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Synthetic Training Environment (STE) in the Marine Sector

Simulation software and tools offer opportunities for enhanced, efficient and cost-effective training techniques in the marine sector.

One example is that the Royal Navy is changing how it delivers its training, under the Defence Operational Training Capability (Maritime). A key element of this will be integrating maritime simulator training into its educational capabilities.

What does simulator-based maritime training involve, and what do Synthetic Training Environment (STE) look like?

What is Simulator-based Maritime Training?

Maritime simulator training is an effective way for seafarers to practice real-world skills, but in a safe, risk-free environment.

Simulation-based training actually involves a range of technologies and content.

What is key to its effectiveness are advanced simulation platforms and powerful marine simulator software.

In simulator-based training, the trainee becomes a first-person protagonist in immersive, virtual scenarios.

This creates a powerful, as-if quality, where the trainee learns operational skills and applies critical decision-making in different situations.

In maritime defence applications, Synthetic Training Environments can also include hostile forces, along with realistic environmental and weather conditions.

A shipboard weapons training simulator, for example, uses As well asa Synthetic Training Environments, to train the there are specific operations of the deck mounted guns as well as surveillance and targeting of threats. tasks and functions that simulation software can create, such as shipboard weapons training.

Other maritime simulation training exercises include search and rescue, maritime safety training and ship-to-shore operations.

Simulation training benefits both the trainee and the trainer. The trainee can learn iteratively, and they can afford to make mistakes with no risk to themselves, to others, or to equipment.

Also, the trainer can tailor exercises to fit specific needs, and add additional elements to the simulation when required. Simulation software also provides excellent metrics for measuring and benchmarking individual performance.

The Use of Simulator-based Maritime Training

Well-designed maritime simulator training can enhance learning, improve performance and reduce errors.

It can also improve the trainee’s assessment and perception of critical and dangerous situations.

Research suggests that simulator-based training can actually improve outcomes when compared to conventional, classroom-based training.

It may help to develop the trainee’s critical thinking and encourage collaboration.

These qualities are crucial in real-world situations that require incisive but rapid decision-making, such as in mission-critical naval scenarios.

Maritime simulators also enable trainees to face emergency situations which would be either impossible, dangerous or expensive to recreate physically.

This is important because, in the real world, there is no guarantee that every seafarer will face emergency situations in any given timeframe.

Therefore, simulation can provide a good level of training regardless of individual experience.

As we have already highlighted, the Royal Navy is incorporating more simulator-based training.

And the Solent University, in Southampton, has developed a large, new simulation training facility for its Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering.

How Will Advanced Simulation Impact Maritime Training?

The technology driving simulation is advancing just as the technology is driving real-world improvements in the maritime sector. There is therefore a convergence between maritime simulator training and maritime operations.

Simulation supports training in operating advanced ship management systems, for example. And advanced simulation is enabling a more collaborative approach to maritime training.

The MAK ONE suite, from MAK Technologies, provides a realistic synthetic environment enabling customers to interconnect existing simulators and augment them with boat, ship, submarine, ground vehicle, aircraft, and human character simulation. These simulations can be computer generated forces or first-person simulators for role-players or trainees. Each simulator interacts within a realistic 2D and 3D visual and sensor augmented environment connected together over a distributed simulation network. The MAK ONE product suite can create entire training networks, within which users interact in extensive exercises.

This versatility should enable the widespread adoption and incorporation of marine simulator training systems into maritime training programmes.

At the same time that it advances technologically, advanced simulation is also poised to become more accessible and affordable.

Simulation is already proving a cost-effective alternative to traditional classroom-based learning and training in the field.

What are Synthetic Training Environments?

Marine simulator software can create immersive, Synthetic Training Environments (STEs) that make the user feel like they are in the real-world equivalent. These can include:

  • Ship bridges
  • Engine rooms
  •  Ports and terminals.

These environments are built on a solid-understanding of the learning process, as well as recreating operational scenarios and settings realistically and vividly.

The Synthetic Training Environment becomes the immersive setting in which the trainee then engages with exercises and tasks.

How Do STEs Prepare Maritime Teams?

State-of-the-art naval vessels, capable of speeds above 60 knots, are subject to strict regulations governing their safe navigation.

Therefore, the challenge for anyone training to operate this type of vessel is how to engage with the basics safely.

A dedicated ship’s bridge simulator can expose a crew to realistic conditions without jeopardising their safety or breaching regulations.

Similarly, engine-room simulators include sophisticated control room operations and a wide spectrum of processes that the trainee can experience and become immersed in.

Live training is risky, and expensive. It can be highly time-consuming. Synthetic Training Environments remove the risk factor, are highly cost-effective, and they can reduce the amount of live training time a trainee will require.

There is also the fact that Synthetic Training Environment can be set up pretty much anywhere; they are not dependent on specific settings or locations.

How ST Engineering Antycip Supports Synthetic Maritime Simulator Training

ST Engineering Antycip provides innovative products and solutions to commercial and government organisation across diverse market segments and delivers specialist simulation training systems and Synthetic Training Environment to the maritime and ports sector in the UK and across Europe.

With our partner, MAK Technologies, we are helping to improve, enhance and refine the training capability of key organisations in the maritime sector.

For more information about maritime simulator training, please contact us.

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