Don’t Rock the Boat – Training to Sail a Combat Ship

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The USS Milwaukee, an LCS 5, is shown here during its acceptance trials in 2015.

It takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a craft. And when you’re operating a vessel that’s longer than a football field, you’ve got to be an expert.

What if we told you Lockheed Martin has a way to help sailors become experts in the art of operating the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)…without ever stepping foot onboard?

Our LCS Integrated Tactical Trainer immerses sailors in a completely virtual environment complemented by real hardware that makes it feel as if they’re actually on the ship. Whether on the bridge, in the Mission Control Center, or at the Readiness Control Officer position, the fully integrated ship team can execute a variety of high-fidelity scenarios “at sea.”

Think of it like the ultimate driver’s ed class for a 3,500-ton watercraft.

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training Simulation setups like this one (for flight) are valuable training tools for U.S. armed services.

Today’s technology enables us to create virtual environments so real that we feel like we’re actually there, and this is the core principle behind game-based training. With virtual and augmented reality scenarios, you can train for anything, anytime, anywhere – and at significantly less cost.

When asked about how the Navy will leverage the powerful concept of game-based training, Adm. John Richardson – the U.S.’ Chief of Naval Operations – supported its use in a recent testimony before the House Armed Services Committee:

“Particularly now with the technology, the degree of realism – the fidelity of those simulators – is very, very high…It can’t take you all the way, but it can take you a lot further than it used to.”

With the LCS Integrated Tactical Trainer, we can replicate almost any at-sea scenario – hostile environment? Inclement weather? Unexpected malfunction? Check, check, check. The result? A group of sailors who are ready to meet any challenge at sea – without ever having to take away fleet availability to hone their craft.

Part of the appeal of training in virtual environments through simulation is how well the concept resonates with today’s newest generation of sailors and service men and women.

During the same hearing, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA, 50th District) spoke about how virtual reality training takes a concept that’s familiar to a younger generation and applies it in a practical way.

“You don’t have to go out for a year at sea – you can spend three weeks on the bridge of a ship like the one you’re going to take over or be on the deck of,” he stated. 

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“The most valuable assets aren’t built, they’re trained” – a core principle of our training and simulation capabilities.

According to Adm. Richardson during his testimony, “LCS is designed to have sort of a blue-gold crew type of an arrangement – there’s going to be one crew on the ship all the time and one crew in the trainers and simulators, so we need to make those as realistic as possible.”

Luckily, Lockheed Martin has a proven track record when it comes to our expertise designing and deploying those high-fidelity simulation scenarios for training operations.

Case and point? We’ve trained more than 11,000 students in over 40 countries with our Aircrew Training System specifically designed for C-130 airmen. We developed the training system used by U.S. Air Force pilots flying the world’s most advanced 5th Generation fighter jet – the F-35. And our Close-Combat Tactical Trainer integrates all facets of combat to immerse U.S. Army warfighters in real scenarios they will face on the battlefield.

What’s more? Lockheed Martin is already bringing this type of training to the sea. We currently provide Aegis training to U.S. and allied sailors around the globe with products like the Synthetic Combat Operator Trainer (SCOT) and the Aegis Ashore Team Trainer (AATT). The Navy has also been training LCS sailors on the Lockheed Martin Integrated Tactical Trainer in San Diego since 2007.

We’re adding even more capabilities and next-generation technology to the new LCS Integrated Tactical Trainer unit that will be installed at the main LCS Training Facility (LTF) at Naval Station Mayport in the coming months.

This upgraded LCS Integrated Tactical Trainer is built to deliver a Navy-specific simulation experience of the highest caliber. As soon as early summer 2018, sailors will be able to step inside and start training in the simulator, which will similarly deliver ready-relevant learning while continuing to reduce the cost and time it takes to train our sea-faring warfighters.

At Lockheed Martin, we firmly believe the best assets aren’t built – they’re trained. For the Navy, this means we’re dedicated to giving sailors a way to hone their skills while ashore, so that when they’re at sea, they can contribute to the mission from day one.