MILITARY MATTERS: Tank simulators - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

MILITARY MATTERS: Tank simulators

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FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - The outside of a U.S. Army tank can be imposing and loud, especially when the main gun is fired.

It is quite different in the cramped quarters beneath the hatch.

But soldiers at Fort Benning don't have to experience the real thing, at least initially, because simulators are now used to bring them up to speed.

Sixty-four of the machines are in place at the Simulations Facility at Harmony Church, all designed for the ‘practice makes perfect' mantra.

"We can run a good mission several times in dry run, in simulations, before we can go out and actually do it for the live fire", says Staff Sgt. Tony Arista, a member of the NCO Academy. "They make our live fire exercise a little more effective."

Not to mention, less expensive.

For instance, each 25mm dummy shell fired from a Bradley Fighting Vehicle costs $70.

Reproducing the look and sound of that shell being fired can be done at a fraction of the cost, meaning less ammo is needed. The simulators also reduce wear and tear on the soldiers and their equipment.

The training devices have been well received, according to Operations Manager Ron Marshall. "The majority of the feedback we get from the soldiers is that they enjoy it, they love it! They fine tune their skills prior to going out to the gunnery ranges."

But we were curious. Does rehearsing with video game technology in an air-conditioned building represent a true picture of the battlefront?

"It's a little bit different by having them in here, as far as the environment", says Sgt. Arista, "but it allows the troops to focus more on thinking about what they're doing before they actually go out there and have to endure the additional stress."

You might compare it to studying the book before a test. 

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