Hybrid Live-Virtual Training Technology Boosts Development, Efficiency

Story Number: NNS200219-04Release Date: 2/19/2020 3:25:00 PM
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By Nathanael Miller, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport Public Affairs

KEYPORT, Washington (NNS) -- Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) technology can increase efficiency in training and accelerate development and experimentation while the Navy pursues advanced capabilities for the warfighter.

LVC Range Asset Integration is an initiative funded by the Naval Innovative Science and Technology (NISE) program that combines the real world with various computer-generated aspects, creating a unique environment for training Sailors or even testing new technology prior to the Navy making a decision to purchase it.

 “LVC is an acronym that stands for ‘live, virtual, and constructive," said Allen Couture, live range asset integration lead with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Keyport’s Pacific Detachment in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  "Each of those letters represents some aspect of a bigger system, in which case we get a blending together of live, virtual, and constructive things.”

Couture said it is important to understand the difference between the three parts of LVC because those very differences are what combine to make LVC a potential power tool.  Live assets, virtual tools, and constructive tools are all unique items that have the potential to significantly expand the Navy’s advantage without impacting the real-world use of ships and planes, speeding up the development and training process and ensuring a culture of affordability is maintained in the acquisition process.

“A live asset might be a ship at sea or plane in the skies or vehicles on range,” said Couture.  “When we speak of virtual, we’re talking about hardware in the loop or software in the loop type of simulator.  An aircraft simulator, where you have a pilot in a building sitting in a simulator doing training – that’s virtual. When we start to talk about constructive, we’re talking about stuff like video game engines or simulation engines where you have things inside the simulation environment that are responding independent of any people.”

This unique blend of the live and virtual worlds, where a human being has influence, and the constructive world, where the constructed object acts independently of a human, are what make LVC such a potent asset in its own right.

“We only have so many assets, so many ships and planes,” Couture said.  “If we want to train Sailors on a ship, we don’t need our Sailors to go all the way to the western Pacific to the ship if we can feed them information to make it look like they’re already there.  We can train them in an environment that’s way more complex than if they were on the ship.”

Essentially, Couture said this means a Sailor sitting in a simulator in the United States could be training for an upcoming mission using real-time information from a ship that is already on station while also interacting with constructive objects that add complexity and realism to the training scenario.

Creating a training scenario built from a blend of live data, simulator technology, and independently-acting virtual constructs, enables LVC to let Sailors practice for a variety of missions that can be altered to match emerging challenges in the real world in real time, all while not spending the money required to bring a ship or aircraft off a deployment early.

Dr. Aaron Darnton, NUWC Keyport’s chief technology officer, said the speed LVC can bring to development is one of its greatest features.

“LVC has the promise to speed development of capability while also saving the Navy millions of dollars,” said Darnton.  “Starting with constructive elements, we can better define the design space and efficacy of approach before committing to detailed design or procurement. Then, once the design space is established, we can progress through hardware- or human-in-the-loop simulations before finally completing a physical asset for live testing.”

Couture agreed that LVC is the right tool for this new process because the LVC technology allows creation of a virtual model of the environment and missions that a new piece of technology will be expected to face.  A sample of the technology can then be taken from the industry provider and plugged into the LVC system and thoroughly evaluated.

“We can go back to the vendor and say whether the item did perform,” Couture said.  “We can also say definitively if we did see shortcomings we’d like them to address, and work with them to get the item improved before we do the next level of LVC testing.”

Darnton said the Navy can provide better solutions faster by using LVC to test new equipment prior to investing in it.

“LVC offers the opportunity to get feedback from the warfighter before we begin procurement of material solutions because it allows us to inject synthetic and/or constructive elements into training and exercises based on performance models. This allows us to iteratively assess design trade-offs early in the development cycle.”

LVC is one of the ways NISE funding is helping NUWC Keyport and other Navy laboratories find means to accelerate development and increase the ability of Sailors to train in a realistic environment while continuing to expand the Navy’s advantage in overcoming tomorrow’s challenges today.

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For more news from Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, visit www.navy.mil/local/nuwcd/.

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