Navy to use more simulation training

HONOLULU — The Navy will invest in simulation software and applications in the future to help reduce the cost, time and strain of training its sailors, service officials said here this week.

According to Navy Adm. Walter Doran, commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet, simulations can revolutionize how the Navy trains and reduce wear and tear on sailors and ships.

"The Battle Force Tactical Training system is being used during in-port exercises to improve the training of strike group command and control elements, from simple reporting procedures to the current application of rules of engagement in a realistic environment," Doran said Nov. 5, at the AFCEA Hawaii chapter's TechNet 2003 Asia Pacific Conference. "Through technology, our strike groups can practice and evaluate the tactics, techniques and procedures in port before getting underway."

Doran said that traditionally the strike groups — groups of ships in an aircraft carrier group with a specific area of responsibility — have trained on their own, separate from other groups. In February of next year, however, the Navy will conduct its first multiple strike group exercise while the ships are still in their respective ports. Three carrier strike groups — located in San Diego, the Pacific Northwest and Norfolk, Va. — will train using a collaborative scenario.

"Everyone on the ship, from the petty officer on the console to the admiral and their staffs, will train in a simulated combat scenario," said Doran, speaking here at the AFCEA Hawaii chapter's TechNet 2003 Asia Pacific Conference.

In addition to combat training, the Navy is distributing simulation software that can be used to practice navigating through unfamiliar waters.

"Soon — very soon — a ship heading into a port that they have never been to before will be able to practice the night before during their navigational detail brief, by plugging into this onboard simulator," Doran said. "Our [ports] will be outfitted with bridge mockup simulators for complete navigation training. Our ships will be equipped with a version that is a virtual reality hood, designed to train individual watch commanders and enabling our sailors to see precisely what they would see from the bridge of their ships."

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