Deployment Drives Need for Simulation and Training Technology

Article excerpt

Future trends in U.S. military modeling and simulation markets will be shaped by new efforts to field deployable training equipment and expand capabilities in distance learning.

Even though modeling and simulation cannot entirely replace operational testing and live training, "the right mix of testing, training, and simulation will produce a superior trainee," said a recently published market survey by the National Training Systems Association, called "NTSA Training 2010."

Advanced simulator-trained sailors are in demand, not only to train soldiers and aviators, but also to execute logistics operations and design new platforms, said the study.

"If early and consistent introduction of simulation into the acquisition process is successful, weapon systems, command, control, communications and intelligence systems and space systems could potentially come on-line with embedded training capabilities," said Training 2010.

"While the result might be fewer standalone training devices or simulator developments being needed, the benefit to the training community would be early involvement in the large acquisition programs."

U.S. military spending on training and simulation currently is pegged at approximately $3 billion annually.

The study concluded that there are fewer enthusiasts for training and simulation on Capitol Hill, in comparison to the early 1990s.

The current issues related to training and simulation do not generate either the level of support or the opposition previously experienced.

Programs that run into budget, schedule, or technical problems, such as the Battleforce Tactical Trainer (BFTT) and Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT) training devices, "must become both cost effective and show major benefits for the warfighter," said Training 2010.

"Congress does not want to become captive of advanced technology, which, while impressive in demonstrations, cannot be maintained because of cost, complexity, or other constraints."

Opportunities exist for certain dualuse simulation technologies to migrate between the defense and commercial markets, especially in the areas of immersion, networked simulation, standards for interoperability, computer-generated characters, and tools for creating simulated environments, said the study. …