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Anteon’s Mobile Tactical Trainer

Written by Fred Pickens

Imagine you are a member of your metropolitan Special Response Team (SRT) and your team is about to carry out a high-risk warrant service in a residential neighborhood. During the original warrant service, the defendant fired on an officer, and current intelligence signals that the defendant is inside the house and armed.

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the shift commander requires your team to follow high-risk entry measures. The door is about to be breached, you take a deep breath and prepare to make a dynamic entry. The outcome of this entry and the safety of your fellow officers depends largely on your team’s ability to recall critical training exercises and react quickly to the situation as it unfolds.

Police in Waynesville, NC recently faced this exact scenario—fortunately, it was not an actual warrant service, but a training exercise conducted in a new mobile, reconfigurable, instrumented urban trainer, the Anteon Mobile Tactical Trainer (MTT).

Anteon, a leading systems integration company that provides advanced simulation and training technologies to the U.S. Army, recently invited the Waynesville, NC Police SRT, Haywood County, NC Sheriff’s SWAT and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) SRT to conduct a variety of training exercises with its MTT.

Anteon’s Integrated Instrumentation (AI2) division, located in Waynesville, provides sophisticated simulation systems used by the most advanced military government organizations and civilian law enforcement around the world. Recognizing the need for realistic and advanced training in an increasingly urbanized world and in a climate of an ever-increasing threat of terrorism, Anteon developed the Mobile Tactical Trainer (MTT). 

Using the MTT, these local agencies conducted multiple training scenarios throughout the day and received immediate video and audio feedback in After Action Review (AAR) sessions. Additionally, the technological capabilities of the MTT provided the agency teams with immediate training and readiness improvements.

With the ever-increasing threat of urban terrorism and additional emphasis on homeland security, our nation’s civilian law enforcement requires new and advanced tactical training devices to stay prepared. Additionally, these agencies must be in a continual state of training readiness and be able to operate jointly. In this environment, where training dollars and schedules are tight and building urban centers exclusively for training are an expensive and often unrealistic option, Anteon’s MTT is a solution.

Adapted from a military trainer variant called the Mobile MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain), the technology that supports the MTT has been successfully deployed in the United States and around the globe to prepare military units for combat, including our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Anteon’s MTT has proved to be an ideal trainer that can assist local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies address current training challenges. Essentially a mobile “shoot house,” the MTT offers integrated instrumentation to control interactive targets, provide for realistic environmental conditions (such as smoke, sounds, and smells of combat), and record every movement for immediate playback during AAR. Additionally, the reconfigurable nature of the MTT enables agencies to conduct a wide variety of training scenarios with little effort and no additional budget.

Tailored to the Law Enforcement Environment

The MTT begins uninstrumented, as a standard 40-foot connex-type shipping container that customers can re-engineer to resemble buildings. These “buildings” are complete with doors, windows, interior rooms, stairwells, and all the makings of a real-world location.
Anteon’s MTT then can be instrumented with a number of advanced capabilities to enhance the training exercise, including integrated interactive targets that are safety certified up to live-fire training using blue-tip Short-Range Training Ammunition (SRTA) rounds; day and night capable cameras located both inside and outside the MTT record every movement; and combat effects such as smoke, smells, sounds, and explosions encountered during actual scenarios. Central, real-time control of combat effects and video recordings is optional. All actions and sounds by the training unit are recorded for playback during AAR.

Law enforcement agencies can acquire both uninstrumented and instrumented MTTs, depending on the specific needs of the agency. Anteon designers then work with law enforcement experts to build the MTT to the desired requirements. During this process, customers’ desired designs may require that the MTT include specific walls and passageways, custom-sized doors, windows, and even particular rooms. Law enforcement agencies can also configure the MTT to include multiple floors and multistoried buildings, allowing them to simulate scenarios such as apartments or hotels.

Once the MTT structure and floor plan is completed, designers then outfit the interior with electric and fiber-optic cable to enable the instrumented capability, as desired by the agency. While developing the MTT, Anteon also works with the law enforcement customer to prepare the delivery site. This allows for quicker set up of the buildings and installation of desired instrumentation according to the customer’s specifications. If the agency prefers, Anteon can also train the law enforcement agency to install and service the instrumentation itself.

The MTT in Action

The MTT solution has worked to help prepare law enforcement response teams. During training, the AAR allowed a team from the North Carolina SBI to correct mistakes in the middle of a training exercise. The teams were able to sit together and review the entire event from different angles—seeing for themselves which members of the team performed their duties correctly or incorrectly. As team leaders noted, “There’s no arguing with video.” The North Carolina SBI team also believed that the MTT trainer provided benefits because of the flexibility of reconfiguration and AAR capabilities.

Soon after visiting the MTT facility in Waynesville, the same team responded to an order to arrest a murder suspect. Leaders of the SBI team noted the improved confidence that the team demonstrated during the deployment—largely due to having just completed similar “close quarters battle” drills inside the MTT.

Using a mobile solution to address law enforcement training requirements offers many advantages to agencies. First, the MTT provides a cost-effective means to conduct a variety of small and large unit training exercises. While traditional fixed training sites can prove cost-prohibitive for small training groups, the MTT is available in 120 days – with minimal need for maintenance, and/or site preparation.

Second, the mobile solution provides flexibility. A small group of individuals can quickly assemble and disassemble the MTT and its movable walls to allow for changing building and room configurations—empowering agencies to carry out multiple training scenarios in a short period of time. Last, a mobile trainer broadens the reach of training capabilities. Agencies can easily disassemble the trainer and move it to other training sites.

Perhaps most important, the MTT provides law enforcement officers with nearly instantaneous training results feedback through the MTT’s Control and AAR capability. Trainers control the exercise in real time through an integrated control center where they can observe the training team’s actions and manipulate audio, video, motion detection, and target technology—all while capturing results via multiple video and audio detectors located throughout the MTT room(s).

After the exercise, teams regroup in the climate controlled AAR theater and watch themselves go through the training. The trainers conduct detailed discussions of training or mission rehearsal successes and shortcomings. By watching the recording immediately after the exercise and referring to it later, officers can better understand and apply the lessons learned.

Further, to address the reality of funding restrictions that many law enforcement and first responder agencies face, Anteon’s Grant Services and Proposal Department works with local, state and federal law enforcement and first-responder agencies to secure available grant funds. Anteon identifies potential funding in order to provide these communities with the ability to procure the MTT and enhance the agency’s capabilities to protect its citizens. In addition to federal funding programs, most state and local governments also have funding opportunities available for their constituents.

Colonel Fred P. Pickens, U.S. Army retired, is the business developer for Anteon’s Integrated Instrumentation (AI2) Division. He markets and develops business opportunities for Anteon’s Mobile Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT)/Mobile Tactical Trainer training and simulation product and integrated instrumentation for military and governmental agencies. He can be reached at fpickens@anteon.com.

Published in Law and Order, Jun 2006

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