How would the sound and feel of firing a real weapon impact training in an already overwhelming scenario? This is the question addressed at the Street Smarts Virtual Reality Training system field update.
A recent software update allows for simultaneous tandem users, and the new training M4 rifle now includes a gas-powered bolt carrier recoil system, satisfying California standards for sustainment-level training with simulators.
“This system aids in the development of the “multi-capable Airman concept, “said Tech. Sgt. Fernando Herrera, 195th Wing Security Forces manager. “Leading to greater confidence of the wing leadership in the selection, training and deployment of our Tier II forces.”
The 195th Wing Security Forces Flight is based at Sepulveda Air National Guard Station in Van Nuys, California. They received SSVR in September 2021 and installed substantial updates in October. Since then, the unit has been successful in several trainings, with positive student reviews.
It is now a proven training multiplier, allowing for better familiarization and sustainment level training for SF but, more importantly, the bulk of the 195th Wing being non-ground combat forces. The major difference with this and previous training systems is how realistic it feels. The participant can feel more weight and realism in a fully equipped vest with a practice rifle with the exact specifications of a real rifle, significantly improving the training experience.
“Having a gas recoil system does several things regarding gun-fighting scenarios,” said Herrera. “When the weapon fires a simulated shot, it will demand that the operator follow marksmanship fundamentals. They will have to regain proper sight alignment and sight picture. Further, the operator’s skills will be put to the test in rapid magazine reloading as well as searching and assessing techniques for additional threats.”
Herrera said the highly mobile, user-friendly system alleviates limiting factors such as large training areas, weather, ground injuries, time, transportation costs and unit funds.
“Due to the way the 195th Wing has utilized virtual reality systems in training their personnel, outside of Security Forces, and outside of the system’s originally intended demographic, we have been specifically tapped to utilize the new version of the M4 weapon simulator,” he said.