Technology Today

2012 Issue 2

Warfighter FOCUS - Raytheon engineers in Germany provide a broad range of solutions to Warfighters

Warfighter FOCUS - Raytheon engineers in Germany provide a
broad range of solutions to Warfighters

Through the Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support (FOCUS) program, Raytheon provides training and training support services to U.S. government agencies and foreign governments. Warfighter FOCUS provides fully integrated live, virtual and constructive (LVC)1 training operations and support systems to locations worldwide. Warfighter FOCUS is the first program to provide integrated support for LVC training environments.

Under the Warfighter FOCUS contract, Raytheon leads the Warrior Training Alliance (WTA), a team of member companies that provides worldwide integrated training support services for operations, maintenance, sustainment and training for devices, simulators, simulations and ranges. This total life-cycle contractor support of U.S. Army worldwide LVC training systems, which includes operations and maintenance (O&M) systems integration and engineering support services, is made possible by 7,000 WTA personnel who support soldiers at more than 600 sites.

The "graduate school" for collective Army training is the Combat Training Center (CTC) rotation. In peacetime, a Brigade Combat Team (BCT) will go through a CTC rotation approximately every 18 months. During periods of active conflict, each BCT that is to deploy into an active combat theater is required to successfully complete a CTC rotation within 120 days of deployment. At the CTCs, the Army seeks to replicate the sights, sounds, smells and stress of actual combat. The combination of challenging terrain, full-speed operational tempo, ruthless opponents and an objective cadre of referees is further augmented by an intrusive press corps and a culturally accurate indigenous population. The resulting environment is as realistic and stressful as possible without the taking of life. This is the precise environment that the Army has intentionally constructed and that Raytheon's Warfighter FOCUS program supports. With all of these factors present, the CTCs represent the pinnacle of live training — where everything is real except the bullets.

Figure 1

One of the Warfighter FOCUS-maintained CTCs is the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) located just outside Hohenfels, Germany (pdf/2012_i12pdf 1). The JMRC is one of three Army Maneuver Combat Training Centers (MCTCs) where soldiers experience near-battle realism and fully integrated LVC training. The focus on performance-based training in a genuine tactical environment measured against established tasks, conditions and standards provides U.S. and NATO armed forces with a realistic, instrumented training environment for conducting full-spectrum operations. More than 60,000 soldiers (U.S. and allied) train at the JMRC annually. No other means of training so closely replicates battlefield conditions, simulates weapons effects, records results of engagements, allows expert-assisted analysis of unit actions and provides the Army with the ability to efficiently distribute lessons learned from the battlefield throughout training.

Due to the extensive scope and reach of modern combat, simple observation is insufficient to capture all of the activities that objectively describe the events of a training scenario. An instrumentation system (IS) provides this capability through an integrated system-of-systems comprised of workstations, databases, voice and video recording, production and presentation equipment, interface devices, and communications systems that manage the tracking and event data for all of the instrumented participants and constructive entities (e.g., vehicles).

Raytheon engineers working in Germany on the Warfighter FOCUS program provide full life-cycle support to the JMRC IS through service life extension projects incorporating capability enhancements that support the latest military equipment, tactics and training concepts. The following are a few examples of how these engineers have delivered innovative, flexible, cost-effective, integrated solutions to meet the needs of the warfighter.

Instrumentation System Video Control and Edit Upgrades

There is an abundance of sensors and attendant data; but in order to provide effective feedback, that data must be assimilated and analyzed in a timely manner to support the scenario's fact-based after-action review (AAR), which is held while the real events are fresh in the participants' minds. The information that AARs provide identifies how to correct deficiencies, sustain strengths and focus on the performance of specific mission-essential training objectives. In an AAR, soldiers view playbacks of actual footage taken and hear radio communications recorded during their simulated combat, which improves soldier and unit readiness before they deploy to real-world conflict. The standard for conducting a small unit's AAR is two hours, and for a brigade, six hours, after the conclusion of the training scenario.

The need to hold an AAR soon after the completion of a training scenario requires that the process of preparing an accompanying video proceed quickly. The video segment of the original IS at the JMRC consisted of an outdated analog video system that used VHS tape decks for recording and subsequent playback at AARs. The system was not portable and required analysts to develop AAR video in a formal production center environment. This labor-intensive operation required a staff of skilled video editors and producers working alongside a training analyst and a feedback analyst. This process was capable of producing only a few videos for use in AARs on any given day.

