Technology to Train Soldiers in Controlling and Directing Firepower
In the most basic rule of battle, scoring devastating and decisive hits are the key to victory.
Training lead soldiers with the critical task of reporting enemy positions and calling for indirect fire support is now a military priority – just as important as marksmanship.
To that end, Fidelity Technologies Corp. of Reading, Pa. has been called upon to develop and manufacture The Call for Fire Trainer (CFFT), a state-of-the-art training simulator to help “forward observers” conduct calls for fire missions. These observers serve as scouts who call in coordinates of enemy locations for coordinating artillery, mortar, naval gun fire and bombing missions.
Like all advanced training simulators, CFFT is a software-intensive “plug and play” modular package of training realism, presenting with enhanced graphics, virtual sound and pluggable software.
The CFFT provides realistic training under a variety of battlefield conditions. Trainers can integrate geo-specific high resolution terrain databases, realistic moving and stationary models, simulated weapons effects, US Army software, and a combination of simulated and virtual military equipment. Soldiers can participate in scenarios that emulate real-life missions – including the enemy and friendly forces.
“The military first asked us in 1993 to develop important technology to support these forward observers on the battlefield,” explained J. David Gulati, president of Fidelity Technologies Corp. “Over time, we have revamped and updated the product to address the ever-evolving technology involved in warfare. We are proud to offer the CFFT, which will play a critical role in protecting our soldier in combat.”
The defense contract, issued through the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, & Instrumentation, calls for production to begin immediately, with the new systems delivered in the fall.
Fidelity will construct 24 portable CFFTs, with 12 stations. There will also be six portable systems, each capable of training four students.
In addition, Fidelity will update and retrofit a predecessor of the classroom version of the CFFT, known as a GUARDFIST II.
Under the contract, Fidelity will install systems at National Guard training centers throughout the United States.
Gulati noted this is the latest contract in an ongoing program to upgrade and replace the forward observer training simulators at all National Guard training centers. The upgrades, which began in 2004, will ultimately satisfy the needs of all National Guard units.
The system trains the soldier to use proper procedures and protocol to call in target coordinates in support of operations using artillery, mortars, naval gunfire, and close air support assets. The CFFT can be used for procedural, tactical, and strategic training in controlling and directing ground and air firepower.
“As a result of lessons learned in Iraq, the Army directed that every soldier receive basic training in call for fire mission procedures,” Gulati said. “The Call for Fire Trainer is comprehensive in its capability to support introductory task-based skills training, intermediate and refresher training, and complex mission planning.”
Fidelity was awarded its first military contract for this product in 1993 from the National Guard. At the time, the product was called a “Guard Unit Armory Device Full-Crew Interactive Simulation Trainer (GUARDFIST-II).
For the last several years, Fidelity worked closely with the U.S. Army and Army National Guard to optimize the GUARDFIST-II hardware and other components for development of the CFFT. GUARDFIST-II is now being used for training exercises in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea.