LCS Virtual Training a Reality
Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) have recently received a suite of synthetic training capabilities that combine on-screen maintenance personnel avatars who instruct Sailors in techniques in a realistic environment, such as engineering spaces. With the use of handheld devices that emulate tools, maintenance can occur in routine and emergent situations.
The Sailor involved in this computer-based training is fully immersed in the scenario and has real movements and activities to complete—much like well-known motion games currently on the market—and can refresh to recalibrate instruction and responses.
Today’s Sailors have been raised playing video games, and the interactions between human and game have become second nature. They take to the process well and prefer it over static slide briefs.
Additionally, the computer-based training meshes well with the increased automation on LCS. The more familiar Sailors are with processes, and are comfortable maintaining and operating the ship, the more efficient and effective they become.
In terms of emerging technology, computer-based training is one area that has real potential to provide high fidelity interactive training using avatars and real motion. We have the ability to train Sailors in all aspects of LCS operation and maintenance. A maintenance chief avatar can step a Sailor though a maintenance scenario complete with real world emergent situations, use 1MC announcements with details, and place the Sailor in the engineering spaces that need repair. The Sailor uses a Wii or Kinect-like device to turn wrenches or make the fixes using typical maintenance motions. It’s the interactivity in a realistic environment that makes this so useful.
We’ve had bridge simulators and flight simulators for years, but now we’re giving the troops the ability to become familiar with a full range of maintenance issues in the relative comfort of a computer workstation. This is by far better than “Death by PowerPoint.”