As the fleet decreases in size from 547 ships in 1990 to a projected 340 or fewer in 1999, the Navy will be called to do more with Jess. Fewer ships coupled with the requirement for swift short-notice crisis response means sailors
must be trained and ready. Submariners have always been advocates of training. The hostile environment under the sea has required all hands to be knowledgeable of the whole ship, and the smaller crew has required each person to be able to perform a wider range of skills. This focus on training is increasingly shared by the entire Navy. In the future austere fiscal environment, where new system purchases will likely be deferred, the focus of operational system readiness must move to the human side of the equation, to better training and education.
Information technology may well be the most important technology in the future for the Submarine Force. This technology will change the nature of Navy education and training over the next 5 to 15 years. Some future applications of information technology are the interactive computer based courseware using virtual environments, interactive electronic technical manual, and the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) program.
During 1993, the TRIDENT submarines were issued a training system which combines a computer with a video disc player that allows video and computer software to be integrated. TRIDENT courseware consists of 34 modules with 44 interactive lessons on 30 laser discs. Each lesson represents an individual subject area as defined by enlisted requirements for submarine qualification. The courseware has become a vital part of both junior officer training and the enlisted submarine qualification program.
Another program using computer technology is the Tomahawk Interactive Learning Center which teaches loading, handling, physical and operational characteristics, employment and mainte-nance of cruise missiles using full motion video to enhance understanding and sustain interest. Sailors have found the system easy to operate and the software provided to be educational and entertaining. Future advances in computer hardware and software will determine the sophistication of computer based training cmd tactical computer systems.
The SEA WOLF and the New Attack Submarine will benefit tremendously from advances in information technology. Training for SEA WOLF will not follow traditional lines of emphasis on formal school bouse trainingt largely due to the small number of ships to be built. There will be fewer formal courses; some subjects that would normally be covered inC School courses will be taught as on board trainingt either as videotapes, self study books or interactive courseware. SEAWOLF will not have a unique shore-based attack center nor any shore-based submarine piloting and navigation trainer.
Instead, a robust on board training capability is being built into the AN/BSY-2 combat control/acoustic sett and training capabili-ties will be embedded in the radar and other tactical equipment. The SEAWOLF training philosophy is that the shipt when properly supportedt presents the most effective training site for appropriate operational and functional training. This allows ships to train using their own equipment and system configurations. Watchstation training and ship’s qualifications will be enhanced by on board training packages. These training packages will prevent excess time and energy being spent in the preparation of lesson plans and training aids. This allows more effective training for new personnel and makes refresher training easier and more effective.
Shifting portions of maintenance training, especially preventive and perishable skill maintenance, to shipboard can be achieved through the use of Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETM). Advanced software is already available for hypermediat intelligent databases access and help systems. Training and maintenance will be merged into one median. USS AUGUSTA’s new Wide Aperture Array is being delivered with an IETM. The IETM can provide just in time training to the sailor. Integrated maintenance and training information is available to the operator at the push of a button. This application of information technolo-gy definitely has dual use in the civilian sector.
Virtual environments that allow the individual to feel a pan of the computer simulation will dramatically improve the realism of training. Work in the area of synthetic environments will lead to more interactive higher-fidelity simulation systems for training complex skills. This virtual reality approach has been evaluated by Newport News Shipbuilding Company and shown to signifi-cantly increase task knowledge and skills within a short timet especially for those with little or no previous experience. Virtual reality can be applied to hazardous work environments such as fire fighting or maintenance in a toxic environment to enhance training while minimizing the danger to the trainees.
The Advanced Technical Information System (ATIS) network is being installed on USS NEWPORT NEWS. The technical manuals have been digitized and placed on CO-ROMs. The CO-ROMs will be housed in a CD-ROM multichanger which is like a juke box. This system will hold up to 480 CO-ROMs which will be networked and accessed throughout the ship. The ATIS program is exploring the use of interactive training materials which will be used in conjunction with technical manuals. Besides reducing the storage requirement of these publications, it will allow the sailor to prepare paperless job packages with the needed training embedded in the work package.
President Clinton’s vision for the future includes an information superhighway. Video teleconferencing is an example of how the Navy can ride the superhighway. The CNO Video Teleconferen-cing system is being expanded to major command ships. Also, battle groups currently deploy with a PC-based conferencing system that employs interactive voice, video and data transfer. Vice Admiral Jerry 0 . Tuttle stated, “This system proved its value when USS SARATOGA was able to transit timely images directly to the Pentagon following the accidental firing of NATO Sea Sparrow missiles upon a Turkish ship.” In the future, submarines may be able to receive operational and training packages while deployed .
Another application which will use the information superhigh-way is the DIS mentioned earlier. The DIS program is developing synthetic environments and standard networking protocols for multi-unit air-land-sea battle training. The Navy has initiated two programs which will use this technology. This technology will allow ships, planes, and submarines the ability to fight simulated wars at sea or in-port. The Tactical Combat Training System, which is sponsored by NAVAIR will be used at sea; the in-port version is Battle Force Tactical Trainer, which is sponsored by NAVSEA 06.
The goal of both programs is to provide realistic training at the battle group, tactical group, and single platform levels. The most important benefit of these systems is that they will allow the sailors to train with their own equipment during exercises and then to replay and get instant feedback on their group and individual unit’s performance. Training realism will be enhanced by the mix of real and simulated platforms. The Submarine Force will be an integral player in both of these training systems.
The Submarine Force needs to leverage this technological infrastructure by maximizing the training potential for today’s sailor. The ability to successfully employ weapons is not only a technology issued but also is dependent upon our ability to use this technology. Today’s computer-based and video-based training systems already perform at least as well as conventional training methods. Using information technology, weapons training will truly be the force’s multiplier.