Magazine article National Defense

On-the-Move, Combined-Arms Training Available to Soldiers

Magazine article National Defense

On-the-Move, Combined-Arms Training Available to Soldiers

Article excerpt

Seeking to expand soldiers' access to simulation-based trainers, the U.S. Army is making investments in transportable training systems. Examples include a trailer-contained, combined-arms simulator and a deployable training device for helicopter pilots.

An interactive simulation for Army combined-arms training that has, for many years, been installed only at fixed sites now is becoming available to soldiers at their home bases, saving them the time and expense involved in traveling to permanent training facilities, industry officials said.

The close combat tactical trainer (CCTT) is part of a family of virtual, distributed interactive simulations for collective training-including armor, mechanized infantry, and cavalry units from platoon through battalion and squadron echelon. The goal is to teach the members of a platoon or a company how to fight together. The system also has a dismounted infantry capability.

The prime contractor is Lockheed Martin Information Systems, in Orlando, Fla. Last January, the company received a $34.6 million contract from the U.S. Army Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM), for production of 51 CCTT modules.

The work is scheduled to be completed by August 2001. Lockheed, so far, has delivered 225 CCTT systems and expects that number to reach 325 in the future.

Access to CCTT increases the frequency of training-unit collective tasks and accelerates the "learning curve to enhance actual field-based training," said Nick Guerra, Army project director at STRICOM.

The CCTT system is deployed at six sites: Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Knox, Ky., Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Stewart, Ga., Camp Casey, Korea, and Grafenwoehr, Germany. Additional modules are planned for installation in 2001, at Fort Carson, Colo., and Fort Riley, Kan. CCTT modules for the MIAI Abrams tank and M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicle have been deployed to the U.S. National Guard.

Troops typically undergo training in the CCTT before they engage in a major field exercise at ranges such as the National Training Center.

The program's original research and development contract-valued at $120 million-was awarded to Lockheed in 1992. It was for 38 simulators to be installed at Ft. Hood and two mobile platoon sets deployed with the Army National Guard. Then came a series of developmental contracts, leading to a $70 million low-rate, initial-production contract for 54 units awarded in 1998.

The United Kingdom is developing a counterpart system called U.K. CATT (Combined Arms Tactical Trainer). Lockheed Martin also is working on this program in partnership with the U.K. Ministry of Defence. …

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