NAVY TRAINING AND TESTING IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA
For decades, Navy training and testing areas within the AFTT Study Area have provided a safe and realistic environment for training Sailors and testing systems.
The proximity of these areas to naval homeports allows for:
- Greater efficiencies during training and testing
- Shorter transit times
- Reduced fuel use, costs, and emissions
- Reduced wear and tear on vessels, submarines, and aircraft
Training Sailors close to home also maximizes their training time and reduces time away from their families.
IMPORTANCE OF REALISTIC TRAINING AND TESTING
Naval forces must be ready to respond to many different situations. The skills needed to achieve military readiness are challenging to master and perishable without constant practice. Training activities must therefore be diverse and
as realistic as possible to prepare Sailors to complete their mission and ensure their success and survival. While simulators provide early skill repetition and enhance teamwork, there is no substitute for live training in a realistic environment. The AFTT Study Area provides a range of realistic training environments and sufficient air and sea space necessary for safety and mission success.
In addition to training Sailors for the real-world missions they will encounter when deployed, continued military readiness requires providing Navy personnel with the military assets necessary to support their missions and gives them a technological edge over adversaries.
The AFTT Study Area provides the air and sea space necessary to conduct Navy research, development, testing, and evaluation activities (“testing activities”) to ensure vessels, aircraft, and weapons systems operate as intended. Conducting testing activities in varying marine environments, such as differing water depths, seafloor types, salinity levels, and other ocean conditions, and in replicated warfighting environments allows for accurate evaluation of systems before use by Sailors during deployment.
TRAINING ACTIVITIES IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA
The Navy must maintain a rigorous, comprehensive training regimen to ensure ships are prepared to deploy on schedule and Sailors are ready to carry out their duties as required. Sailors participate in four levels of at-sea training, from learning basic skills to working with other military services. This training includes:
- Basic level training, consisting of individuals, small groups of personnel, or a single crew (ship, submarine, or aircraft) training on its own.
- Advanced level training, which hones tactics, techniques, and procedures with other units for mission-specific training.
- Integrated training, combining individual units and staffs into strike groups or other combined-arms forces.
- Integration testing concludes with certification for deployment.
- Sustainment training, which allows strike groups to maintain their highest level of readiness and proficiency.
TESTING ACTIVITIES IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA
Testing activities conducted in the AFTT Study Area are important for maintaining readiness. Research and development of new technologies by the U.S. Department of Defense occurs continually to ensure the U.S. military can counter new and emerging threats. These technologies must be tested and evaluated before use by the fleet. Testing activities may include:
- Basic and applied scientific research and technology development.
- Testing, evaluation, and maintenance of sensors and systems, such as missiles, torpedoes, radar, active and passive sonar systems, vessels, submarines, and aircraft.
- Acquisition of technologically advanced vessels, aircraft, and systems to support Navy missions.
Although simulation is a key component in the development of vessels, aircraft, and systems, it does not provide critical data on how they will perform or whether they will be able to meet performance and other specification requirements in the environment in which they are intended to operate. For this reason, vessels, aircraft systems, and system components must undergo at-sea testing.