Beginning in 1999 the Marine Corps committed to making a significant investment in developing high-fidelity driving simulators to support the fielding of the MK-23 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement. The need for properly trained driver and vehicle maintainers was deemed critical for the operational readiness of this important vehicle; as such, the USMC embarked on a training system modernization program for its motor transport schools. This modernization included the design and development of new curriculum, training materials, and training devices that properly instruct MTVR operators and maintenance personnel.
FAAC was contracted to produce the MTVR Training System (TS) Operator Driver Simulator (ODS). In the development of the ODS, FAAC provided requirements analysis, system design, development, production and life cycle support. The MTVR ODS program includes 32 simulators located at Ft. Leonard Wood, 4 simulators at Camp Johnson NC, and 4 at III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa.
The MTVR operator training curriculum developed by FAAC enables students to learn proper operational techniques under all terrain, weather, road, and traffic conditions. Instructors use simulation as the primary instructional device to quantitatively evaluate student performance under controlled, repeatable scenarios. This, combined with the ability to create hazardous and potentially dangerous situations, without risk to man or material, results in a more thoroughly trained Marine operator than ever before.
The MTVR-TS ODS concept is centered on a pod of four Student Training Stations (STS) and a single controlling Instructor Operator Station (IOS). The STS, utilizing actual MTVR cabs, simulates the form, fit, and feel of the MTVR vehicle. Two versions of the MTVR ODS have been produced - one featuring a cab mounted on a six degree-of-freedom motion base with 180 degrees of visual displays and a second featuring the same cab with a three degree-of-freedom motion seat and 225 degrees of displayed scene. The displayed scenes are a realistically depicted virtual world simulating a variety of on-road and off-road conditions. Delivered driving worlds include:
• 128 square kilometer world featuring over 140 km of city, rural, and residential with varying terrain and road types.
• 4 square km off-road world with slopes up to 60% grade, swamps, river fordings, switchback roads, forested and open field areas.
• 6 square km Afghanistan-like desert world with dirt tracks traveling through flat desert, rocky outcroppings, and along mountain ridges
• 8 square km world representing European villages/towns, parts of which have been damaged creating urban rubble.
• "Right hand drive" world representing Okinawa, featuring selected roads built from coral which get extremely slippery when wet.
The IOS is the main simulation control point supporting the instructor's role in simulator training. The IOS initializes/configures the attached STSs, conducts training scenarios, digitally assesses student performance, maintains student records, and maintains scenarios and approved curriculum.
Since their fielding in 2002, the simulators received a major modification in 2007 that incorporated simulation training for the up-armored MTVR configuration. In 2009/2010, FAAC completed a comprehensive technology refresh/rehost of the 36 MTVR schoolhouse driving simulators in CONUS. The upgrade consisted of replacing all image generators, application computers and projectors with hardware in common with the USMC ODS systems recently fielded; this enabled the MTVR simulator software to be updated to the most recent FAAC USMC ODS baseline. This upgrade of MTVR simulators initially fielded nearly a decade ago, gives the Marine Corps a new lease on life for the systems which have been a major contributor in training Marine Motor Transport Operators. The technology refresh/rehost not only mitigated obsolescence issues associated with the use of commercial-off-the-shelf products, but also provided an economical route to increased performance of the simulators.