Synthetic Training Environment contracts to be awarded in summer

By Maximilian Kwiatkowski / February 6, 2019 at 4:54 PM

The Army plans to award contracts for two projects to develop new training simulators and associated tools a month earlier than previously announced.

Awards for the Common Synthetic Environment and Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainer will go out in late May and late June respectively, according to a notice from the Synthetic Training Environment cross-functional-team posted on Federal Business Opportunities Feb. 6.

The decision came after a Jan. 30 meeting between the service and industry.

"As the collective STE [CFT] continued working through the week, the CFT conducted a deeper dive into our previous industry engagements and requirements documentation which has allowed for greater shared understanding," Brian Serra, contracting officer for the CFT, said in the statement. "We identified an opportunity to further expedite our award schedules to mitigate risk of meeting the 2021 [initial operating capability] date and buy down the fiscal risk associated with late third [and] early fourth quarter award dates."

The two programs are part of the soldier lethality modernization priority the Army set out in 2017, with the goal of providing more realistic, portable and cost-effective trainers for close combat forces.

CSE is a combination of three things -- One World Terrain, Training Simulation Software and Training Management Tool. OWT is a virtual environment simulator, while the other two function as the training regimen and the tools needed to set up and assess exercises. As implied in the name, these three tools are to be used across the service's new trainers created through the CFT's efforts.

The collective trainer is divided into two parts, one for ground operations and one for air operations. Both trainers will be reconfigurable to simulate a number of vehicles employed by the Army and use technology such as augmented or virtual reality goggles and haptic vests or gloves, which simulate to the wearer touch and feel of objects seen in virtual reality.