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Lance Cpl. Jorge Brito uses the Augmented Immersive Team Trainer to locate virtual enemy tanks at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 13, 2016. The AITT is designed to be cost-effective by replacing actual training targets with virtual moving targets. Brito is a fire support Marine with 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Juan A. Soto-Delgado)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Juan A. Soto-Delgado

Call for fire! Marines go virtual!

16 Dec 2016 | Lance Cpl. Juan A. Soto-Delgado II Marine Expeditionary Force

Marines with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division had an opportunity to test out the Augmented Immersive Team Trainer gear at Camp Lejeune, N.C., December 13, 2016.

The live-fire test was a first for the AITT which allows Marines to change any location into a dynamic training ground by adding virtual indirect fire effects, aircraft, vehicles, and simulated enemies onto a real-world view of one's surroundings.

The process of creating virtual reality is complex and consists of 3-D mapping an environment followed by programing virtual images onto the 3-D map using a core processing unit, all of which can be done with the AITT which uses only a helmet-mounted display, battery pack and laptop.

“We’ve been incorporating the AITT into our training,” said Capt. Kevin Fitzsimmons, company commander of weapons Co “This is the first time in the fiscal year to come out here to work with forward observers and artillery, incorporating live-fire with simulated maneuver using the AITT.”

The AITT is designed by Lockheed Martin to cut training costs and create a virtual environment where Marines can train using real ammo on virtual targets.

Fitzsimmons said logistics and location can be an issue, but the AITT allows them to overcome these problems by augmenting a location to fit specific scenarios, in which Marines can train in an environment that best fits their needs. This technology gives Marines an idea on how close they can fire on an enemy, while giving friendly forces space to maneuver.

With only four prototypes in existence named MARS 1, 2, 3 and 4, the Marines Corps owns both MARS 1 and MARS 4.The Corps aims to train forward observers and artillery battalions by replacing the need for specialized ranges.

“The AITT is designed to train forward observers on Joint Terminal Attack Controller. Augmented reality enables forward observes and JTACs to train faster, cheaper and more efficiently,” said Richard Sehaffer a principal investigator for Lockheed Martin. “On a conventional live fire range you can’t reproduce a complex tactical situation with just tank hulks, stacks of tires and plate targets. The AITT’s augmented reality technology allow Marines to visually insert vehicles, aircraft and battlefield effects onto a live training range. It’s as close to a real battlefield as it gets.”

Currently the Office of Naval Research has four AITT systems and plans to conduct more tests in the future.

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