Author:Mayfield, Mandy

* The Army is creating a high-resolution virtual world realistic enough to help prepare troops for battles across the globe.

The Synthetic Training Environment, or STE, is a 3D training and mission rehearsal tool that brings together live, virtual, constructive and gaming environments to improve soldier and unit readiness.

Two years ago, as part of the Army's widespread modernization effort, then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley called for a rapid expansion of the service's synthetic training capabilities.

A STE cross-functional team, led by Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, was established to help develop next-generation training capabilities. It is most closely aligned with the soldier lethality portfolio, but is also geared toward the other modernization priorities, she told reporters at last year's Association of the United States Army's annual conference.

One World Terrain, also known as OWT, is one of several key components of the new training architecture which will provide an accessible 3D representation of the global operating environment, according to the service.

"It is a global, 3D terrain capability that we can pull down, bring in our simulations, simulators and our mission command information systems, so that units can train... anywhere in the world," Gervais said during an interview at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia.

The Army's current training environment is based on technology from the 1980s and 1990s, Gervais said. It also has 57 different terrain formats, which creates complications.

"If you have to deploy anywhere and you want to train on that terrain,... we had to go ask [base officials for terrain] and then we had to spend months trying to make it work in that simulator," Gervais said. "With this, it's all instantaneous."

With the OWT library, any environment that has already been mapped can be accessed by trainees, Gervais said. If a terrain is not in its database "we can go fly either a commercial satellite [or] a drone and capture it ourselves, process it, and within 72 hours or less, bring it in immediately to start training."

The service is using drones and satellite imagery to capture high-resolution terrain footage for the STE and merging those with imaging from the commercial market, said Lt. Col. Dylan Morelle, a simulations operation officer who works on One World Terrain.

"We could make terrain out [of just free commercial imagery], but it would be very low resolution and maybe not useful...

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