The US army on Friday started the service’s new virtual training facility, moving from training whole batteries on its newest missile defense system to individual training in a classroom.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles. The system can see much farther and fly higher than the Patriot missile, Col. Jim Payne, commander of the 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade was quoted as saying by Stars and Stripes.
“It buys us time,” he said, “and that’s very important.” Payne said the virtual trainer’s look and feel is same as the launcher vehicle, but have a video game-type system running in them for virtual simulations so there is a larger area for instructors to use for the training," he said.
"The facility took about two years to build and cost $27 million, making it on time and under budget. Communications architecture or Patriot soldiers will train on THAAD as an additional skill," Payne said.
Until last year, the Army sent instructors to the units to train them all at once. Now, soldiers just out of boot camp or more senior soldiers assigned to THAAD units can learn to use the system in the 100,000-square-foot virtual training facility at Fort Sill.
The Army is building its fourth THAAD battery now, with plans for seven batteries of around 100 soldiers, Payne said.