News | Oct. 3, 2022

Integrating the Live and Virtual Environments for Development and Training

By Lt. Cmdr. Colin “Honey Bear” Locke

“Train like you fight:” This mantra is becoming a reality as advanced technology ushers in training environments that merge live, virtual and constructive (LVC) capabilities to expand the scale and complexity of training conditions. LVC training environments connect live, in-person elements with manned virtual simulators and constructive computer-generated forces.

Recently, VX-23 conducted flights of the Tactical Combat Training System Increment II (TCTS II) in support of Advanced Naval Technology Experiment (ANTX) 2021, Large Force Exercise (LFE) 2021, and ANTX 2022; and the Secure LVC Advanced Training Environment (SLATE) system.

TCTS II is the Navy and Air Force’s next generation secure, LVC-enabling, air combat maneuvering instrumentation system that connects live aircraft LVC entities on the Navy Continuous Training Environment (NCTE). ANTX21 and LFE21 marked TCTS II’s first carriage on board a fleet aircraft and demonstrated the TCTS II’s connection of live aircraft to the NCTE, allowing those aircraft to receive constructive radar warning receiver threats generated from the NCTE. Participants included four live aircraft, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s Manned Flight Simulator emulating a virtual F/A-18F, and the USS Bainbridge (DDG 96). During the event, the live and virtual aircraft performed simulated air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons employments while receiving synthetic radar warning indications and real-time kill notifications from successful weapons engagements. In June 2022, ANTX22 built upon the ANTX21 event with link inject-to-live, fleet simulators at the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic and Airborne Command & Control and Logistics Wing, constructive threats from the Naval Aviation Distributed Training Center, and two live aircraft.

Earlier this year, VX-23 also conducted flight testing of SLATE. The Navy has used the system to identify and demonstrate technical specifications and standards needed to meet LVC requirements. SLATE connects airborne pods with other aircraft, virtual simulator and constructive entities, and injects them and their simulated weapon employments onto cockpit displays. The SLATE pod’s onboard LVC processor enables synthetic air and ground threats to appear as dynamic, realistic tracks to virtual and live aircraft sensors. Constructive entities can engage all scenario participants with representative weapon fly-outs modeled by the SLATE weapons server, and successful engagements result in a real-time kill notification for the targeted aircraft. VX-23 conducted eight flight events demonstrating SLATE’s technical maturation and refining core-enabling technologies to accelerate advanced LVC training capability to the fleet.

LVC capabilities have shown their effectiveness in expanding the scale and complexity of training options, the importance of which increases as the threat of potential near-peer conflict grows. Leveraging the work and lessons learned from the SLATE advanced technology demonstration accelerates TCTS II’s continued development and fielding of these critical LVC capabilities to the fleet.