Live, virtual, constructive (LVC) training combines real trainees operating real systems with real trainees operating simulated systems and simulated soldiers operating simulated systems, the constructive C in LVC.
The technique is new and still developing, but it offers major possibilities to greatly expand training realism, especially for large groups, affordably and practically.
The Army’s Integrated Training Environment (ITE) can combine all or just elements of LVC to create realistic training in combined arms operations with the complexity of a combat training center event, said Colonel Jay Bullock, capability manager for ITE in Training and Doctrine Command.
Connecting different LVC environments, ITE can conduct training repetitions in less time than live training. Multiple echelons can train simultaneously, achieving more proficiency before live training or deployment. Integrating combined arms and mission command into LVC enables more flexible, larger and robust training with less resources. The goal is cost-effective training. Brigade and division simulation officers help use mission training resources to ensure effective training. Constructive training focuses on battalion and above mission-command training. Simulated, constructive threats train soldiers for complex threats unavailable in live training. Although LVC will never completely replace live training, it yields more proficiency before live training.
An upgraded version of the Army’s LVC Integrated Architecture (LVC-IA) is being delivered to home stations now. It will connect LVC-IA to Mission Command Information Systems on tactical networks, increasing the realism of LVC.
Bullock said distributed training remains a challenge. “A more robust capability would allow geographically separated brigades or task forces to train together.” Cloud-based software should help reach that goal.
Long term, the services want to develop a synthetic training environment that uses common data sources for a rapidly accessible training. STE architecture will comply with the military’s common operating environment, greatly reducing the need for an integration architecture for LVC. And it will increase training scope, for example in joint combined arms maneuver. STE will also provide greater realism, combining live and synthetic training.
Bullock said using the cloud for LVC can deliver training at the point of need faster and easier. “In the future, STE will provide cloud-based training less reliant on physical facilities and devices to train at home stations, a combat training center or deployed.”
The Air Force trains in three environments: live, synthetic with virtual and constructive environments and a blend of live and synthetic environments. Most operational training has been done live, but that is changing, especially for fifth-generation aircraft and future weapons so advanced that live training is not realistic, relevant or challenging.
LVC is thus useful for air, space, cyberspace and nuclear training, said Air Force spokesperson Erika Yepsen. “Synthetic training enables greater repetition in a more robust environment that better approximates the full spectrum of combat environments, particularly contested environments.”
Major exercises also benefit from blending live and synthetic training, which can meet coalition requirements to emulate realistic situations.
The Air Force is working to better integrate space and cyberspace routinely and securely. The service seeks to train command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance airmen to required proficiency. It wants to provide training that replicates complex, multi-domain operations these airmen will encounter.
Air Force commands develop training requirements, and trainers determine the best mix of live and synthetic environments, interchanges between weapons and investment priorities. Many Air Force training capabilities are classified at levels preventing full training with coalition partners. Rules like the International Traffic in Arms Regulations also hinder training with allies.
Migrating LVC training to the cloud would yield on-demand service, broad access, quick expansion, measured service and reduced cost and staff. The Air Force is migrating to the Joint Information Environment and more cloud capabilities.
VT MÄK offers a suite of commercial-off-the-shelf LVC training products used by system integrators, experimental labs and military units, explained Marketing Vice President Dan Brockway. “We focus on first-person virtual simulation, constructive, computer-generated forces simulation, simulation visualization and simulation networking interoperability,” Brockway said. VT MÄK’s primary customers are in aerospace and defense.
VT MÄK focuses on the needs of system integrators, building flexibility into its products so they can be integrated into many configurations, minimizing costs and enabling state-of-art technology for each program.
Brockway said his firm’s pricing and support has proven effective for system integrators.
VT MÄK takes a standards-based approach to advancing technology. A couple years ago it added streaming terrain-server capability by using commercial standards for on-line delivery of geospatial data. And it extended LVC simulation to web browsers not with a proprietary solution but by beginning the WebLVC standard process with the Simulation Interoperability Standards Association.
In October 2016, VT MÄK announced a new product, VR-Engage. This is a multi-role virtual simulator that lets users play military roles such as vehicle drivers, gunners or commanders or pilots of fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft.
Brockway said LVC brings many advantages, for example using live vehicles on test ranges networked to simulators supported by constructive simulations to fill in battlefields. “LVC lets trainers deliver training experiences that would be too costly or too dangerous to conduct on a routine basis. LVC allows more personnel to be trained for less cost.” VT MÄK understands that many customers do not have access to the internet. It thus develops solutions, such as the VR-TheWorld streaming terrain server and WebLVC Suite, for closed or secure network environments.
Cubic Global Defense offers LVC for joint training in ground and air maneuver, explained Training Development Manager Andrew Gales. This includes joint fire, joint terminal air control, electronic warfare, ground-based air defense, weapon- locating radar and airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
For air specifically, Cubic offers LVC for air combat training. Senior Business Development manager Tim Welde said Cubic LVC can be used for individual, team or collective air combat training.
Gales stressed that Cubic can provide its own stand-alone LVC or work with legacy simulation systems. Distinctively, Cubic does not just present concepts, but is delivering a tactically deployable, expeditionary solution, in the Micro SCOPIC program, to the British Army.
