A U.S. Navy EA-18G aircraft assigned to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, takes off on Nov. 21, 2022.

A U.S. Navy EA-18G aircraft assigned to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, takes off on Nov. 21, 2022. U.S. Air Force / William R. Lewis

Navy Wants Simulators That Measure Learning, Not Just Reps

The service’s LVC leader says more sophisticated data-capture methods are on the way.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—Out: simulations that put sailors through a certain number of scenarios. In: sims that ensure they learn certain skills. 

That’s the vision for the U.S. Navy’s LVC—live-virtual-constructive—training, according to Rear Adm. Andrew Loiselle, who leads the Air Warfare Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

“What we're really trying to do with the entire architecture is move to a training-based system that takes us from an event-based system to a proficiency-based system,” said Loiselle, who is leading the implementation of the LVC component of the CNO’s 2022 Navigation Plan.

Such a system should be able to measure not just how many times an operator has practiced a certain scenario but also how well they are learning the necessary skills to do it well.

The goal is to “design a system that gives us the data capture and storage necessary to find individual operator performance on both the aircrew side and within our folks on ships as well,” Loiselle said. 

The Integrated Training Facility, or ITF, at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, has five Aegis Combat System consoles and several F/A-18 fighter jet simulators, and is now integrating a joint environment to incorporate F-35 fighter jet simulations, he said.

The goal is to have more realistic training simulations that can supplement hours spent flying or sailing with Collins Aerospace’s Tactical Combat Training System, Increment II to communicate with ground systems and send data back to the training facility. 

That data will show just what sailors did and when. 

“We can capture exactly what individuals did on their consoles, and then aggregate that so that we can get that whole picture for a debrief and then capture that performance at the individual aircrew level so that we can then mitigate deficiencies that we find, and then go back in and retest them in the aircraft again,” Loiselle said.

The Navy is also replacing the Battle Force Tactical Training consoles with advanced training domain for similar data capture.

“We have to figure out a way to train at a larger distance than we are today,” which means bringing command-and-control capabilities aboard aircraft carriers to be central nodes that will allow training to be almost continuous.   

“If I can't get this training aboard our ships, then I will continue to suffer this decay between major training events, and I will be less ready to respond because we don't control the timing and tempo of the fight,” he said of the drop in readiness sailors experience between training events. 

When asked about whether the division had enough resources to build out LVC to its liking, Loiselle said developing solid capability that operators want to use was more pressing. 

“Question is: can I build out the capability first, demonstrate the efficacy that the operators say, ‘This is the best thing, I've been waiting for this my entire career’? Once I demonstrate that capability, that then drives the needs statement from the fleet that says, ‘I need more of this,’” Loiselle told reporters.

The results should be fewer flying and sailing hours for training, which should save money that can fund more LVC upgrades. 

“It's kind of like a circle,” Loiselle said. “We are developing those capabilities. So [TCTS II] and the Integrated Training Facility, both IOC'd in Fallon this year.”

Then he said: “So now I'm gonna get my first air wings through that capability. I'm gonna get my first ship operators through the Aegis [Combat System] consoles in that facility. And then I start the bus. Now everybody's understanding what it is that we're doing and I build that network that says I need more.”

Plus, he’s got the backing of his boss.

“We're making significant investment in live-virtual-constructive [or LVC] training,” said Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, during a panel at the Sea Air Space conference Monday. “We are leveraging the technology from the gaming community in Orlando…That is the future. We found it to be highly effective. And we're going to continue on that path.”