Team Fisher is working to make learning more personalised for service personnel, closely aligning with the Royal Navy’s wider transformation vision to provide better trained people to the front line faster.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) awarded its Project Selborne contract to an industry consortium led by Capita and including Raytheon UK, Elbit Systems UK and Fujitsu in December last year. The scheme sets out to bring together contractor-provided legacy contracts and in-house service provision, into a single arrangement delivering all levels of Royal Navy personnel training.

Raytheon UK is responsible for running the Future Training Unit (FTU) from 1 October 2021, with the Royal Navy providing subject matter expertise, managing the quality of the output and the unit itself.

During the training transformation process, Raytheon UK is also implementing data recording steps in a dashboard based approach. This will allow instructors to understand data metrics that measure training outcomes and performance, as well as identifying challenges in the course.

Team Fisher reaches first milestone in Royal Navy training modernisation
Scenario-based training. Credit: Raytheon UK

Three pillars

After successfully concluding the first milestone of the contract, Raytheon UK believes it is important to reflect on the challenges of both the past half a year and the future, and to focus on three main aspects.

“This is not a contract, about delivering the same thing for 12 years. It is about setting ourselves up for a transformation over the duration of the contract, and that’s what we’re really keeping our eyes on. It’s a partnership within industry and the Naval Service, so it’s not in that traditional sense of a delivery contract, but it’s about how we create a partnership,” Raytheon UK’s head of training transformation Stephen Hart tells Global Defence Technology.

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The second important objective is harnessing technological capabilities. Hart says: “Raytheon’s particular challenge inside the contract is to bring the best technology that’s out there to help sailors, and to help the Naval Service transform training.”

However, transformation requires changing tools and methods, possibly even some of the ones that proved successful in the past.

Hart, an ex-Marine, understands the need for his company to be a persuasive communicator on this front. “We need to advocate for new technology, new ways of doing things, and the way that training has been done in the past won’t be the way Marines will learn in the future,” he says.

The future is going to be different, and Raytheon UK wants to seize the opportunities that give young sailors and Marines the ability to access simulation-based content and be able to use technology smoothly. This could ensure training condensation, meaning that people could learn faster and better, which would translate into personnel getting back to the frontline quicker.

“The last thing is that realisation that this change is going to result in more sailors, more Marines on the frontline. We can train quicker, and by being able to train quicker and release both instructors and learners out to the fleet faster, we’ll be enabling them to do the job they joined the Navy or the Marines to do; to go and serve on the front line around the world delivering the mission,” Hart explains.

Personalised training

The company will use fixed mastery but multiple routes through a learning outcome. Understanding that every person that enters the naval service will have different skills and knowledge, allows for a tailored, learner-led and instructor-led training environment.

Hart says: “The FTU has done this already with the type 45 training and we’re now doing it with the Queen Elizabeth class training. To have the ability for learner-led training where learners are accessing learning and progressing at their own pace, at a pace that suits that individual.

“Then we have fixed mastery, so we know that the learners are achieving the outcomes that we want, but their journeys, the time they’ve taken might be different.”

The Royal Navy is running over 500 training courses and Raytheon UK is currently in the process of scanning through all and trying to identify the ones that can have the biggest impact if transformed.

The next steps are to find a limited number of courses that the company can rapidly transform, with that demonstrating the capabilities of the training transformation technologies it possesses. This is where Raytheon’s industry expertise and experience will be invaluable.

Team Fisher reaches first milestone in Royal Navy training modernisation
Virtual Reality demo. Credit: Raytheon UK

Immersive learning solutions

The FTU is located at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hampshire and is developing instructor-led computer-aided instruction material. It also conducts training and learning design activities and 2D-3D interactive and virtual reality (VR) media development.

These immersive learning solutions give learners the ability to interact with their tasks in a simulated environment before facing those particular tasks or challenges in a real-life simulator or on the front line. The FTU has developed a synthetic solution for close-in weapon systems, and Raytheon UK is now exploring the ways how the same principles could be implemented into training pathways.

“What’s really important for us is we’re really outcome focused with learning. We want to know whether the individual has achieved that learning levels they need in order to be effective in the frontline of the service,” Hart explains.

The training transformation team is working on identifying areas of the learning pathways where implementing VR and augmented reality is possible and appropriate. But the company says synthetic learning will only be supplement and not a substitute for real-life training.

Hart clarifies: “There will still be a need for real-world application, some online learning and some instructor led-learning at the moment. But it’s about creating that blended immersive learning journey.”