The US Navy will begin setting up its latest state-of-the-art Live Virtual Constructive (LVC) training system to “revolutionize” flight training for naval aviation.

This system, overseen by the US Naval Aviation Training System and Ranges and the F/A-18 and EA-18G program, aims to improve how the Navy trains maritime aviators with “significant positive impacts,” enhancing readiness and affordability.

According to NAVAIR News, the LVC uses a dynamic “Link Inject-to-Live (LITL)” approach that incorporates simulated training scenarios, including accurately replicating capabilities and characteristics of existing air-to-air and surface-to-air weapon systems.

LVC’s program manager Captain Kevin McGee also noted the impressive capabilities of the sophisticated training system both in “deployed and home station operations.”

The Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft will employ the new system. Consequently, the service hopes to save millions of dollars annually on training while maintaining the same, if not enhancing, the quality of shaping naval aviators’ readiness and combat skills.

NPS’ Modeling, Virtual Reality Center Reimagines Navy Training
Naval Postgraduate School students explore advanced simulation training in the MOVES Institute laboratory. Research focuses on integrating live, virtual, and constructive simulations. November 11, 2021 (Image source: DVIDS)

In addition to its sophisticated technology, the training system highlights its portability and capacity to offer cost-efficiency, reducing administrative burdens and travel costs associated with obtaining “Red Air” adversary support at detachment sites. It also eliminates fuel and maintenance expenses, resulting in significant cost savings for the Navy.

In naval aviation, we train like we fight, and [LITL] makes training more realistic and easier, so it’s a win all around,” naval aircraft deputy program manager Commander Sarah Abbott said, adding that the training system will be a game-changer.

It will particularly become useful as naval aviators can now tactically train onboard aircraft carriers at sea with possibly unlimited weapons, not limited by weather conditions, and efficiently serve as practical shooting targets.

The Future of Flight Training

For those unfamiliar with LVC training technology, it is a cutting-edge military educational environment that combines live training with computer-generated virtual and constructive environments.

Using this technology, aviators can interact with virtual entities and simulated scenarios and constructive simulations managed by computer-generated entities to create a comprehensive and immersive training environment.

It also provides a more realistic and cost-effective training experience, allowing trainees to develop their skills in various environments and scenarios that are usually difficult or impossible to replicate with traditional training methods.

Lockheed Martin ACES
For illustration purposes. Lockheed Martin uses LVC elements to enable warfighters to train for complex scenarios (Screengrab via YouTube)

This advanced training technology allows trainees to experience a more immersive and realistic instruction environment, which can translate into improved decision-making and critical thinking skills during actual combat scenarios.

Furthermore, the LVC training system significantly impacted the tactical training capabilities for land, sea, and air throughout its development. Not to mention the technology’s potential to reduce the environmental impact of training exercises, as it eliminates the need for live-fire activities that may harm natural habitats or wildlife, and thus makes it a more sustainable option for naval aviation training.

“The future use cases for LITL are really exciting,” said Chuck Terry, LVC and Strategy Department team lead, as quoted by NAVAIR News. “We are currently testing connections to other platform simulators that will facilitate integrated training that will accelerate air-to-air training.”

In the 1990s, the Defense Department introduced the training system concept to enhance training for American forces, leading to the inception of the LVC program.

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Since then, the technology has advanced rapidly, with computer graphics, networking, and software improvements, allowing for more sophisticated simulations and better training outcomes. It integrates simulations, including 1) Live training, with real people operating real systems; 2) Virtual reality, with real people operating simulated systems; and 3) Constructive environments, usually generated via a computer program.

Train Like You Fight

Last October, the Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) unit successfully conducted flights using the Tactical Combat Training System Increment II (TCTS II), which Collins Aerospace developed in the early 2020s.

TCTS II, along with the other existing sophisticated LVC training systems, seeks to promote the “train like you fight” mantra of military aviators, taking the next generation to the next level by breaking beyond the limitations set by traditional training methods, such as live-fire exercises and other expensive training scenarios.

Besides the US Navy, LVC technology has now spread across military services for various training applications, including aviation, ground combat, and maritime operations.

The LVC training system’s flexibility allows for training to occur in different environments, including military bases, training centers, and even aboard ships, depending on the needs of the Navy. But for this particular report, the service will incorporate the system onto its F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, allowing naval aviators to immerse in realistic training scenarios.

Several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and South Korea, have adopted LVC training technology in recent years for their military training programs. Other countries are also exploring the use of the sophisticated concept of the training system.

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