This article was frist published in Smart Soldier Issue 52.
I was fortunate enough to be trained on the Portable Weapon Training Simulation System (PWTSS) in the lead up to leaving for Papua New Guinea (PNG) as a part of Exercise WANTOK WARRIOR (Ex WW) 2018. The training was short; the benefits of being a PWTSS operator and the benefits to the contingent deployed far outweighed the couple of days taken by system training.
The PWTSS provided the members of Ex WW Mentoring and Training Team (MTT) a unique experience to conduct a wide variety of practical training simulations whilst overseas. The PWTSS was utilised every Wednesday night for regular training, and when spare time permitted. It provided a means to contribute to maintaining basic weapon proficiency alongside EF88 blank fire training.
The PWTSS provides much of the functionality of a fixed WTSS facility, with a reduced number of firers – one to four weapons can be used depending on the size of the facility available to set up in.
The flexibility to transport and establish the PWTSS within our camp was a clear advantage. For the contingent, there were many training benefits, including: conduct video and computer generated imagery scenarios, Close Quarter Battle (CQB) shoots, All Arms Call for Fire (AACFF) scenarios as well as the conduct of competition shoots.
Some soldiers had previously not been exposed to the variety of practices available. During scenarios, soldiers operated in pairs to tackle semi-realistic situations where they could test their accuracy in a variety of shooting positions; and rehearse communications and non-kinetic responses at varying ranges on a variety of targets. The standout favourite for the soldiers though was competition shoots. Soldiers were able to test their skills against each other and demonstrate speed and accuracy with the weapon, whilst employing Enhanced Combat Shooting techniques. The major benefit of the PWTSS over the static facility is the flexibility; not only in location, but it removes time pressures by being self-sufficient; having qualified PWTSS operators in the MTT contingent.
One of our 2nd Close Health Company specialists, PTE Britney Johnson, stated that the system was remarkable. ‘It allows people to be able to work on their shooting capability, even in environments where such a luxury would not usually be realistic.’
As with most developing technologies, there are some issues and constraints which the manufacturer is already addressing. The soon to be released Mobile WTSS system (the update to the PWTSS) will deliver high definition graphics, enhanced combat shooting scenarios and untethered ‘bluetooth style’ weapon systems. The combination of these improvements will transform the current platform into a world-leading, portable close combatant/battlefield shooting training system.
The PWTSS has proven a success in the field. The MTT Contingent would not have been able to undertake as much continuation training and weapons handling were it not for the PWTSS. The fact that it can be set up in a tent or a building is proof of the flexibility of the system. It can be used at any time; there is no need to rely on an external operator, no need for range bookings or ammunition. Simply set up and crack on – unlimited range practices, all you need is power.
About the author: Harrisen Gill is a former member of 1 RAR.