Water sprayed everywhere in the engineering space aboard the littoral combat ship (LCS) Independence. Called on to inspect an alarm
and possible leak, a crew member rushed to the space
and found pooling water. Now came the task of stopping the leak after an inflatable shaft seal failed.
It took the crew member a few tries — and a few missteps — with guidance from an instructor, before the
leak was stopped, the flooding was contained and the
seal replaced. But no real damage was done.
Independence was not at sea, and the “Sailor” who
fixed it was not really on the ship. In this case, the crewman whose “hands” grabbed the wrench, turned the
valves and replaced the seal belonged to Brian
Feldmann, a Cubic communication administrator who
demonstrated the “EPT Rounds” course for Seapower.
The laptop demonstrator is a version of the “Immersive Courseware
Training Demonstrator” developed
by Cubic Advanced Learning
Solutions, which is creating training
lessons as part of a $300 million
Navy contract awarded in 2013.
“The real version works on a
tower and has a three-screen
setup,” Feldmann said.
High-fidelity graphics are near
three-dimensional images of real
spaces and equipment aboard each
LCS variant — the mono-hulled
Freedom class and the trimaran-hulled Independence class. The
courseware will be incorporated
into classrooms in the relocated
LCS Training Facility, which the
Navy will open next year in an
expanded building at Naval Base
The EPT, or Engineering Plant
Technician, course is one of several
hundred lessons that teach a wide range of shipboard
tasks and LCS missions, and represent the “
gamification” of training. These use virtual reality and video
games to teach people, like doing hands-on repairs in
the virtual training world.
Gamification has a critical place in the Navy, and
especially the growing LCS community. The small crews
of so-called “hybrid” Sailors mean every person counts.
So each crew member must know skills, duties and
shipboard billets beyond the scope of his or her rate or
naval enlisted classification than their counterparts on
legacy hulls. They must qualify and rotate on multiple
watch stations. Under the Navy’s “3-2-1” manning concept, three crews — one on hull training, one deployed,
one off-hull ashore — are assigned to two ships, with
one ship rotating overseas every 18 months.
Virtual to Reality
Immersive courseware uses ‘gamification’ to help train, certify LCS Sailors
By GIDGET FUENTES, Special Correspondent
Training the Surface Warrior
Before they step aboard ship and put hands on equipment,
Sailors assigned to highly automated littoral combat ships (LCSs)
get familiar with equipment and procedures using computer simulation and immersive gaming-type software.
; Virtual instructors guide students through tasks as avatars in the
realistic, high-definition environment, enabling a Sailor’s “virtual” presence to take action, like turn a valve, lift a hatch and duck under a
pipe to make a repair.
; Sailors using the courseware, which meets LCS “train-to-quality”
and “train-to-certify” requirements, remember more information and
knowledge about shipboard equipment and systems than standard
classroom and on-the-job training.
; Similar immersion teaches crew members to launch and recover
unmanned vehicles and buoys, and immersive courseware and
gaming technology will be used in the new and expanded LCS
Training Facility, slated to open in San Diego next year and in
Mayport, Fla., in 2017.