White said this technology will be
matured and advanced even further
to develop additional synthetic training capabilities in more warfare
areas, to include Fast Attack Craft
and Fast Inshore Attack Craft, ballistic missile defense and mine warfare.
“We want to develop a fully
capable live virtual/constructive
training and mission rehearsal
capability, as well as the ability to
conduct training, assessment and
certification,” he said.
The model expanded from deepwater ASW to littoral threats like
quiet diesel submarines on batteries.
“We’re updating the model. As
the threat changes we end up in dif-
ferent environments,” Glass said.
“We’re migrating to quieter targets.”
He said the improved model
helps warfighters gain skills that are
very hard to obtain in real conditions.
“A lot of our guys out there don’t have any contact
time. There is a need for that for proficiency and confidence,” Glass said.
Underway time for ships and flight time for aircrews
is necessary to maintain proficiency, but costs money.
“In a fiscally constrained environment, we have to plan
our steaming days and flying hours carefully,” Glass said.
In a distributed network, a helicopter crew based in
Mayport, Fla., can conduct workups with the ship it
will be deploying with before they even come aboard,
and even if that ship still is in Norfolk, Va.
“We use the same JSAF and synthetic environment,
and can do ASW training while the aircraft is participating in a bigger scenario,” Glass said.
As part of the Navy Continuous Training Environment
(NCTE), entire battle groups can train together before
they ever get underway.
“We’re training with scenarios based on the real-world operations wherever they will be expected to
operate,” Glass said.
Scenarios are developed and scripted at planning
conferences, to ensure certain events will happen in
order to achieve training goals. But, Glass said, there
also is room for free play.
Fleet Synthetic Training starts with individual ships;
then all the units under the warfare commander (such
as anti-air or anti-submarine); and, finally, the strike
group commander with all of the assets working
“Each level works its way up,” Glass said. “We can
simulate any adversary or target of interest. We can
An SH-60F Seahawk helicopter assigned to the Nightdippers of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron 5 conducts flight operations in the U.S. Fifth Fleet Area of
Responsibility on Sept. 8. Virtual At Sea Training has been extended to allow for
virtual anti-submarine warfare training with SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters.
exercise with any kind of weapon and any location,
without shooting or political ramifications. We can
simulate any environmental condition.”
Surface ships already were networked together with
Battle Force Tactical Training, which is connected to
the NCTE, for training together in port, so VAST was a
They can train with crews they will actually deploy
with before they actually go to sea, and settle into a
realistic battle rhythm.
“Everything is in real time,” Glass said.
The feedback is that the participants feel better prepared when they finally operate at sea because they
have been training together with them ashore.
Although VAST was developed for the surface community, it now is being used with SH-60 helicopter and
P- 3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft communities.
High-physical-fidelity simulators are necessary to learn
how to fly the aircraft and maintain proficiency. These simulators cost millions of dollars, not to mention the building to house them. But lower-physical-fidelity simulations
such as VAST, which have a high degree of mission fidelity,
cost about $500,000 and require no dedicated building.
The Naval Warfare Development Command had been
conducting Fleet Battle Experiments for some time.
These focused on stimulating command and control at
the staff level. VAST added these other players into the
game, which increases the realism of the exercise.
“The importance of VAST is to allow more realistic
training than is available through live training,” Glass
said. “By leveraging the investment in S&T we’re able
to do more for the Navy.” ■