In the rapidly evolving world of military training, technology plays a pivotal role in preparing servicemen and women for real-world scenarios. ACME is at the forefront of this transformation, enhancing its Gunnery Training System (GTS) with cutting-edge Augmented Reality (AR) technology. This upgrade is set to redefine how crew-served machine gunners train, offering a blend of real-world interaction and virtual environments that dramatically improve training efficacy and realism.

The Limitations of Previous Systems

Traditionally, ACME’s GTS has provided a comprehensive training solution that includes audio and video feeds, responsive virtual targets, and high-fidelity replica weapons. This system was designed to support a variety of weapon types and could be configured for different scenarios like helicopter gunnery, ship deck operations, or armored vehicle engagements. Direct view displays using short throw projectors on wide screens met our design goal for a small footprint GTS and enabled gunners to engage targets effectively. However, this setup had limitations, particularly with the field of view, which confined trainees’ situational awareness to what was directly in front of them.

Image of M240 Gunnery Training System from ACME

Augmented Reality: Bridging the Gap

The transition to Virtual Reality (VR) offered a potential solution by enabling a 360-degree view of the battlefield, but it lacked critical aspects of physical interaction. VR systems typically do not allow users to see their own hands or the weapon they are operating unless these elements are specifically modeled in the simulation. This disconnect can hinder the training experience, as visual and physical feedback are crucial for realistic training. AR technology, by contrast, utilizes the best of both technologies. It allows for the visibility of real-world items, such as the operator’s hands and the actual weapon, within the simulated environment. This capability is vital for immersive training because it enables trainees to gauge distances and understand their spatial orientation, enhancing their interaction with the virtual world while maintaining a tangible connection to real-world elements.

Integrative and Realistic Mission Training

ACME’s upgraded GTS with AR functionality offers significant improvements over traditional and VR systems. By overlaying virtual elements onto the real environment, AR provides a more comprehensive training experience. Trainees can interact with both the high-fidelity weapon replicas and the virtual environment seamlessly. This integration between virtual and real worlds improves training effectiveness. With its DIS compatibility enabling GTS to link to cockpit simulators and new AR visuals for gunners, the GTS is a full-crew coordination trainer. Pilots and gunners share the same expansive virtual world and train together on actual in-flight operations and tactics. The new AR system is not just a technological leap but a strategic enhancement to military preparedness. ACME plans to showcase this revolutionary system at upcoming trade shows, inviting defense personnel and industry stakeholders to experience firsthand the difference realistic interfaces and replicas make in virtual training scenarios. We’re excited to share the new GTS capability with you soon. Come try it at ACME or check it out at upcoming tradeshows.