I-MILES replacement moves forward
During a recent webinar hosted by the US National Training Systems Association, the US Army revealed the status of its Instrumented – Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (I-MILES) replacement requirement.
I-MILES is a laser-based Tactical Engagement Simulation System (TESS) that is used for collective live training.
‘Current systems are too costly to maintain and nearing the end of their life,’ said Karen Saunders, Programme Executive Officer for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI). She added that ‘this has the potential to be a huge programme'.
Bearing mind that I-MILES and its forerunner, MILES, are in use with the US Army, USMC and scores of allies around the world, the programme could be worth billions of dollars over its lifetime.
Another issue is that ‘40% of the brigade’s fire power is not being simulated,’ explained Col Charles Lombardo, deputy commander of the US Army’s Combined Arms Center – Training at Fort Leavenworth.
Lombardo highlighted mortars, Mk 19 grenade launchers, close air support, artillery, counter-defilade weapons [such as Precision Grenadier] and the ability to shoot through walls as shortcomings in the current TESS system.
Matthew Clarke, director of the Soldier Effectiveness Directorate at the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, described possible solutions to the requirement. Following studies, the solution would probably feature a ‘weapon orientation module and an e-bullet module’, he said.
The former would provide weapon orientation data, with the latter generating the round’s trajectory and using machine learning to ‘recognise materials’ to determine the round’s penetration capabilities, Clarke added.
Maj Gen Melissa Gervais, the leader of the US Army Synthetic Training Environment (STE) Cross Functional Team, told webinar delegates that the I-MILES replacement programme has obtained 'priority funding', meaning that the programme ‘will be pulled to the left’ from its 2026 IOC.
FOC is currently scheduled for 2030.
‘Requirements documents are expected to be approved this month and we will use an Abbreviated Capability Development Document (A-CDD) to allow rapid prototyping to better define the requirement,’ said Gervais.
Saunders said that her organisation is planning two rounds of Other Transaction Authority (OTA) awards early in 2021 to fund industry to provide prototypes.
‘Full details will be provided during an industry day in January. Details will be provided at vI/ITSEC,’ she said.
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