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Laptop Training Saves Space, Hones Skills

By Capt. Steve Alvarez, USA
American Forces Press Service

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 1, 2005 – Laptop computers were designed for portability and to limit impact on workspaces, and the Navy is taking full advantage of technology's robust capabilities, using laptops to train the Navy's submarine force.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Navy Chief Petty Officer Chris Brown uses a navigation training system at the 2005 Interservice/Industry Simulation, Education and Training Conference Nov. 28-Dec. 1. The training programs, designed to be used on submarines and delivered via laptop computers, are created by the Navy's Submarine On Board Training organization. Photo by Capt. Steve Alvarez, USA

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The Navy uses laptops onboard submarines to train sailors in basic duties, Navy Chief Petty Officer Chris Brown, a sonar technician assigned to Submarine On Board Training in Connecticut, said. He demonstrated the laptops at the 2005 Interservice/Industry Simulation, Education and Training Conference here Nov. 28-Dec. 1.

"We use this for qualification-in-rate training," Brown said, using the Navy term for training that ensures sailors meet proficiency milestones in their specialties.

When the program started in the 1980s, it was mostly video-based, Brown said. But today, the 16-year veteran said, the training is personal-computer based, enabling sailors to learn or hone skills in a variety disciplines including supply and logistics, communications, general military training, strategic weapons systems, navigation, combat systems, basic submarining, training, maintenance, and nuclear propulsion.

Part of the SOBT packages includes Submarine Skills-training Network. The Navy said SubSkillsNet is a group of independent training simulations of several workstations on a submarine that were designed to enable seamless networked use for individual or team training.

Originally conceived to address collision avoidance training, the growing set of trainers has resulted in an integrated system that can now meet a variety of training objectives. These products are being used on attack and missile submarines, in electronic classrooms, and in simulators to train naval personnel. Interfaces between SubSkillsNet and other training and tactical systems, are under development.

Some courses in the SubSkillsNet portfolio are On-board Radar Collision Avoidance, Submarine Periscope Observation and Tracking, Surfaced Submarine Navigation and Piloting and GPS Simulation, to name a few.

SOBT comprises 11 military project managers and 10 civilian multimedia specialists who produce practical and interactive multimedia training aids to improve the Navy's submarine force.

Brown said the computer-based training ordinarily is made available to sailors who are on watch or as part of a sub's weekly training periods. Sailors also can voluntarily participate in the training individually.

The Navy does not mandate SOBT. The program solely exists to educate sailors, Brown said. Training is available on compact discs or via downloads with user authentication.

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Submarine On Board Training

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