Simulator helps prep soldiers for IED attacks

Posted by Shane McGlaun

One of the greatest threats US soldiers face in modern combat zones is the IED, or improvised explosive device. 

These improvised explosives can destroy vehicles and kill or gravely wound the soldiers inside. The problem for military personnel is that IEDs are often very difficult to spot while on patrol. Plus, warfighters may be unprepared for the inevitable sensory overload incurred by an IED attack.

Simulator helps prep soldiers for IED attack   

As such, a new simulator is being used to help train military personnel on how to deal with IEDs in the field.

The simulator is designed to allow soldiers to preview what the explosion of an IED near their vehicle would look and feel like - which could help them continue to operate after an attack, despite being in shock. 

The simulator features an armored vehicle on a free moving system of pistons. HD video is projected onto a curved surface that surrounds the vehicle, which moves realistically and simulates terrain the driver might navigate in real life. 

The simulator also has sound and percussion elements that activate with the on-screen explosion - such as smoke - which provides military personnel with a taste of what would be encountered in a real IED attack.

Of course, simulated IED attacks are not all the device is used for, as the system also trains soldiers for mobility kills, medical evacuations, and other warfighting tasks. 

"It [the simulator] was designed because there was nothing out there to safely simulate an IED blast for soldiers," Michael Laughead, observer/controller with R.L. Leaders, the company responsible for building the simulator, told the US Army website.
"There's a lot being trained here, and the training device itself is really awe-inspiring to soldiers, because they've never seen anything like it. It gets them excited to train, and that makes it so much easier to get them the information they need so they can be successful in combat."

Spc. Darren J. Ganier-Slotterbeck, a civil affairs specialist for PRT Kapisa, concurred.

"I deployed in 2005, 2007 and 2008 with the Marines. I've been blown up multiple times and it definitely brought back memories. I was a little shaky when I got out of that thing. I'm not going to lie.

"If we'd had the ability to go through training like this at the time, those deployments would have been a lot different," he added.