The Marine Corps will begin fielding its new high-tech Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainers in June.
Photo Credit: SYSCOM
"Something we've never had before is the ability in simulation to say 'ok, we're going to train for a first light of dawn engagement, and this is what the illumination is going to look like," Yates said. "The new ISMT will accurately reflect the illumination and the shadows that you would have on that specific piece of ground."
The Corps' new Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainers can be adjusted to mimic certain times of day or night.
Photo Credit: SYSCOM
The new ISMT's core feature, however, is something Marines have been doing for generations: honing the basic fundamentals of marksmanship.
"We use [the ISMT] mainly for remediating shooters who have an issue," he said. "If we feel they're struggling a little bit or they're just not reaching the curve, we'll bring them in and give them more one-on-one instruction. It's probably our biggest tool for that."
Harris said he's eager to use the newest iteration of the ISMT. Its immersive high-fidelity sound and visuals will help close the gap between the inherent limitations of an indoor simulation and the real thing, he said.
"The more realistic we can make a training environment, the better it will prepare Marines for actual situations," Harris said. "The better the technology, the better the training."
"Enabled by technology, we will increase the amount of training each unit can accomplish — to 'increase the reps' in mentally and physically stressing environment for all elements of the [Marine air-ground task force] before they do so on the battlefield," he said.
In the FRAGO, Neller expanded on Dunford's specific guidance on using simulators.
The shift towards tech-savvy simulators comes as the Marine Corps faces the end of its years-long drawdown and significant budget constraints, even as the service takes on expanded mission sets around the world. This means that when a Marine steps up to the live fire line, there is a greater need for him or her to have as fine a handle on marksmanship as possible before rounds, sweat and wear and tear on vehicles and weapons are expended.
They should be ready to learn at a "graduate level," already having a high degree of mastery over marksmanship fundamentals, Yates said.
"Simulations are very effective and inexpensive to acquire that level of skill," he said. "That's the role of simulation-based training: to prepare you for live training."
Members of Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines assemble a .50-caliber machine gun during a gear inspection at sea. Marines will soon be able to use Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainers at sea.
Photo Credit: Sgt. Austin Long/Marine Corps
ISMTs are currently aboard seven out of the 10 current San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships, and expanded funding is in the pipelines to outfit 50 additional U.S. embassies with the new system, according to Bill Fondriest, former ISMT project manager for SYSCOM.
The systems are meant to supplement live fire training, not replace it, he said.
"As long as live fire ranges are available, Marines can and should train with live fire," Fondriest said. "But the question becomes 'what do you do when either budget or physical constraints restrict live fire?' You either train using simulation or you don't train at all, and that's the gap ISMT tries to close."
"We estimate that once we start delivery, we could effectively retrofit the entire fleet between 14 and 16 months," he said.
The 'indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity' contract with Meggitt Training Systems, Inc. currently calls for a total delivery of 670 systems worldwide.