Train them anywhere

Raytheon tech allows for instant replay of war games across Europe


Paratroopers from the U.S., U.K. and Italy conduct airborne operations near Hohenfels, Germany, during exercise Saber Junction 16. U.S. Army Europe plans to hold more than 50 multinational exercises this year with the help of Raytheon training experts. (U.S. Army photo by Gertrud Zach)

The U.S. Army is training to fight alongside its military allies with more than 50 exercises in Europe.

Some of that force-on-force fight training is done virtually, thanks to Raytheon technology.

Raytheon operates and maintains the instrumentation and tactical simulation at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels Training Area in southeastern Germany — the only U.S. Army combat training center outside of the continental U.S. The training that the Army conducts here helps improve interoperability, strengthen relationships and trust among allied armies, contributes to regional stability, and demonstrates the U.S. commitment to NATO.

“We can simultaneously train soldiers thousands of miles apart in the same, live, virtual battlespace,” said Arnie Geisler of Raytheon in Germany. “It allows our multinational partners to train together when they might not be able travel to Hohenfels. It saves them money, but they still get to experience the intense and stressful environment, and learn the same tactics.”

To allow more allies to participate in exercises, Raytheon developed the Mobile Instrumentation System, which uses sensors, cameras and controllers to blend live and virtual training. It allows for multi-echelon training for commanders, staffs and thousands of soldiers across borders.

“In [U.S. Army Europe], soldiers must be prepared to ‘Fight Tonight’ … USAREUR always trains with its allies and partners to ensure interoperability,” wrote Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, USAREUR commander, in a May 1, 2017 U.S. Army article. “All of its exercises involve multinational units.”

The deployable MIS connects units back to Hohenfels, allowing the Army to track and monitor training from anywhere.

“We live in a complex, multinational world,” said Eric Nantz, Raytheon European region operations manager. “We live here, we train here and we will fight here.”

One exercise, Saber Guardian 17, takes place in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania, and involves 25,000 military members from 22 allied and partner nations. The war games focus on deterrence capabilities; specifically, the ability to mass forces at any given time anywhere in Europe.

Raytheon equips soldiers and military vehicles with the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, or MILES. Nantz compared the system to high-tech laser tag, because when it hits a soldier or a vehicle, it sets off a light and beep that indicates where they virtual strike occurred.

The MIS system records that data along with every communication, movement and assault during an exercise, and then recaps it like an instant replay.

“We provide the unit an after-action review that clearly articulates everything that has happened,” Nantz said. “It lets commanders know what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. They then can build on their successes, learn from their mistakes and adjust their training in preparation for real-world missions.” 

Raytheon operates and maintains the JMRC instrumentation and  tactical simulation described above under the PEO STRI Warfighter FOCUS contract with the U.S. Army.


Published On: 07/17/2017
Last Updated: 03/07/2019