US Army's Immersive Combat Trainer

by Anastasia Deripaska

US Army Drops $179M on Immersive Combat Trainer 

Gamers and their favorite companies have been using immersive technology for years to give themselves more and more realistic experiences when it comes to war games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor.
Apparently, that technology has gotten so real that the United States Army wants in on the deal.Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim for short) announced on 17 August that it has been subcontracted by Cole Engineering Services Inc. (CESI) as part of a US$179 million contract with the world’s largest military to build out the US Army’s Synthetic Training Environment (STE).  
According to the company’s press release, the STE allows both US military units and their commanding officers the ability to take part in “realistic, multi-echelon and multi-domain combined arms maneuver and mission command, live, collective training anywhere in the world.”CESI provides Training Simulation Software and Training Management Tools (TSS/TMT) that can merge constructive, virtual, and live experiences into a single interface.

Getting a WarGames Vibe Here

Depending on your viewpoint of Artificial Intelligence (AI) being used in military situations - either that it sounds totally awesome or that we’re basically writing a real-life script for the Terminator films - what BISim and CESI is either really impressive or a bit too on the nose.
Their combined software will allow US military leaders to set up multi-faceted virtual battles that feature AI-powered allies fighting against AI- or instructor-powered adversaries.
If you’re a science fiction buff, that sounds like the send-up to the part where HAL-9000 won’t open the pod bay doors for you or the Cylons decide that as fun as it’s been serving the humans all these years, slaughtering the entire species sounds even better.

However, the massive upside is that with everything being done in simulation, the odds of anyone getting seriously hurt, other than some carpal tunnel syndrome, drop off to basically zero. The ability to interact with troops all over the world also saves the US government a ton of money on travel, troop housing, and so forth.
It also lets soldiers repeat missions and situations as many times as need be without the price tag of setting them up time and again.
STE will use its One World Terrain (OWT) database to simulate pretty much any environment on earth.
Terrain can be custom created, made from standard templates, or made from real-life environments courtesy of the VBS Blue engine, which has whole-earth road networks, airports and urban areas scanned in.
That means whether you want to stage the opening battle of World War III in Moscow or the start of the zombie apocalypse in Houston, STE has you covered.
If Bohemia Interactive sounds familiar, it’s because the Czech Republic-based company also has a gaming side, which made the successful first-person ARMA series of games for Windows from 2006-2013. Talk about life imitating art.

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