The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) is taking a fresh, high-tech approach to training and concept of operations testing with its new virtual Combat Systems Center. The purpose of the activity is to evaluate virtual world technology for training, rapid prototyping, collaborative design activities, and war gaming. The system under development is a replicated “real world” submarine combat center where crews could be exercised remotely. New combat attack center designs and configurations can also be tested and evaluated before later stage construction activities. With the virtual Combat Systems Center, NUWC’s goal is to significantly reduce costs while increasing readiness and efficiency.
NUWC selected Qwaq Forums, secure virtual workplace technology, from Qwaq, Inc., as a candidate to provide a complete application collaboration environment that easily integrates all submarine combat center applications and data. The underlying technology of the virtual Combat Systems Center was demonstrated by NUWC last week at the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds Conference in Washington, D.C.
“The virtual Combat Systems Center has the potential to allow us to effectively train crew members around the world without having to transport them to our physical facilities,” said Steve Aguiar, Metaverse Exploration Project lead, at NUWC. “We now have the ability to replicate our submarine environments in high fidelity and provide virtual access to the applications and data the fleet requires. This means that our sailors and officers could always have access to all of the latest training and technical expertise no matter where they are located.”
Qwaq Forums was selected by NUWC because of its advanced application collaboration capabilities and the software’s ability to easily import 3D objects. With Qwaq Forums, crewmembers within the virtual Combat Systems Center can interact with applications and data just like they can when onboard an actual submarine, because the software is able to simultaneously run the applications that are available within a submarine combat center. NUWC will also test the reusability of its extensive set of mission training scenarios by using Qwaq Forums’ capability to easily integrate pre-existing live and simulated data sources. In addition, Qwaq Forums enabled NUWC to get up and running rapidly, because it was able to import and reuse existing 3D models of equipment and consoles, rather than having to re-create them.
“I am excited at the potential virtual worlds technology brings to changing the way we practice engineering,” said Douglas Maxwell, Metaverse Exploration Project technical lead at NUWC. “I see a viable future where ship designers, the Navy fleet, and scientists can meet in the same virtual space to collaboratively evaluate platform designs and enact changes in real time.”
“We are thrilled that Qwaq Forums is providing advanced training and testing technologies to the Navy,” said Greg Nuyens, CEO of Qwaq. “NUWC’s use of Qwaq Forums in its Combat Systems Center is another great example of how virtual application collaboration solutions can provide ‘real world’ training and testing that is efficient and cost-effective.”