ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - February 5, 2009 – After nearly a decade of investment and collaboration involving Hollywood set designers and military experts on virtual reality, engineers with the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) warfighter-focused TechSolutions Program recently delivered another cutting-edge technology to the Marine Corps Systems Command Gruntworks facility located in Stafford, Va.
Navy and Marine Corps leadership previewed the Gruntworks Research for Infantry Integration Testing (GRIIT) during a public open house Wednesday at the Virginia facility as part of the Soldier Technology US 2009 Conference. GRIIT’s innovative technology improves the integration of the infantryman’s combat equipment by providing a realistic environment for simulation, testing and optimizing the Grunt’s “kit.”
GRIIT is the second facility that utilizes an ONR-funded vivid and realistic virtual environment to prepare warfighters for real combat. The first facility, the Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT) located at Camp Pendleton, Calif., was installed by ONR in 2007 and has been training warfighters for a range of possible real-life scenarios, equipping them with heightened abilities to recognize threats and make sound split-second decisions in dynamic situations. While the IIT contains technologies similar to those in the GRIIT, it is used as a training environment for squads rather than for evaluating equipment and implementing a more holistic approach toward the Marine and his or her equipment.
At the open house, Major Sean Hoopey from the Canadian Army said, “This type of training and testing not only has benefits for the United States, but the lessons learned can also greatly benefit NATO and coalition forces as well. It’s this type of scientific rigor going on here that will help to tip the scales for all of us.”
The GRIIT rollout aligns with the Chief of Naval Operations’ Marine Corps Vision & Strategy 2025 to build the future forces by leveraging science and technology and to improve training to prepare for uncertain situations.
GRITT employs 21 cameras that utilize ONR-developed Video Flashlight technology to record all of the action and to replay scenarios as a virtual display. This innovative technology directly supports the Marine Corps’ need for the development and evaluation of squad equipment and uses virtual reality to make the evaluation environment extremely realistic.
“I’m very pleased with GRIIT," noted ONR’s Deputy Chief of Naval Research for Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism, George Solhan, during a visit to the open house. "It shows what simulation can do. It’s a great tool for the Marines as they improve the design of their equipment. And, in the end, it will contribute significantly to giving them the capabilities they need to lighten their combat load."