FORT BENNING, GA -- A new computer-generated training system called the EST 2000 will replace the Weaponeer, a marksmanship training aid that has been in commission for more than 30 years.
Fred Roberts, EST action officer, used Soldiers from the 58th Infantry Regiment who were having difficulty in several areas of basic rifle marksmanship, to demonstrate the system's ability to diagnose a Soldier's shooting problems. Roberts said nearly all the Soldiers showed excellent improvements within minutes of training with the EST 2000.
"After firing about six rounds, they immediately saw what their problems were and began to improve," Roberts said.
Maj. Gen. Charles Gorton, commander of the 84th Division (Institutional Training), an Army Reserve unit headquartered in Milwaukee, visited Fort Benning Nov. 24 to see the EST 2000 and said he was impressed with the system's capabilities.
"I've been familiar with the practice scenario system for a while, but this is a little more advanced than I had anticipated," Gorton said. "It will be a tremendous help to Reserve units learning basic warrior tasks."
Roberts said the EST 2000 shows the direction BRM is going.
"I went to basic training in 1973 and BRM hasn't changed since then," Roberts said. "We are trying to bring BRM into the 21st Century."
The Windows-based system is capable of immediately diagnosing a shooter's problems by showing the movements of the barrel two seconds before and after impact, making it easier for the instructor to give the Soldier guidance.
Once the Soldiers have mastered BRM, the EST 2000 can be used for squad tactics training.
"A squad leader can take his squad in there and train on those mental tasks they don't usually train on," Roberts said. He said a squad could literally go out on a road march and have an ambush scenario where they use the EST 2000 to see how Soldiers react. By using the EST 2000, the squad leader can choose from more than 50 scenarios, each lasting as long as necessary.
When a Soldier fires one of the 11 weapons programmed into the system, an air compressor hidden behind the scenes provides them with a recoil that simulates that particular weapon while a studio sound system creates realistic firing sounds and explosions, if applicable.
The instructor-operator station, which is the nerve center for the system, allows the instructor to choose from three modes: marksmanship, collective tasks and a shoot-don't-shoot scenario. The marksmanship and collective tasks modes operate on a computer-generated image program and focus on a variety of shooting skills. The shoot-don't-shoot mode was designed for military police and teaches the judgmental use of force through video-based scenarios.
This mode has a "branching" function that lets the instructor interact with the trainee. If the trainee is not reacting to a particular scenario properly, the instructor has the ability to change the situation and have the character on the simulator take advantage of the trainee's mistake, making the trainee a casualty.
The EST 2000 has already been deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait to help Soldiers hone their skills for combat, and it is beginning to spread throughout the Army.
Fort Benning is expected to have three more systems in use by 2005.