Metal BatFeb 14, '21

If it’s your first time to hear about “Synthetic Training” the more you will hear about it as the U.S. Marines begin to embrace fully this concept which they first started dipping their toes in over three years ago.  The Marine Corps Synthetic Training Environment or MCSTE is comprised of the live, virtual, and constructive capabilities (LVC) for training the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) and they plan to award a contract for this in March 2021.

Col. Luis “Lou” Lara, program manager for training systems at Marine Corps Systems Command, said his that they are reorganizing their office to include a synthetic training systems team. He said the system is an integration of force-on-force instrumentation that includes command-and-control and weapon systems combined with modernized live-fire ranges and training areas.
“It will significantly expand our ability to train to standard against continuously evolving enemy threat capabilities,” he said during the Virtual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, which was hosted by the National Training and Simulation Association, an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association.

The synthetic training systems team is working on LVC technologies that combine real-world exercises, virtual reality and computer-generated entities into one environment.

One part of the system is the upgrading of the indoor simulated marksmanship trainer which is presently the ISMT III, is a five-lane 3D simulation system that was first introduced in 2017. This system was designed for the improvement of live-fire performance as well as increase combat readiness.

A further explanation of Synthetic Training, which the U.S. Army is also developing, can be read below:


The MCSTE comprises the live, virtual, and constructive capabilities for training the MAGTF. Marines practice the tasks, conditions, and standards specified in the training and readiness manuals for their occupational specialties using virtual environments, simulated weapon systems and actual weapon systems. The MCSTE supports home-station training, service-level training events, and training while deployed.

Constructive training models such as the MAGTF Tactical Warfare Simulation (MTWS) represent friendly, enemy, neutral, and other actors that would otherwise need to be played by hundreds or thousands of human actors and trainees. These models allow Marine units and staffs to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures for coordinating the broad range of Marine, naval, and joint capabilities they must be ready to employ in combat. Constructive training systems stimulate command and control systems, so the system operators, battle staff, and commanders can train under conditions similar to those of a deployed MAGTF or Joint Force. The Marine Corps has integrated MTWS into the Joint live virtual and constructive training environment, allowing Marine staffs to participate in joint exercises and combatant commander staffs to incorporate Marine formations into their training events.

The Marine Corps will improve the interoperability of its training systems and operational systems through the Live, Virtual, and Constructive Training Environment (LVC-TE) Program. Using network enabled training systems, units from different elements of the MAGTF at different geographic locations will be able to train together as if collocated in the same environment. An enterprise architecture and common software tools for the planning, preparation, control and evaluation of distributed training events will reduce the time required to set up and conduct exercises. The Marine Corps will continuously evaluate the quality of its training capabilities through processes such as verification, validation, and accreditation—which determine whether a system can meet its training objectives as built—and simulations effectiveness processes, which provide user feedback to the requirements and acquisition communities.

Virtual and constructive training capabilities provide more repetitions for certain tasks than live training, and they allow training in conditions that would not be safe or feasible on live ranges. However, live training is the essential test of readiness. Virtual training, when used as a precursor to live training, enhances its benefits. The LVC-TE will support more repetitions and more integrated training, which will result in a more agile and lethal MAGTF.

Currently, the LVC-TE is conducting an analysis of alternatives in order to evaluate different potential technical approaches to providing an integrated training capability. Once this analysis is complete, the program is expected to move forward into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase.


Photo: US Marines using the ISMT III training range aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia in 2017 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo)