The US Army Operational Test Command (OTC) has conducted field trials of the new One Tactical Engagement Simulation System (OneTESS) at a training centre in Fort Drum, New York, US.
Testing was conducted in August to obtain operational feedback; it was attended by soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team's 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment and 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment.
Operational Test Command tester Neil Jorgenson said the aim was to ensure the system was durable, suitable and survivable for use, and also make the soldiers understand its operating procedures.
"We are giving a lot of information to the programme manager to make sure this piece of equipment is going to work right," Jorgenson added.
"He will then take this data and go back, refine the equipment and make some tweaks to it from software to hardware. When we do put this into the soldiers' hands, it is something they will be able to use."
OneTESS has been designed to provide soldiers with an ability to deploy mortars during a live force-on-force training exercise with the help of an instrumentation system.
The system is capable of operating with frequency modulation (FM) signals to deliver a probability hit/kill code to the soldiers, Homestation instrumentation system (HITS)-integrated vehicles and equipment present within the impact area, eliminating the use of fire markers to check affected areas.
Dismount, mortar and forward observer kits are also present to help soldiers coordinate training scenarios with a virtual environment.
1-89 Cavalry A Troop Mortar Platoon section leader sergeant 1st class David Huntington said the OneTESS was capable of providing more realistic results and accurate fires to the troops during training exercises.
"When using a fire marker during training, we are limited by the civilian's ability to get to where our rounds are notionally going to impact," Huntington said.
Image: A US soldier sets up mortar system using a OneTESS during field trials at Fort Drum, US. Photo: Sgt Mark A Moore II.