TRAINING AND TESTING IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA
For decades, training and testing areas within the AFTT Study Area have provided a safe and realistic environment for training Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and the testing of platforms and weapons systems.
The proximity of these areas to homeports allows for:
Reduced fuel use, costs, and emissions
Reduced wear and tear on vessels, submarines, and aircraft
Training close to home also maximizes training time and reduces Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen’s time away from their families.
IMPORTANCE OF REALISTIC TRAINING AND TESTING
Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen must be ready to respond to many different situations. The skills needed to achieve military readiness are challenging to master and are perishable without constant practice. Training activities must therefore be diverse and as realistic as possible to prepare Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen to complete their mission and ensure their success and safety. 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 for safety and mission success.
In addition to adequate training, the AFTT Study Area provides the air and sea space necessary to conduct 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 operations.
TRAINING ACTIVITIES IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA
Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen must maintain a rigorous, comprehensive training regimen to ensure ships, aircraft, and submarines are prepared to deploy on schedule and personnel are ready to carry out their duties as required. Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen participate in four levels of at-sea training, from learning basic skills to working with other military services. This training includes:
Basic level training, which consists 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, which combines individual units and staffs into strike groups or other combined-arms forces and 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 a critical component to 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. Testing activities may include:
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 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, and system components must undergo at-sea testing.