US Navy tests TRACER augmented reality combat training platform

2 August 2019 (Last Updated August 2nd, 2019 10:56)

The US Navy has tested a platform based on augmented reality (AR) that is designed to significantly improve combat training.

US Navy tests TRACER augmented reality combat training platform
A sailor assigned to the CENSECFOR detachment demonstrates Tactically Reconfigurable Artificial Combat Enhanced Reality (TRACER) system. Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams.

The US Navy has tested a platform based on augmented reality (AR) that is designed to significantly improve combat training.

The platform is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global TechSolutions.

Sailors tested the tactically reconfigurable artificial combat enhanced reality (TRACER) project at the Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR) Detachment Chesapeake, on Naval Support Activity Northwest Annex in Currituck County, North Carolina.

Other government partners in the project include the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren and the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command.

Industry partners who contributed to the development of TRACER include Magic Leap Horizons and Haptech.

Key components of the TRACER system include the Magic Leap One AR headset, a backpack processor, and Haptech’s instrumented weapon, which is capable of delivering realistic recoil.

The system uses software developed by Magic Leap Horizons as part of the US Army’s Augmented Reality Dismounted Soldier Training (ARDST) project.

This will provide advanced weapons tracking capability. Trainers using the system will also be able to create simulation scenarios for security personnel.

TRACER project lead Dr Patrick Mead said: “Our training system is built mostly from commercial-off-the-shelf products, so we are using widely available gaming gear.

“All of these technologies combine together to give us extremely accurate weapon and movement tracking capabilities, as well as highly immersive simulation visual, auditory and haptic (relating to the sense of touch) feedback.

“Ultimately, TRACER provides sailors with dynamic, engaging and less predictable training scenarios that would otherwise be too costly or time-consuming to create in the real world.”

The CENSECFOR is involved in delivering training in US Navy security force fundamentals, code of conduct, anti-terrorism, and expeditionary warfare.

CENSECFOR training innovation director commander Kim Littel said: “We can integrate this AR virtual training environment into our existing curriculum, and it allows us to be very reconfigurable.

“We can go in and we can change the scenarios, or we can change the opposition forces and the threat that they pose.”

Littel stated that TRACER will provide the ability to conduct training ‘almost anywhere, anytime’.

The technology will also help address space restrictions experienced during training operations on a ship, Littel added.