Navy Looking to Increase Digital Training

By Allyson Versprille
The Navy has teamed up with Huntington Ingalls to explore the use of augmented reality to improve training and maintenance operations. 

In August 2015, Naval Air Systems Command’s naval air warfare center training systems division signed a cooperative research-and-development agreement with the shipbuilder. 

“This technology has really just exploded in the last couple of years,” said Navy Cmdr. Henry Phillips, military deputy for research and technology at the division. However, “there has been very little attention devoted to figuring out how and where this technology should be used to actually improve training.”

It could be used to teach a sailor how to operate a specific piece of equipment or identify different parts of a ship. Augmented reality displays could also help users learn in real-time to diagnose problems and make repairs, Phillips said. 

Jennifer Boykin, vice president of engineering and design at Newport News Shipbuilding, said the company asked itself if it could bring the same utility to sailors as it has been for shipbuilders using augmented reality. “Can I do for the Navy what I’m doing for the shipbuilder? Can I take paper drawings and three-inch binders and get that out of their workflow and give them something more intuitive and something digital to accomplish their work?” she asked.

Phillips said the cooperative agreement will allow the service and the shipbuilder to collaborate for up to three years. “It allows us to share resources with each other without necessarily having another contractual relationship,” he noted.

The NAVAIR division and Huntington Ingalls have both short-term and long-term goals for the agreement, Phillips said.

“In the short term Huntington is working with us to build a compelling demonstration we are going to be able to show on the floor at” the 2015 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, he said.

“In the longer term, agreements like this one will allow us to learn faster about what kinds of capabilities need to be built and to figure out where capabilities can be developed.”
That translates into a new capability or technology making it into the hands of the warfighter faster, Phillips said.

Topics: Simulation Modeling Wargaming and Training

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