In response to its Sailor 2025 initiative, the U.S. Navy needed to identify and procure a technologically savvy ready, relevant, learning system. This mobile, scalable, reconfigurable High Velocity Learning Environment (HVLE) capable of providing more cost-effective, readily available training to Sailors was the result. Old style brick and mortar approaches, the traditional system of sending Sailors to actual, physical training facilities off-site, had become less attractive due to rising costs and scheduling factors. Today’s warfighters need training “at the ready” to respond to emerging training gaps and such training needs to be flexible enough to quickly address changing needs. Additionally, the new HVLE needed to provide content agnostic infrastructure that can handle everything necessary and have no build constraints. With the ability to handle integration platforms such as virtual reality, mixed reality, simulators, MRTS 3D, and xAPI, the Carrier-Advanced Reconfigurable Training System (C-ARTS) seemed a logical choice, particularly given the Navy’s 18-month time constraint.
To effectively meet the concept requirements in the requested timeframe, SBIR Phase III contract funding was critical to successful commercialization of CHA’s Lighthouse technology stack. This funding was readily provided by the Navy. The Lighthouse technology is capable of supporting unique training systems and delivering applications capable of real-world, real-time solutions. With Lighthouse serving as the command central of the HVLE, it creates a purposefully designed agnostic delivery of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), virtual task trainers (VTT), interactive media instruction (IMI), computer-based training (CBT), and instructor-led training (ILT).
In designing the C-ARTS system, certain elements had to be present. First and foremost, C-ARTS had to expedite the delivery of Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) to the point of need without sacrificing valuable tools and technology typically found in traditional classrooms. It had to reduce expert knowledge transfer time to the Fleet. In other words, C-ARTS would need to ensure that all training could be quickly and efficiently translated to meet real-time needs. C-ARTS also needed to be a cost-effective infrastructure that saved money on build-out and overtime. This HVLE’s portability and reconfigurability allows it to be strategically placed at support units to decrease total ownership costs through economies of scale. Additional configurations were required to meet non-traditional learning events through the use of HVLE assets to promote speed of knowledge transfer and problem solving. These types of events include ISEA support events, hands-on training in the labs, collaborative events, and more. Finally, information aggregated and analyzed via Lighthouse would provide empirical data to decision makers, giving them real-time access to training and manpower information.
Seven critical components were identified for the C-ARTS-specific HVLE.
1. Powered by Lighthouse SBIR III software. Making Lighthouse the workhorse of C-ARTS would allow for the following: Learning Management System (LMS), On-Board Content Management and Delivery System, Video Repository, Future Growth Capability, and xAPI Future Growth Capability.
2. Mobility. C-ARTS had to be capable of providing near-to-the-pier training and quick turnaround from order to delivery, while supporting travel and time cost avoidance.
3. High velocity learning. The entire purpose of designing a state-of-the-art ready, relevant, learning system was to provide rapid update of training materials, direct and immediate Fleet-level feedback, on-demand availability, a web-based course catalog, and web-based scheduling tools.
4. Knowledge and skills development. The system had to provide custom training solutions and hands-on learning in the areas of familiarization, operations, and maintenance.
5. Reconfigurable classroom. The C-ARTS system had to accommodate many styles of learning. Reconfigurable classrooms capable of hosting anywhere from eight students in a dual-room configuration to 16 students in a single-room configuration to up to 50 students in an auditorium or conference room space were requirements.
6. Lab (maintenance) classrooms. At times, hands-on training is necessary. C-ARTS needed to provide lab space with work benches supporting Technical Training Equipment in a reconfigurable layout with touchscreen monitors.
7. Training delivery. In addition to providing reconfigurable classroom and lab space, C-ARTS had to be capable of providing computer-based training, instructor-led training, virtual reality training, and augmented reality training.
With these seven components in place, C-ARTS is singularly capable of providing for training needs with relevant technology and is equipped to handle changing technology and learning needs into the future.
Due to the dedication and commitment shown by the Navy’s Program Executive Office in pursuing and obtaining an SBIR Phase III contract, timelines and deliverables were met. Without this funding, finding a successful acquisition path for the technology that is now benefitting Sailors such as those of the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) would have been impractical if not improbable. Our military, specifically our Navy, is now better equipped to maintain superiority because of the insightful utilization of SBIR technology to fulfill critical requirements.
For the period between December 2018 and February 2020, data supports the evidence that C-ARTS is already having a significant impact. An estimated 3,022.5 Navy management hours were saved by not having to process Cost or No Cost orders to training. Training has already been administered to 644 students with 464 total course hours logged. Students have spent 7,720 hours in class. Approximately $175,000 has been saved by training locally versus traveling out of area for a single training program. Sailors were able to receive effective, efficient, time- and money-saving training right at the pier. Sailors assigned to CVN 78 USS Gerald R. Ford, CVN 79 PCU John F. Kennedy, CVN Center of Excellence; CSCS Dahlgren staff instructors; and Norfolk Naval Shipyard employees have already enjoyed the C-ARTS HVLE method of training.
From requirements definition to solution delivery, Cape Henry Associates has proven with its revolutionary C-ARTS system that it is your go-to team. By providing HVLEs to the warfighters, CHA is ensuring America’s next military generation will continue to set the standard and remain the best in the world.