Welde emphasized that Cubic LVC evolves from decades of air combat training experience in air combat maneuvering instrumentation, including fifth-generation ACMI on the F-35 Lightning II, the P5 Internal Subsystem. “Cubic has excelled in integrating live players, range infrastructures and datalinks,” Welde said. It is now working to inject synthetic elements in defense’s live environments to deliver LVC to warfighters.
One Cubic LVC capability is Synthetic Wrap, which uses game-based technology and expeditionary Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks to ensure that individuals and teams can get especially difficult and complex training. Synthetic Wrap can also train several levels of command at the scales expected in operations.
Cubic is now under contract as system integrator with Air Force Research Lab to demonstrate LVC for air combat, called SLATE ATD for Secure LVC Advanced Training Environment Advanced Technology Demonstration. SLATE ATD will use fourth-generation aircraft with ACMI modified for multi-level encrypted LVC, for both tethered and untethered training. SLATE ATD aims to prove feasibility, operability and production capability for LVC subsystems. Cubic will demonstrate its LVC system at Technology Readiness Level 7 and evaluate it for training on the F-35.
Gales cited several LVC benefits. LVC can create a scale of forces that could not otherwise be deployed. It can represent resources too complex or expensive to field for training. LVC also allows the consequences of actions or inactions to be simulated in ways not possible in purely live training. Welde said LVC ensures airborne warfighters have experience and confidence with live weapons in realistic scenarios. “LVC bolsters combat readiness and proficiency.”
Welde said airborne LVC must do three things. It must link many different entities into a synthetic environment for whole-force training. It must be coherent across platforms to ensure proper actions and reactions so all training objectives can be achieved. And LVC must collect training data, apply proficiency metrics and feed results into a training system for each user.
Gales argued Cubic technology is ready to do all this. “The real challenge is educating customers on what LVC can deliver.” Data is the heart of Cubic’s cloud-based learning, assessment, management and exploitation solution. This tool stores LVC data in an Army Knowledge Exchange application for data mining to support doctrines and tactics.
LVC means different things to different people, noted Lenny Genna, president of L-3 Link Simulation & Training. It can mean true integration of live, virtual and constructive capabilities or just the simple connection of one live, virtual or constructive capability to another.
L-3 Link uses the first definition, true integration of all three capabilities to conduct comprehensive, interoperable training. This kind of LVC increases trainees’ performance, develops adaptable decision-making skills and provides enduring experiences of realistic tactical interactions with many participants seeking common objective as a team or team of teams.
L-3 Link thus offers cost-effective, scalable and customized LVC Total Training Solutions (TTSs). Costs are controlled by using existing infrastructure and best-of-breed capabilities to achieve realism, given funds available. TTSs are scalable up to large-force exercises and customized to ensure training requirements are addressed. L-3 LVC can also support experiments with different tactics, techniques and procedures.
Genna said most LVC providers focus on technical connections of different entities. L-3’s TTSs also focus on maximizing learning with LVC. L-3 offers enterprise tools, services and models to maximize learning, advance performance and decision-making skills and increases readiness.
The company is now working on innovative uses of existing infrastructure and developing open architectures that are both mature and flexible.
Genna said the major benefit of LVC is cost-effective training. It achieves this by overcoming limits on physical and electromagnetic-spectrum space, platform availability and funding. The major challenges for LVC continue to be multi-level security and true integration of mobile live elements. As much as cybersecurity allows, L-3 LVC will exploit customers’ clouds, thus providing immediate access to LVC.
SAIC provides training solutions for the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Federal Aviation Administration, according to Bob Kleinhample, vice president of simulation and training systems. Solutions include LVC-gaming (LVCG) integration, exercise design and support, mission rehearsal scenarios, trainers and observers, certification training and role players. SAIC supports LVC training for both individual and collective tasks, such as training commanders and staffs, training otherwise restricted by cost or geography.
The company also supports training and simulation centers and distributed simulation operations. It can develop data, scenarios and models and support simulation research.
Kleinhample emphasized that SAIC is a one-stop shop for LVCG. It can develop multi-platform games, and augmented reality and visualization products. SAIC specializes in integrating best-of-breed capabilities. SAIC’s “serious games studio, Big Timber Games, is the leading edge of virtual and augmented reality simulation.”
The SAIC exec said his company’s human performance training and holistic approach to fitness and readiness have been successfully demonstrated in Army Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness training and with senior Army leadership.
The SAIC Integrated Training Edge (SITE) platform combines training experts, processes, tools and technologies for immersive and engaging training. SITE uses the cloud to provide training on demand, while simulation as a service deliver LVCG to point of need, with or without high-performance computers. Customized, realistic, graphics-intensive training can use SAIC’s high-fidelity cloud network on government-grade computers or mobile devices. A key element of SAIC training is the shift away from classrooms to gaming solutions.
Kleinhample said LVC reduces costs and risks by early immersion learning. LVCG generates data that can modify both doctrines and future training.
And LVC enables large-scale training that geography may make impossible for live training. Dangers are also reduced. “For example, users who clear a building can interact with virtual actors and simulated weapons before conducting live operations.”
One LVC challenge is the absence of a consolidated architecture across services. Simulations that rely on many integration architectures increase the time and risks associated with LVCG. Specific issues include fair fights, one-world terrain, voice simulation, emulation of real entities, coordination of live and constructive command and control and coordination of live ranges. Data collection and after action review tools are also critical.
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Reprinted from Military Training International, Nov 2016. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.