DOD buys combat training systems

The Defense Department recently awarded an $8.8 million contract to SRI International for combat training instrumentation systems for the Army National Guard.

SRI, an independent research institute, will put in place its Deployable Force-on-Force Instrumented Range System (DFIRST). The systems are designed to increase the combat readiness of Army National Guard armored units through tank battle simulations. Using an application of the Global Positioning System along with high-speed wireless communications and data visualization tools, DFIRST enables National Guard personnel to engage in battle simulations and then play back the replication in an after-action review facility.

DFIRST gives National Guard personnel a complete picture of the battlefield, including friendly and enemy tank locations at all times, said Chris Terndrup, program director for instrumentation and simulation systems at SRI. Playing back the exercise enables users to compare what they thought they saw during the battle to what their adversary really was doing.

The GPS-based system can be installed faster than conventional laser-based training systems, which helps maximize the Army National Guard's limited training time, Terndrup said.

SRI, which announced the award Oct. 23, will use this $8.8 million contract to develop three new systems for National Guard units in Washington, Kentucky and Texas. Previous contracts have provided funding for the DFIRST deployments in Idaho, California, Virginia and Mississippi.

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