Largest U.S. Naval Base in Japan Unveils State-of-the-Art Sub-Tracking Simulator

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Sailors experience the new anti-submarine warfare training simulator at Naval Base Yokosuka, Japan on Friday, October 15, 2021 (Alex Wilson / Stars and Stripes)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – Sailors will be able to hone their submarine tracking skills in a virtual setting with the launch of a new simulator at U.S. 7th Fleet Headquarters.

The Center for Surface Combat Systems Yokosuka detachment cut the ribbon on its new anti-submarine warfare trainer at 10 a.m. on Friday. The facility includes a six-chair simulator that allows sailors to learn and improve their skills in tracking enemy ships.

The system also provides a more cost effective and expedited training method, according to Lt. Cmdr. Michael Arnold, head of the Yokosuka detachment. Training sailors at Yokosuka saves weeks and thousands of dollars compared to flights to another U.S. facility, he said.

“It brings advanced tactical training right to the waterfront,” he told Stars and Stripes on Friday. “The only comparable training you can do is on your own ship. “

Training in the new field can take a variety of formats: interactive 3D models, simulated “game” lessons, instructor-led exercises and the simulator itself. Officially called Virtual Operator Trainer, the system offers realistic interfaces that emulate the actual process of tracking a submarine.

Arnold said the trainer can also use data from actual encounters between ships and deployed submarines to mimic real-world scenarios for increased immersion.

“We can bring these tapes here and show the next ship that comes out that this is what to look for,” he said. “These are the frequencies and all that for this particular submarine; this is what you should be looking for.

Arnold said the six-seat setup is temporary and that he hopes to have a full 12-seat classroom completed by the end of the year.

He declined to comment on the overall cost of the project, but said the hardware and software for the full 12-seat suite cost around $ 350,000.

Captain Steven DeMoss, commanding officer of Naval Surface Group Western Pacific, cuts the ribbon on the new anti-submarine warfare trainer at Naval Base Yokosuka, Japan on Friday, October 15, 2021.
Captain Steven DeMoss, commanding officer of Naval Surface Group Western Pacific, cuts the ribbon on the new anti-submarine warfare trainer at Naval Base Yokosuka, Japan on Friday, October 15, 2021 (Alex Wilson / Stars and Stripes )

The simulator will also eventually be used to mimic the Aegis combat system on board Navy destroyers. An advantage of the simulator is that it can mimic the operating systems of different versions of anti-submarine and Aegis systems.

“All of these ships all have sonar systems, but they’re probably all different,” said Arnold. “There are different variations and versions of the software. Our trainer can train on these different variations, so this is an added advantage.

Training sailors on virtual systems has been shown to retain knowledge longer, develop stronger skills and graduate faster, according to a 2018 report from Naval Sea Systems Command.

The Yokosuka facility is the third to be operational of seven planned around the world, the first two being in Pearl Harbor and San Diego. Future sites include Naval Station Rota in Spain and Naval Station Mayport in Florida.

The remaining systems are expected to be installed by 2023, according to an April press release from the Center for Surface Combat Systems.

[email protected] Twitter: @AlexMNWilson

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