Use of Simulators for Tank Crew Training

FPCD-78-3: Published: Nov 1, 1977. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 1977.

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Army officials are aware of the low proficiency of Army tank units and have initiated actions to correct the problem. Study contracts for the design of a full-crew tank simulator were issued during September 1977, and the Army expects to have a laboratory model available in 1980. Army officials are also evaluating currently available tank simulators that are part-task trainers which may be suitable to meet short-term training needs.

Tank crew proficiency increases significantly during periods of intensive training but drops significantly between the annual firing exercises. Lack of range availability and crew turnover contribute to the problem of maintaining crew proficiency. There are only eight ranges in the free world where the main tank gun can be fired. About 80 percent of the tank crew members experience a job change every 3 months which adversely affects the overall teamwork of the crew members. A viable solution to the cyclical nature of crew proficiency is the increased use of simulators to provide training between scheduled intensive gunnery exercise. The laboratory model will be used to achieve a better understanding of which cues and which functions are necessary in order to train a crew in an individual or full-crew training environment. Army officials expect to be able to field the full-crew tank simulator sometime between 1985 and 1990, but no firm plans have been developed. Part-task training simulators are currently being manufactured for training tank crews of foreign countries, but they would not fully satisfy the Army's training needs.

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