To reduce AAR production timelines, analyst workload and specialized staffing requirements, Raytheon engineers developed and fielded a fully integrated digital video system with record, edit, control and playback capabilities. This system also routes video for cutting and editing to a shared server where it is accessible from any analyst's workstation. The system is modular for ease of maintenance, portable for use at off-site locations and flexible for use with multiple computer operating systems.

Due to Raytheon's improvements, training analysis and feedback (TAF) analysts can now capture video that correlates with any moment in time and can select pertinent video clips, which are later spliced together automatically by the new system. TAF analysts can now produce most videos without any assistance from specialized personnel. The edited videos are available on all workstations for easy access. The audio selections presented in the AAR can be chosen in a similar fashion and linked to the video. The finished product is easily accessed online or copied to a DVD. The result is an easy to use, intuitive system manned by fewer and less specialized people. Videos are produced in near real time, giving the soldiers more timely feedback.

Figure 2 Figure 3
Range Data Measurement Subsystem (RDMS) Rehosting and Precision Real-Time Location System (PRTLS) Tracking

Another key component of the JMRC instrumentation system is the RDMS, which provides the conduit for carrying time/space/position information (TSPI) updates and real-time casualty assessment (RTCA) messages generated by the participants back to the computational and display portions of the IS. Shown in Figure 2, the RDMS includes software that enables up to 2,000 live training entities to be tracked and managed. Raytheon engineers rewrote parts of the original RDMS software to replace proprietary, aging and costly-to-maintain systems with a government-owned open-architecture solution.

In addition to the renovated software, the updated RDMS system leverages Raytheon's PRTLS radio and software components. The RDMS extends them for use with vehicle detection devices (VDDs) and man-worn individual weapon system (IWS) vest systems (Figure 3), and is designed to easily interface with future devices.

The PRTL system is easy to set up and can be readily adapted to work at other training areas. The system uses open standards on a commercial radio and it works well in cluttered environments such as wooded areas.

The software is developed and furnished with full government rights. The biggest benefit of RDMS, however, is cost effectiveness. The life-cycle cost of this new system is approximately one-twentieth of the cost of the system it replaces.

Figure 4

Pairing the PRTLS with a data communications interface (DCI)-embedded computer provides translations of routed data from the detection device to the IS. The DCI is small, lightweight and can be worn in the IWS vest along with the soldier's radio and battery. All tracking is done from the global positioning system in the radio. This allows for tracking, even in situations where the detection device has failed or no onboard GPS system exists (Figure 4). With a simple switch between mounting hardware and cable, the same DCI and radio can be used for vehicles or individual warfighter (man-worn) devices. This versatility also reduces life cycle costs and down time.

Exportable Instrumentation System (EIS)

The EIS was born out of a need to take the CTC experience to remote locations; in effect, bringing the training center to the soldier. Utilizing the EIS can shave weeks of travel off of a soldier's time away from home base, while still providing the full-scale, high-quality combat training ordinarily experienced at a stationary CTC.

This system includes the ability to equip participants and provide a tracking and engagement capability similar to that of the JMRC instrumentation system's fixed site. The EIS fits digital video, digital audio, observer controller communications and AAR presentation facilities into portable, airmobile containers, transportable anywhere in the world by air, truck, rail or sea. The system is also DoD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) certified for compliance with DoD security requirements.

Figure 5The EIS is a condensed version of the infrastructure that makes up the instrumentation system of a CTC (e.g., towers, theaters, shelters, cameras and power generators) and is ready for transport to virtually anywhere (Figure 5).

The Warfighter FOCUS program, through the Raytheon-led Warrior Training Alliance, provides support and innovative training solutions to the warfighter when and where it counts — before the fighting begins — and at more than 600 manned and unmanned sites worldwide.

As a result, Warfighter FOCUS has become the vehicle of choice to deliver full-spectrum, mission-focused, global training support, and is a best-value solution for the U.S. Army, as well as other DoD organizations. Warfighter FOCUS helps ensure that our warfighters form the best trained fighting force in the world.

1.Live = A simulation involving real people operating real systems. Virtual = A simulation involving real people operating simulated systems, exercising motor control skills, decision skills or communication skills. Constructive = Simulation training using computers to simulate battle elements, enabling multiple echelons of command and staff to execute their normal warfighting tasks in an unconstrained exercise environment.

Traci Caldwell, Charlie Givens

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