Virtual training hub at Mayport supports east coast LCS crews

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. The U.S. Navy has installed several new virtual trainers to help instruct sailors in their homeport location while a formal training center is constructed on base as it works to support the growing group of littoral combat ship (LCS) crews being stationed on the U.S. east coast.

Two simulators and a virtual reality lab (VRL) recently opened in existing buildings at Mayport. Installation of these interim trainers was accomplished using seed money from the LCS Fleet Introduction and Sustainment Program Office (PMS 505), the LCS class in-service program management office within the Littoral Combat Ships Program Executive Office (PEO LCS).

The 18-seat VRL launched its first class in early August with the LCS Engineering Plant Technician (EPT) course, which trains the sailors with 626 individual lessons including those on ship familiarization, propulsion generation, common machinery maintenance, waterjets, and watch challenges. Seated in front of three-screen workstations, sailors wear headsets to communicate with their instructors as they control avatars to accomplish tasks and procedures just as they would on board an actual warship.

Within a refurbished area of the building where the VRL and bridge part task trainers are housed, construction is underway for an LCS Integrated Tactical Trainer (ITT), a full-scale simulation based on exact replicas of the Freedom variant bridge and bridge wings -- complete with .50 caliber trainers -- plus the ship's mission control center. The simulator is expected to be online beginning in June 2018. The ITT will be a permanent fixture in Mayport's existing building.