Security Television Network, Author: by Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven
Raytheon’s technology seeks to meet the Army’s requirement for weapons, realism and infantry training.
(Washington, D.C.) Exploding enemy targets with precision artillery, “lasing” ground targets for drone air attack and waging close-combat urban warfare with hand-carried small arms — are all scenarios entertained recently in high-tech virtual training wargame designed to closely replicate anticipated future warfare.
The exercise, intended to virtually “create” high-threat, multi-domain modern warfare, was intended to move the Army closer to its goal of engineering a new “force-on-force” mobile training technology designed to prepare soldiers for the risks and perils of a new kind of war.
“This was a computer-based simulation down to the individual model — using real-time data and responding in a real-world manner,” Col. Chris Cassibry, Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate’s Concepts Development Division director, recently told reporters.
The August, 2019 experiment, called “Unified Challenge Simulation Experiment,” aligns entirely with the kind of soldier-centric virtual training sought after by the Army, as explained in an Army Needs Statement from earlier this year. In the statement, the Army calls for a specific technical ability to design virtual training systems “based on accurate hit/kill probabilities and on accurate damage and casualty assessments.”
In an effort to present the most realistic, future-oriented simulation, the experiment included weapons systems which do not yet exist, Cassibry said — such as advanced robots, future combat vehicles and AI-enabled armed platforms. While a large-scale simulated experiment, the Army’s Unified Challenge effort is closely aligned with the Army Needs Statement because it was heavily centered upon individual soldiers and how they can best leverage virtual training for increased effectiveness in combat. Part of this, as explained in the Army needs statement, involves an integration between dismounted soldiers, weapons systems and larger platforms.
Grenade-launcher attacks, land-mine threats, short-range indirect fire operations, mortar combat, small arms engagements and air-ground “networking” for dismounted soldiers are all key details outlined in the Army’s statement of need. The Army’s solicitation calls for technology that can create an “accurate representation of munitions trajectory and time of flight with near real-time data exchange.”
Hosted by the Fort Benning Maneuver Battle Lab with support from Army Futures Command and TRADOC Centers of Excellence, the Unified Challenge Simulation Experiment used virtual training to replicate “penetration through maneuver, disaggregation of an enemies’ mid-range systems and defeating land forces in the close fight,” according to Army officials.
Army industry partners have been working on a range of emerging technical solutions intended to meet the Army requirements for dismounted-soldier virtual training technology outlined in the needs statement.
One example, in development for seven months, is Raytheon’s technical effort to answer the requirements articulated by the Army Futures Command Synthetic Training Environment Cross-Functional Team and Army acquisition. Called Synthetic Training Environment Soldier Virtual Trainer (STE SVT), Raytheon’s technology seeks to meet the Army’s requirement for weapons, realism and the integration of infantry “dismounts” into a larger multi-domain combat apparatus. The STE SVT system, developed internally by Raytheon, is engineered as a mobile, small form-factor training technology that includes several computers, a virtual reality headset, and advanced software. It primarily uses commercial technology to replicate warfare, including launching artillery fire, tracking dismounted soldiers, hitting targets with a laser rangefinder and even pulling up live drone video — all presented for the user with an interactive moving map complete with terrain, weapons and graphics showing the location of friendly and enemy forces.