Coast Guard sights in on Army’s firearms simulator
Posted by PA3 Meredith Manning, Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Crewmembers from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, Alaska, had the opportunity to conduct training at the Army’s firearms simulator at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Although Coast Guard members participate in similar training upon joining the Coast Guard, most units solely use live-fire ranges to practice and qualify as marksmen. Petty Officer 3rd Class Jake Tyrrell, a Sector Anchorage firearms instructor, worked with Army members to arrange the training with hopes that it may be a valuable asset to Coast Guard units in the area.
“Using the simulator may create a more efficient training environment,” said Tyrrell. “As a coach, it gives me the ability to view the target while the member is still performing the course of fire. It makes it easier to make recommendations and corrections and allows the member to improve their skills.”
The laser-based simulator provides the marksman with an approximation of the weapon’s sound, weight and recoil. During the training, Sector members performed several courses of fire using M4 rifles and M2HB machine guns.
“While the Army does not use all of the same firearms as the Coast Guard,” said Tyrrell, “the simulator allows for training on four of our standard weapons.”
Being a qualified marksman requires countless hours of training and practice at the shooting range. Running one member through one course of fire uses 50 rounds of ammunition. On a yearly basis one unit may use thousands of rounds of ammunition on training. Using this technology will allow Coast Guard members to train without the excess use of ammunition, potentially saving the Coast Guard thousands of dollars.
“The cost efficiency of using the simulator allows members additional range time that would not be otherwise afforded,” said Ensign Travis Dopp, a boarding officer at Sector Anchorage. “This allows us to have an increased number of trained and qualified members at our units.”
While the simulator is geared toward soldiers and the scenarios they may encounter, there is a possibility of tailoring the simulators for Coast Guard use
“While many of the current programs are more applicable to land based units, there are many scenarios that either deal specifically with the maritime environment, or that can easily be translated to our domain,” said Dopp. “The ability to program custom courses of fire into the various systems is also possible. This would allow us to create courses that can assist inexperienced shooters in obtaining an initial qualification, or present highly dynamic and complex scenarios to our most competent shooters.”
Overall the use of the simulator provides an option for Coast Guard members to improve their marksmanship skills and experience virtual scenarios while reducing the use of ammunitions in training.