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Yakima Training Center

Digital MPRC system offers training options

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:25PM October 10th, 2013

YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER — With units back from deployment and the luxury of time to train, commanders have a new resource across the mountains to help sharpen their Soldiers’ skills.

For those at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the answer is at Yakima Training Center — the new Digital Multi-Purpose Range Complex.

Range manager Joseph Lewis said the live-fire range upgrades, which were completed in December, give commanders multiple views of any unit on the range, human or vehicle, day or night, all from a tower at the range’s edge.

Included in those views:

• A through-sight camera placed on vehicles. It allows range monitors, be they commanders or others, to watch what a combat vehicle is targeting with a weapon.

• Infrared cameras. These let monitors watch during nighttime practice, tracking how personnel and vehicles move.

• In-vehicle cameras. Monitors can watch Soldiers as they operate inside a vehicle, such as what kind of ammunition they’re loading, Lewis said.

• Vehicle and personal GPS trackers. Monitors can track the real-time movements of vehicles and personnel when they are not visible by camera.

• Microphones that relay audio in real time, from vehicles or personnel.

All of the devices record while active. Along with software that helps develop scenarios and edit range data, the devices create a kind of game film at the end of training that can be broken down by commanders in updated After-Action Review Theaters.

The data also can be sent back to JBLM’s Battle Command Training Center.

“It’s a way to build on the right and wrong of what they’re doing,” Lewis said.

The range itself, which is about three miles long, can be used by Abrams tanks, Bradley and Stryker fighting vehicles and even attack helicopters. Vehicles can train on their own or with dismounted infantry units.

The complex has several ranges and facilities to support diverse scenarios, including stationary and moving targets for armor, infantry, and aerial targets in the impact area outside the complex.

For infantry, there are breach and facade walls (most with two stories), each with stationary targets; three plywood villages, a bunker and two trench line complexes. Lewis said support units also are able to use the range to do convoy live-fire exercises.

Battalions, squadrons and larger units have to break down to negotiate the range as company-sized elements. There is no minimum size to use the range, so squads and fire teams can schedule range time, too.

To schedule training at the DMPRC, call range scheduler Paul Erlandson at 509-225-8230. Commanders also need to fill out a Training Facility Support Request.