Collective simulation essential for pilot leadership training.
tr.v. en·sconced, en·sconc·ing, en·sconc·es
1. To settle (oneself) securely or comfortably: She ensconced herself in an armchair.
2. in dark, quiet trailers, Army pilots armed with virtual reality helmets are in the middle of an air assault mission. The command cell, meanwhile, conies alive with the hectic radio transmissions of an operation gone out of kilter kil·ter
Good condition; proper form: "policy 'adjustments' designed to bring the . . . country's economy back into kilter with the Western economic system" Edward Zuckerman. . A Black Hawk Black Hawk
(born 1767, Sauk Sautenuk, Va.—died Oct. 3, 1838, village on the Des Moines River, Iowa, U.S.) Sauk Indian leader. Long antagonistic to whites, Black Hawk was driven into Iowa from Illinois in 1831. explodes in mid-air.
What the pilots don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. is that the helicopter failure was a well-planned exercise by instructors to test their decision-making and communications skills, which are essential for these captains readying for company command positions.
To prepare these young aviators Well-known aviators
People largely known for their contributions to the history of aviation
While all of these people were pilots (and some still are), many are also noted for contributions in areas such as aircraft design and manufacturing, navigation or for their leadership roles, the U.S. Army's aviation school, at Fort Rucker Fort Rucker is a U.S. Army post located mostly in Dale County, Alabama. It was named for Confederate General Edmund Rucker. The post is the primary flight training base for Army Aviation and is home to the United States Army Aviation Warfighting Center (USAAWC) and the United , Ala., is using the Aviation Combined Arms Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects.
Though the lower-echelon units of a combined arms team may be of homogeneous types, a balanced mixture of such units are combined into an Tactical Trainer-Aviation reconfigurable manned simulator at its full capacity. AVCATT-A is produced by Link Simulation & Training.
Until last year, when AVCATT-A was first delivered, the Army had no other collective trainer, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. service officials. Now, the Army is planning to buy 23 more systems and will send them to bases across the country, said Col. Lee LeBlanc, head of the directorate of simulations at Fort Rucker.
With the frantic operational tempo in Afghanistan and Iraq--that potentially could leave no Army pilots without combat experience--simulation is allowing aviators to rehearse missions and adjust to changing tactics, techniques and procedures, said LeBlanc.
About 600 aviators a month train in the AVCATT-A suite at Fort Rucker. This includes everyone from novice warrant officers to colonels, said Link's Jack Pennington Jack Pennington (born September 3, 1953), is a former NASCAR driver from Augusta, Georgia.
He was an ace in late model dirt track racing before he moved up to the Busch Series in 1989 making six starts, finishing with 2 top tens. , who runs the technical control for the two training suites at Rucker.
The AVCATT-A, which is contained in two transportable trailers, allows up to six crews to train together on a virtual-reality battlefield. The simulator can reconfigure the AH-64A AH-64A Apache Attack Helicopter, A Version Apache (the AH-64D AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopter, D version, with Longbow radar improvements Longbow longbow
Leading missile weapon of the English from the 14th century into the 16th century. Probably of Welsh origin, it was usually 6 ft (2 m) tall and shot arrows more than a yard long. module is scheduled to arrive in coming months), OH-58D OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Reconnaissance Helicopter (also AHIP) Kiowa Warrior, UH-60 Black Hawk For other uses of Blackhawk/Black Hawk, see Black Hawk.
The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a medium-lift utility or assault helicopter derived from the twin-turboshaft engine, single rotor Sikorsky S-70. and CH-47D Chinook--basically, the Army's attack, reconnaissance and utility helicopters. Commanders can mix and match rotary wing platforms.
The training suite also has a battle master control room and an after-action review theater. The battle master can see and hear everything taking place on the battlefield by viewing displays that provide either situational awareness Situation awareness or situational awareness  (SA) is the mental representation and understanding of objects, events, people, system states, interactions, environmental conditions, and other situation-specific factors affecting human performance in , a "God's-eye-view" of the combat area from any perspective or a sensor panel that simulates a helicopter's weapons sight.
Workstations in the battle control room enable other soldiers to serve in ground maneuver, fire support, close air support, logistics, battle command or as engineers. These players mesh into the simulation through the Army's semi-automated forces, which are computer-generated entities, both friendly and enemy.
When a mission is completed, the recorded data and video are transferred to the after-action review theater where the operations controller conducts a mission debrief de·brief
tr.v. de·briefed, de·brief·ing, de·briefs
1. To question to obtain knowledge or intelligence gathered especially on a military mission.
2. with the aircrews to evaluate the unit's performance and determine which skills or tactics need to be further honed.
