EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
Live, Virtual, and Constructive training is revolutionizing the way the military conducts training operations. More importantly, it’s changing the way the Department of Defense jointly develops, prepares and engages enemy forces during real-world contingencies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The LVC training capability allows for the integration and interoperability of real and synthetic people and systems in order to more effectively train forces.
Contracted by the Air Force, the NAWCTSD is working in partnership with Northrop Grumman and the Air Force Combat Air Force Distributed Mission Operations Network program office. Upon accepting an invitation to partner with the Air Force for NE17, the objective became to connect the Navy network with the Air Force network in a joint exercise to enable forces to train.
Essentially, it’s a video gamer’s greatest dream come true; the most complex and integrated live simulator available that connects both people and resources spaced-out over a vast geographic area in near-real time.
The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division – the principal Navy facility for research, development, acquisition and logistics support of training systems – is leading this integrative technology initiative for the U.S. Navy during the largest joint military training exercise scheduled in Alaska this year with virtual and constructive participants from all over the U.S. exercising alongside live players; NORTHERN EDGE 17.
“We’re very proud of what the 354th Fighter Wing has done to fuse Live, Virtual, and Constructive training altogether into one battlespace. This technology provides increased realism and complexity for everyone involved in [NE17].”
- Col. David Mineau, 354th FW Commander
As government agencies work toward being better financial stewards, exercises like NE17 enable forces to apply techniques, tactics and procedures with minimal financial impact while still enhancing our joint force’s abilities’ to respond to ever-emerging enemy threats and capabilities, and from nearly anywhere in the world…simultaneously.
Mineau emphasized that although Eielson hosts’ the largest instrumented air, ground, and electronic combat training range in the world, there’s still a very limited amount of aircraft, personnel and resources that can be in the area at the same time as a result of both logistical and financial limitations.
“There are high-demand, low-density assets around the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Army that you just can’t get to train here in Alaska on a regular basis; but their effects in the battlespace are very important,” Mineau explained. “This technology allows us to take the aircrew that we do get here to train and link them up with those high-demand, low-density assets virtually.”
LVC is the answer to a variety of challenges and is the key to benefiting more than just improved TTPs and decreased training costs; security.
U.S. Navy Capt. Jiancarlo Villa, assigned to NAWCTSD Naval Air Systems Command, Orlando, is the LVC for training fleet integrator working with the Navy Continuous Training Environment (NCTE) team located at Naval Station Norfolk, VA, and is responsible for identifying the necessary actions for LVC to be a viable approach to guard against the overwhelming increase of awareness to military operations, resources and capabilities by public audiences.
“Weapons have outgrown our aerial space and some range capabilities. We launch a missile during an at-sea exercise and people are watching,” said Villa. “We don’t want to expose our capabilities until absolutely necessary.”
Ideally, this level of operational consideration effectively prepares forces for similar operations in combat environments were protection of operational capabilities must be ensured and in order to preserve people, equipment and resources.
An even greater consideration is having the ability to construct environments that are more challenging and unique to participants and which improves and enhances the capabilities of our joint warfighters.
“Fifth-generation fighters like the F-35, specifically their capabilities and their systems, can’t be fully challenged in the airspace and range available,” said Villa. “In the virtual construct, we can create the environment that provides them the fidelity that is going to allow them to see what they’re going to see in the operational environment.”
In the end, LVC allows designers to create environments where the warfighter is completely immersed, suspended by their faculty and allowed to believe the unbelievable.
The bottom line?
The ability to fully challenge the warfighters’ ability to employ a specific weapons system – whether it be an aircraft, ship, or other ground support – better enables forces to jointly interact and engage safely toward a common objective.
“Part of a war plan involves assessing whether or not we can operate as a joint force in any environment. This system allows us to incorporate various components and break down requirements for that very needs,” urged Villa. “Potential for LVC is limited only by our imagination. We still want to create realistic scenarios, but if we can use this system to better prepare our warfighters for combat and save lives, that’s a great goal.”
NE17 is one in a series of U.S. Pacific Command exercises in 2017 that prepares joint forces to respond to crises in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The exercise is designed to sharpen participants’ tactical combat skills, to improve command, control and communication relationships, and to develop interoperable plans and programs across the joint force.
Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) is the principal Navy facility for research, development, acquisition and logistics support of training systems. NAWCTSD is endowed with a strong engineering and applied psychological research professional staff that provide the Navy with state-of-the-art concepts, methods, and technologies to support Fleet needs via enhanced training. Active support and research efforts address the requirements of aviation, surface fleet, and submarine warfighting domains.