The Army wants new, open-architecture simulators that teach soldiers how to properly operate construction equipment. (Army)
There’s earth to be moved, and the U.S. Army wants simulators to teach soldiers how to do it. On Aug. 20, the Army put out a solicitation for a Construction Equipment Virtual Trainer (CEVT) able to simulate multiple machines performing both basic and advanced maneuvers.
The result will be a $50 million to $80 million contract when the Request for Proposal is released by the first quarter of fiscal 2013, with the actual five-year contract awarded by the fourth quarter of that year, according to the Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI). The solicitation deadline is Sept. 28.
The CEVT will simulate five vehicles: the John Deere 240 hydraulic excavator, Caterpillar 120M grader, Caterpillar 924H wheel loader, Caterpillar D7R dozer and Caterpillar 621G scraper. There will also be three simulator types: a stationary simulator for training in start-up and vehicle maneuvers, a basic motion-based simulator and an enhanced motion-based simulator with a fully enclosed cab.
The Army stipulated that the trainer must simulate both standard and armored configurations of construction equipment and must be reconfigurable to different vehicles by one person within one hour. The contract will be for 592 trainers, 128 of which will be mobile versions clustered in four trainers apiece.
The new CEVT will replace stationary simulators that were fielded on an emergency basis at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in 2008, according to Kien Le, PEO STRI’s CEVT systems engineer. The new CEVT will teach multiple tasks involving construction vehicles, including leveling earth, excavating a trench, constructing a stockpile and loading a haul unit, all under various weather and visibility conditions. Instructors will be able to throw in malfunctioning equipment, pesky civilians or objects that get in the way, enemy forces and improvised explosive devices.
An instructor will control up to 12 simulators from his control station for individual training, and more for collective training. Besides the customary after-action review, PEO STRI wants an open architecture design for ease of modification and the ability to integrate with the Synthetic Environment Core (SE Core) terrain generator and the One Semi-Automated Forces (OneSAF) computer-generated forces simulation. The Army, like other branches of the military, is trying to save money and time by making sure multiple systems play nicely together.