During the training exercise, pilots usually are assigned to fly helicopters other than the ones in which they qualified to learn a variety of missions. For example, a certified Apache Longbow pilot gets to be part of a Black Hawk crew.
"It does not matter what helicopter you fly," said Maj. Robert Peden, division chief for training aids Any item developed or procured with the primary intent that it shall assist in training and the process of learning. and devices simulation systems at Fort Rucker. "Everybody has to go through the planning cycle of what it takes to do an air assault, a deep attack, a heavy lift mission or route reconnaissance."
Therefore, the pilots have to cross-train for all those tactics, he added. "If I am assigned somewhere [as company commander], they do not care if I am an AH-64 pilot," he said. "If they want somebody in air assault, I have to be able to talk about it and plan it."
By planning and executing their missions in the AVCATT-A, pilots will know more about what it takes other units to operate on the battlefield, said Pennington, a former Army pilot.
"They may be serving in a staff position in a task force," and, thus, they need to be familiar with the missions of each Army helicopter, he said.
Because AVCATT-A is a collective trainer, cockpit fidelity is secondary to executing a mission.
"It does not perfectly replicate flying the aircraft, but it replicates it enough so that you can execute the engagements with other aircraft," Capt. Michael Olson, a trained Medevac pilot, said at the end of his exercise. Ultimately, AVCATT-A gives captains a chance to practice the skills that they need as company commanders in a controlled environment, where they do not take up live training time, said Capt. Matthew Boal, an instructor and a small-group leader at the captains career course.
"What we get most out of it is the communications aspect," Olson told National Defense. "It is something that you would not get otherwise, unless you are executing a real mission."
Olson flew a Black Hawk during the exercise, which is the same system he flies as a Medevac pilot. His co-pilot was a qualified Apache aviator, he said. Olson acted as the flight lead for the exercise.
"I had a taste about what my flight leads do out there, all the different people they talk to, the navigation, and trying to keep the situation and the flight together," he said. "By practicing our radio calls, it will help improve our brevity. By saturating us with multiple tasks, hopefully, we would be able to get a better picture and see what we need to do to help synchronize all the other elements that are flying around."
The person who gets most out of the exercise, however, is the one simulating the role of a company commander, who learns how to control the aircraft formations, talk to higher headquarters and the ground elements, and execute suppression of enemy air defenses That activity which neutralizes, destroys, or temporarily degrades surface-based enemy air defenses by destructive and/or disruptive means. Also called SEAD. See also electromagnetic spectrum; electronic warfare. , said Olson.
Students spend the day before the simulation session planning their air assault mission, said Boal. Then, an exercise tests how well their plan holds together. "They now have to see if it is a good plan when we throw curveballs at them," he said in an interview. "When we throw variables at them, it is a good tool for them to understand how to solve a problem."
Toward the end of the mission observed by National Defense, controllers induced a failure for the last aircraft in the formation. "They had to identify that there is a missing aircraft," said Boal. "It took them some time. They planned how to recover downed aircraft and aviators, but then they had to execute it in different conditions than they had planned."
If they make bad decisions, pilots have the option to go back to the cockpit and backtrack, he said. "For my students, the real focus is decision-making and command and control," Boal said.
Meanwhile, as more Army bases start receiving their AVCATT-A suites and more pilots go through the training, the service has to start thinking about institutionalizing these simulated exercises. "There is nothing in doctrine or anywhere else that says that units at Fort Campbell, for example, must use the AVCATT-A," said Peden. "We have those kinds of documents for the individual crew trainers, based on flight requirements."
Part of the Army's plan is to integrate the AVCATT-A with the Collective Combined Tactical Trainer, which land forces use for brigade size exercises. That is scheduled to happen in August 2005, but the two simulators have successfully been integrated at Fort Stewart, Ga., during the summer, said Pennington. Apart from Fort Rucker and Fort Stewart, the AVCATT-A currently is at Army bases in Korea and Germany; McEntire Air National Guard Base, in Eastover, S.C., and Fort Campbell, Ky. According to Army documents, AVCATT-A, next year and beyond, will go to a series of other installations to include Fort Hood and Fort Sam Houston Fort Sam Houston, U.S. army base, 3,300 acres (1,335 hectares), S Tex., in San Antonio; headquarters of the Fifth Army. San Antonio, long a military center, donated land in 1870 for the site of a permanent military post that was constructed from 1876 to 1890 and , Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Smyrna, Tenn.; Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort Lewis, Wash.