Photo: USASOC News Service / flckr
Urban combat is a way of life for Special Forces troops, and they need the kind of training facility that simulates the claustrophobic intensity of indoor battle.That’s where a new facility in Virginia Beach comes in, profiled recently by Kate Wiltrout at the Virginian Pilot.
A recently dedicated $11.5 million training compound the size of a supermarket is what the Navy hopes will meet the challenge.
The facility is massive.
The compound has 52 rooms and enough space that four squads can train independently. There are mock bathrooms, houses, a bank, a market, mosques and classrooms with each locale designed after a realistic situation. There’s even a torture chamber room.
All of the targets are mounted on tracks, and designed to activate and “sprint” across rooms, simulating the realistic behaviour of entrenched insurgents.
Here’s the kicker. They’re using live bullets.
The rooms, designed with “Hollywood” style styrofoam covering a layer of rubber and steel, are designed to catch bullets and stop ricochet. Every locale and prop is designed like this.
Entire missions can be observed from above, on a high-flying trail of catwalks where commanders and simulation coordinators can walk an observe.
The trajectory of each bullet can, apparently, also be tracked for more learning after the mission.
With the exits from Afghanistan and Iraq, this is a chance for the military to apply lessons learned over the course of a decade of urban warfare.
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