BlueHalo has been awarded a $30 million contract from the Netherlands Ministry of Defense Materiel and IT Command to develop and deliver an Advanced Stinger Trainer (AST) system at Lieutenant General Best Barracks in Vredepeel, Netherlands. The next-generation AST is a fully immersive Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) operator training system, providing Stinger teams with operational and tactical training in various virtual environments against multiple air threats.
The AST can train up to four interoperable Stinger teams simultaneously within its 360° high-resolution VR environment, which casts authentic terrains and battlespaces throughout the space with surround sound audio for a realistic multidimensional experience. Gunners use an untethered MANPADS replica with the same size, weight, and operational functions as a Stinger missile, while team leads use binoculars with positional auto-zoom to guide their gunner to targets as they would in active combat scenarios. AST features a fully integrated Instructor Operator Station (IOS), providing instructors with control of the environments, threats, and difficulty for each scenario along with detailed scoring and analytics from each session.
“MANPADS weapons require a high level of operator skill to successfully eliminate air threats during battlefield engagements,” said Jimmy Jenkins, BlueHalo Sector President. “Guided by our systematic innovation and our intimate knowledge of the mission, BlueHalo’s Advanced Stinger Trainer gives warfighters the opportunity to become familiar with the equipment and develop the required skills through realistic virtual training, limiting costly and logistically complex live fire testing while increasing warfighter effectiveness with the Stinger missile.”
BlueHalo has developed similar Stinger training facilities for the U.S. Army Air Defense School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; the North Dakota Army National Guard in Grand Forks; and the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, California and Cherry Point, North Carolina. The Advanced Stinger Trainer leverages technology developed for BlueHalo’s Virtual Systems Trainer (VST) family of products. BlueHalo believes VST-Stinger is the first and only fielded VR-based MANPADS training device that supports portable or fixed-site Stinger team training.