The Army is readying to award development contracts in June for its new networked training capability, the Synthetic Training Environment (STE), as officials look to deliver an initial system in fiscal year 2021 and field a final capability in FY ’23.
Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, director of the STE Cross Functional Team, told reporters on Wednesday the Army recently completed user assessments with potential air and ground simulators and is currently gathering soldier feedback on the system’s software, One World Terrain, while officials look to make use of Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements to continue refining requirements.
“I am very confident and comfortable that our efforts to date are going to keep us on track to meet an initial operational capability in the fourth quarter of FY ’21,” Gervais said.
Gervais said the Initial Operational Capability goal for STE is to deliver a battalion set of air and ground platforms run on the Common Synthetic Environment (CSE) tool required to bring together simulators and training software.
STE will begin with capabilities at up to five installations, and then expand over the next two years to reach Full Operational Capability at all locations where the system is required, according to Gervais.
Next month, the Army is set award OTA’s for CSE as well as the Air and Ground Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainers, which will replace legacy training systems.
Officials previously accelerated the timeline for the upcoming OTAs by a month to ensure the program reaches it FY ’21 goal for IOC (Defense Daily, Feb. 5).
The system’s One World Terrain Software (OWT) is currently being tested by soldiers in Orlando as the CFT looks to refine the tool’s requirements for mission planning and line of sight analysis.
“It’s actually helping them in the execution of their missions. They’re using it and giving us feedback, so as we’re evaluating our follow-on efforts, for One World Terrain, we can figure out where are areas that we have to improve it,” Gervais said. “[Since last year], we’ve improved the processing. We’ve improved the collection and level of fidelity.”
Gervais said the National Training Center, three Army divisions, as well as 24 Marine battalions, have all used OWT since awarding the original OTA to Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) in February 2018.
In April, the Army concluded user assessments for potential air simulation platforms at Ft. Carson in Colorado and the ground simulator at Ft. Riley in Kansas.
Col. Marcus Varnadore, project manager for the STE CFT, said OTAs have allowed the team to more rapidly look at industry’s technology offerings and bring in capabilities for users to test and inform final requirements.
“The existing OTAs have allowed to us to get a quick look from industry on where they were with the capabilities of One World Terrain, training management tools, software, as well as our air and ground reconfigurable virtual collection trainers,” Varnadore said.
Kevin Hellman, capability developer for the CFT, said once STE is fully fielded it will cover the entire range of warfighting functions from mission command and fires through logistics and intelligence.
“The One World Terrain allows us to go anywhere in the world and conduct that training,” Hellman said. “By being able to do that through the software, the user really get the full scope that we haven’t really done well in the past.”