NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona completed its training range support for Exercise Bold Alligator 2012 (BA12) Feb. 12, marking the first time instrumentation data was fused on a single display with modeling and simulation data by the Navy's Fleet Synthetic Training program.
The combined display delivered an unprecedented live, virtual and constructive (LVC) ground-truth picture to exercise control, allowing for a more robust mix of LVC exercise play.
The Corona-managed East Coast Tactical Training Range Complex (ECTTRC) provided real-time instrumentation systems for all live exercise participants, and the technological breakthrough came from a strong partnership between NSWC Corona and the Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) to help the Navy-Marine Corps team prepare for today's fight with today's forces.
Corona and NWDC merged real-time instrumentation data from the Navy's Large Area Tracking Range (LATR) system with synthetic data generated by the Navy and Marine Corps' two simulation models, Joint Semi-Automated Forces (JSAF) and Marine-Air Ground Task Force Tactical Warfighting Simulation (MTWAS).
As the Navy and Marine Corps exercise revitalized amphibious expeditionary capability with the largest Joint, multinational amphibious exercise in a decade - some 20,000 Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Allied troops, 25 Navy ships and participation from eight other nations - exercise leaders said the enhanced situational awareness allowed them to add new dimensions to the training.
"When we add the synthetic piece to the live piece, we can really stress the training audience," said NWDC Commander Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft. "In this case, the command and control audience - the Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and the ESG MEU-(Marine Expeditionary Unit) level - has to plan for, utilize and protect extended forces. So the synthetic plus up adds a huge piece to our training."
The merged FST and LATR data provided an integrated, comprehensive look of the total force disposition to battle staffs at multiple locations, both ashore and afloat.
Exercise Director Michael "Mort" White said that the combination of the LVC elements allows the maritime services to more accurately monitor the complex operational movements, more closely mimic a real-world environment and push the capabilities of the training audience, ultimately enhancing the warfighting might of the nation's amphibious force.
"The LATR picture provides me with a ground truth so that I can compare what the training audience thinks is out there versus what is really happening out there," White said. "It enables me as a training director to ensure that I'm putting together the right picture of what they need for their certification."
He noted the new LVC breakthrough builds upon performance assessment and range instrumentation expertise the warfare center already brings to the fleet and will help maximize training effectiveness for the future.
"In today's environment, with fiscal constraints, we have to make sure every training opportunity counts, and make sure we take every piece of data that we need," he said. "Corona's support for our training efforts is critical ... ensuring that we collect that data, manage it, and really use it for justification for what we're doing, showing the readiness and capability of the forces, and helping us improve down the road."
Corona's commanding officer Cmdr. Eric Ver Hage was pleased to see his group's behind-the-scenes efforts play out during the large-force exercise.
"I saw how focused our force training team was on providing the best value to our Navy, Marine Corps," Ver Hage said. "This level of 'total commitment' from our warfare center workforce to break new technical ground during Bold Alligator was impressive and motivating to witness."
As exercise planners analyze the many facets of BA12, a senior official at the Navy Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NCAMS) came away with a clear direction for the way ahead.
"The big lesson learned from Bold Alligator is that we need to work more with NSWC Corona," said Darrel Morben, director of modeling and simulation at NWDC, home of NCAMS. "The teamwork between NSWC Corona and NWDC and the training community at-large has been a tremendous success," he added.
NSWC Corona provides critical support to the fleet during live-training exercises by managing and engineering Navy and Marine Corps Tactical Training Range systems that provide combat realism, ground-truth tracking of air and surface platforms, electronic warfare/information operations, and communications for live-mission monitoring and debrief capabilities. Corona analysts provide fleet exercise reconstruction and quantitative and qualitative assessments in each of the various warfare areas during and post-exercise.
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