NIWC Atlantic fields virtual training tech for USMC communications

17 June 2019 (Last Updated June 17th, 2019 11:07)

Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic has deployed a 3D virtual training technology designed for a US Marine Corps (USMC) mobile user objective system (MUOS) capability.

NIWC Atlantic fields virtual training tech for USMC communications
NIWC Atlantic’s Marine Corps communication systems and afloat submarine C4I training support teams display their recent work on a 3D virtual trainer. Credit: US Navy photo by Joseph Bullinger/Released.

Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic has deployed a 3D virtual training technology designed for a US Marine Corps (USMC) Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) capability.

The training technology was developed by NIWC Atlantic’s Marine Corps communication systems and afloat submarine command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) training support teams.

It was specifically developed as part of a new equipment training (NET) package designed for USMC communicators.

Known as the multi-purpose reconfigurable training system (MRTS) platform, the technology was traditionally used by navy submariners.

It was first introduced to the navy in 2008 as a virtual, touchscreen system. Designed to replicate the exact equipment submariners use on a boat, the platform will provide an opportunity to sailors to train on submarine radio rooms virtually.

NIWC Atlantic Marine Corps communication systems team lead Jack Buchanan said: “We are the first team to embrace the submarine trainer technology, outside of the submarine community, and apply it to MUOS radios.”

The project team comprising Buchanan and the NIWC Atlantic afloat submarine C4I MRTS training support team wanted to develop a training solution for USMC communicators on the lines of virtual training for submariners in the navy.

NIWC Atlantic MUOS project manager Deb Carbone said: “Warfighters of today are conditioned to use technology as an extension of their formal education.

“The ability to learn mission-critical skills via a gaming software simulation makes it interesting and engaging, and it can be delivered wherever and whenever it is needed via laptops or tablets.”

The software development team hand sketched all operations and data fields of the radio due to certain challenges including computer security concerns.

"The ability to learn mission-critical skills can be delivered wherever and whenever it is needed via laptops or tablets."

Sketches were then used to build the MUOS virtual trainer. The entire development process took eight months.

The NET package developed by NIWC Atlantic is now used to provide training to all Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) on MUOS capability, including the Joint Integrated SATCOM Tool, Joint SATCOM Management Planning System and the AN/PRC-117G radio.

Furthermore, the MUOS virtual trainer can be adapted for other Department of Defense requirements.

The US Navy introduced a new MRTS 3D device at its submarine training sites in 2015 as part of its efforts to switch to touchscreen training technology.