Joint Fires and Effects Training System (JFETS)
JFETS is a suite of state-of-the-art immersive virtual reality environments designed to help soldiers make critical decisions under stress and provide collective team training and cultural awareness lessons. Tasks not only focus on the technical application of skills, but also on the thought processes involved in employing those skills.
By leveraging the ICT’s mixed reality technology, JFETS recreates life-like environments that place soldiers in real world settings. Stressors include heat, wind, explosions, human distress noise, and snipers. JFETS also provides added artificial intelligence behaviors to insurgent forces and realistic, reactive behaviors to civilians. Using JFETS, soldiers interact with both the physical and virtual worlds seamlessly without the costs associated with live exercises.
Installed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, JFETS has trained over 16,000 Soldiers since 2004 and is currently being used by members of United States Army and Marine Corps for training prior to deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. The success of JFETS serves as an example of the application of cutting edge virtual simulation technologies and research in a real-world training setting.
JFETS currently consists of three Digitally Interactive Virtual Environments (DIVEs):
- Open Terrain Module (OTM)
- Urban Terrain Module (UTM)
- Close Air Support Module (CASM)
The OTM and UTM are four-dimensional training environments that focus on the application of indirect fires in open and urban settings respectively. In the UTM, Soldiers are placed in an apartment and must observe the activity of a busy city. The UTM training space is configured to accommodate up to three virtual windows overlooking a virtual environment.
The CASM enables joint forward observers to hone proficiency in Close Air Support (CAS) in an immersive and cognitively challenging manner. This is achieved via an innovative display interface consisting of a 300-degree perimeter field-of-view (360-degree overhead), 11 channels of video, rear projection, and the achievement of depth of awareness through the inclusion of 16-channel audio. The CASM offers a dynamic training experience allowing soldiers to practice immediate and pre-planned CAS missions, issuing 9-line, 6-line, and 5-line CAS requests, and pilot interaction from beginning to end of a mission.
The JFETS IOTA project is providing a suite of tools will allow operators overseeing JFETS training to spend less time on routine tasks more on handling out-of-the-ordinary situations and maintaining the quality of the overall training.
In Government Fiscal Year 2007, the Joint Close Air Support Executive Steering Committee recommended the JFETS CAS simulation be certified as a training system that could replace CAS Type 1 and Type 2 controls for Joint Terminal Attack Controller currency.
JFETS training scenarios utilize the US Army developed One Semi-Automated Forces Testbed (OTB) as a simulation driver. In conjunction with the Intelligent Forces (IFOR) project, JFETS enhances the capabilities of OTB to augment the flexibility of the overall training system.
JFETS realizes the collective vision of the United States Army Field Artillery School, the United States Army Fires Center of Excellence, Fires Battle Lab, the Project Manager Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, and the ICT.
- To provide immersive and cognitively challenging training that replicate real world conditions.
- To hone trainee proficiency more effectively and efficiently than live training.
- To transfer the ICT’s mixed reality technologies and artificial intelligence capabilities into useable and useful training applications.
Facts and Figures
- JFETS was installed at Fort Sill in 2004.
- In 2007, the Joint Clos Air Support Executive Steering Committee recommended the JFETS CAS simulation be certified as a training system that could replace CAS Type 1 and Type 2 controls for Joint Terminal Attack Controller currency.
- Over 20,000 Soldiers trained since 2007.
- Successfully transitioned to the Army PEO STRI in 2008.