Fire Direction Center will train in conjunction with battalion staff using distributed simulation."
CPX-2 utilized a constructive simulation called MAGTF Tactical Warfare Simulation, which served as the hub for the training. To run their high-fidelity cockpit trainers and to fly a virtual unmanned aircraft system, the Battle Simulation Center used a virtual simulation called Virtual Battle Space 3.
"Using multiple simulations together does create a lot of challenges and issues, such as making sure that one model that comes up in one simulation will appear the same way in another and making sure that the terrain is the same across all platforms,""We continue to work through these issues to try to refine the simulations and make them more realistic."
Another goal of the MAGTF TITE initiative is to provide more realistic training for Marines. According to the Ground Training Simulation Implementation Plan of June 2017, using simulations allows Marines and units to replicate situations and conditions that are more difficult to enact in certain on-the-ground training environments.
"This training helps to emphasise operational cohesion by providing more realism in an exercise where you're relying on the proficiency of other Marines, as well as the realistic nature of the uncertainty and miscommunication that can occur when it's real individuals participating instead of a role player," "It allows for more development on critical thinking and exposure to non-standard events and increased integration with external factors."
We are getting the support and flexibility from the Marines who are participating because they understand that there are challenges associated with experimental training exercises," "The feedback we get from them helps to shape the way we move forward with setting up future simulation-based exercises. This wouldn't be possible without the support of the Marines and agencies participating."
Virtual Battle Space 1 and 2:
VBS 1/2 are PC-based first-person viewpoints of a fully functional battlefield that focus on smaller-unit operations. VBS2 is currently more advanced and more prevalent than its older counterpart. Depending on the demands of the individual units, VBS can take the form of many different combat scenarios and environments, which can immerse between one and 100 Marines into a virtual world where small-unit leaders can test their standard operating procedures, as well as conduct rehearsals on the same terrain they will be likely walking to in the near future.
MAGTF Tactical Warfare Simulation:
MTWS is a “birds-eye-view” of a battlefield that allows unit commanders to practice command and control functions, and standard operating procedures. The simulation offers real-time engagement and movement, and mission recording for after-action review.
Commanders using MTWS can receive orders from their combat operations center for their units and carry out those orders through the simulation.
Forward Observer PC Simulation:
FOPCSim is another PC-based first-person viewpoint, similar to VBS, only focusing on a forward observer calling for artillery fire support. The purpose of the simulator is to hone the individual Marines’ call-for-fire skills on stationary and mobile targets. The program can be used by itself as well as integrated with other simulators, which make up the Combined Arms Network.
Combined Arms Planning Tool:
The CAPT program is designed to test the elements of a commander’s fire support plan. It is able to test a fire support plan and identify potential problems based on war fighting doctrine, which is incorporated into the program.
Virtual Combat Convoy Trainer:
This training simulator consists of four mock High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles with a 360-degree view. VCCT is designed to simulate convoy operations in a combat environment. It can be used alongside other simulations to familiarise Marines with how to use convoys in conjunction with other operations.
Operator Driver Simulator:
ODS is a training program used to teach Marines how to operate HMMWVs, Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements, known as seven-ton trucks, and, coming soon, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. The system can simulate a number of driving conditions in most foreign areas of operation.
HMMWV Egress Assistance Trainer:
The purpose of HEAT is to simulate HMMWVs in rollover conditions. It teaches Marines the proper ways to exit a vehicle that is upside down and assist fellow Marines who were injured in the rollover. Marines are also required to transport injured Marines to safety and secure the simulated rollover site.
MISTC is designed to train MAGTF commanders and battle staffs in the art and science of command and control so they can better organise, deploy, fight and defeat the enemy.