The use of immersive technology also is a key component to the integrated bridge and combat systems
that comprise the LCS Training Facility. Sailors use the
courseware along with other individual training, and
that training continues when they are assigned to an
LCS crew and learn rate, billet and ship-specific skills
training before deploying as a crew overseas.
“When they get to the ship, they are ready to go,”
LTF instructors train and qualify individuals in the
capstone T2Q courses, but do it in a team environment, “just like you fight on a ship,” he said.
The shore-based training also saves time: An officer-of-the-deck could be qualified in nine weeks at the
schoolhouse, rather than as long as a year to qualify on
a legacy ship, he said. Once qualified, Sailors could be
assigned to different ships. In the T2C phase, which
the LCS Squadron manages, Sailors are put into teams
for advanced certification training.
“That is an established crew that will go together to a
ship,” said CDR Will Chambers, LTF department head.
The Navy is replacing the existing, 12,000-square-foot
LTF with a larger facility being built in a 148,500-square-
foot former logistics warehouse nearby at Naval Base San
Diego. It is slated to open next summer, Shifflett said,
although it will continue to expand in training scope with
more courseware and virtual reality. It will have new mission bay trainers and more virtual-reality classroom
space, too, enabling students and crews to train and practice individually or in more integrated training.
Training will be phased in as the existing LCS 1
integrated tactical trainer and LCS
2 tactical trainer are taken off line
and upgraded and relocated.
Another LTF will be built in
Mayport, Fla., in late summer
2017, with two LCS 1 trainers to
The LTF is a connected facility.
Trainers even plug into the same
operating picture — Shifflett calls
it “LTF Ground Truth” — and
other commands, including afloat
training groups, can plug in “and
we see the same battle space.”
In 2014, he noted, a crew
assigned to USS Fort Worth did a
Singapore-based task force exercise
from the trainer before they traveled
overseas. The LTF also can connect
with other simulators, including the
MH-60R/S helicopter simulators at
North Island Naval Air Station,
Calif., so crews and aviation detach-
ments can practice working together before they get to
Training starts with the basics, a week-long console
operating course where “we teach them how to push
buttons,” Shifflett said, so they can learn systems
quickly in the capstone class. Then, after the follow-on
crew training phase, they do the bridge, combat and
mission packages as teams and get certified before they
do strike and task group certifications.
In the existing LTF, huge, high-fidelity flat screens
of the training simulators — there are separate simulators for each LCS class — provide near full view from
the bridge. Nearby bridge wings provide additional
training. Each trainer uses a mix of emulated or tactical ship equipment. For example, the LCS 1 simulator
has the same Rolls Royce controllers as on the ship, “so
the muscle memory is real here,” Shifflett said, while
the ship’s navigation radar is a high-fidelity emulation.
The bridge has three watch stations: The officer of the
deck (OOD), junior OOD and chief engineer.
The trainers are not full motion, but with higher sea
states, the large screens — the new LTF will have even
larger wraparound screens — can send someone to
sway or get dizzy. The LCS’ automation reduces the
workload for personnel.
“Basically, your autopilot, your helm and your
comm is a machine,” Shifflett said.
In the LCS 2 trainer, LT Nathan Haugan scanned
radar overlay screens and maps while the autopilot
drove the ship through the slight white caps of a busy
San Francisco Bay.
Courtney McNamara, a computer scientist at the Naval Air Warfare Center
Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., demonstrates a littoral combat ship
virtual cargo handling trainer to Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
(SW/AW) Elliot Fabrizio July 15.