The U.S. Navy recently got its hands on a 50-inch 3-dimensional simulation program that will allow it to train sailors on its Virginia-class submarine innards (1).
The screens on these simulators are all touch screen, so it’s as if the sailors are playing around on their tablets.
Toss the word “multipurpose” into anything and you are sure to get a response. The military loves multi-syllabic words, especially multiple multi-syllabic words used in a string. So what exactly is a “multipurpose reconfigurable training system”?
In a word, it’s a diesel generator simulator. Sailors will receive an opportunity to play around in a virtual training environment that simulates being on board an actual submarine or surface ship. Hence, the “multipurpose” and “reconfigurable” in Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System (MRTS).
What Can MRTS Do?
Here’s what it can do: (2)
–> At the press of a button, MRTS can shift from one training environment to another
–> Within each training environment, trainers can develop specific scenarios so that sailors can train on how to respond to each scenario
–> Train sailors on handling naval weapons launch systems
–> Allow sailors to improve their maintenance and troubleshooting responses
–> Place sailors inside a virtual Virginia-class submarine environment and learn how to operate every component of its emergency diesel generator system
The Army has been using similar systems to train soldiers on armor warfighting scenarios for years. In a tank, there are driver, gunner, tank commander, and machine gun operator positions. It’s called Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT) (3).
The Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer (RVTT) is a virtual training simulator that trains soldiers on combat operations with other tactical vehicles such as Humvees. The Navy’s MRTS is a virtual training environment similar to the RVTT and CCTT on Army training bases.
The Navy’s Plan for Operational Readiness
In order to win wars, the military has to be operationally ready. To ensure operational readiness at all levels of command, everyone from Admiral to Seaman has to be trained. And they have to be trained in their areas of specialty.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is hoping that MRTS will assist naval officers with training sailors who use key tactical and strategic naval vessels on the use of equipment in those vessels by placing sailors in virtual environments that simulate them. In other words, they want to use computer hardware and software to give sailors a chance to go through the actual moves they would go through in a tactical situation before they actually get there.
ONR calls this “afloat and ashore readiness”.
The technology for the virtual environment simulator was developed by TechSolutions (4). TechSolutions is a branch of ONR that develops web-based solutions for training. In this case, the training solution will be delivered by the Internet and the military’s secret parallel, SIPRnet.
Force readiness is important for every branch of the military. The Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert published a navigation plan for 2015-2019 that includes MRTS as a key training tool. Sailors will work with MRTS at Pearl Harbor. If tests work out for the Navy, full employment of the training environment will be rolled out to the Naval Sea Systems Command’s Undersea Warfare Directorate (1).
TechSolutions developed MRTS based on requests by sailors wanting better training tools.