US Army Special Forces Complete Marksmanship Training Using AI Simulator

US Army Special Forces has completed virtual shooting training using an artificial intelligence-enabled weapon simulator at the Human Performance Training Center in Fort Carson, Colorado.

The drill saw the effectiveness of VirTra, a simulation platform offering ballistics and arms qualification courses for both military and law enforcement personnel.

Participants involved soldiers from the 10th Special Force Group – Airborne (10th SFG-A), an unconventional warfare and counterterrorism unit.

Scenarios included high-risk entry, active threat, hostage situation, and threat identification missions.

Throughout the practice, the VirTra simulator analyzed every troop decision and adjusted it in future rounds to hone their skills further.

Modernized Immersive Trainer

According to the US Army, the VirTra is an upgrade over the agency’s aging Engagement Skills Trainer (EST), a laser-based, indoor marksmanship training system equipped with legacy simulation components.

Green Berets with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) acclimate to the VirTra simulator before starting an iteration of training on Fort Carson, Colorado, Feb. 2, 2024. The VirTra simulator features technology that can present different scenarios to its users which helps sharpen shooting skills and is a way of receiving realistic training. The Green Berets practice firing different weapon systems in the VirTra simulator before completing an actual shooting scenario. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. David Cordova)
Green Berets with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) acclimate to the VirTra simulator before starting an iteration of training on Fort Carson. Photo: Sgt. David Cordova/US Army

“[VirTra] allows us to pair marksmanship with a variety of different training environments where they are coupled with a strength coach to simulate physical stress,” 10th SFG-A Cognitive Performance Specialist Jake Blumberg explained.

“[Operators] are then able to create a variety of different ranges and targets to really hone their craft.”

“This [technology] provides what the EST can in terms of weapons qualification and flat range practice. But VirTra also incorporates different types of drills, from reaction drills to threat-not-threat scenarios.”

Maintaining Readiness

The US Army wrote that the 10th SFG-A is the only unit with full-time access to the capability.

This localized opportunity allows operators to sustain “fundamentals and increase their personal shooting skills” on any schedule without reserving ranges or procuring supplies for practice.

“Everything comes down to increasing lethality, so the more triggers we pull in the correct manner, that’s what we want.”

“Practice makes permanent – ultimately we want to be training the fundamentals all the time and this is another venue for guys to pull their personal weapon and become better at the basics.”

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