NEWS | Feb. 12, 2021

Simulated Firearms Training System, “Game Changer” for PCU Sailors

By Team Ships Public Affairs

Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Sailors assigned to ships located at Bath Iron Works Shipyard, Bath, Maine now have access to a new simulated use of force option to fulfill their weapons qualifications training.

The Firearms Training System (FATS) offers a full experience in use of force option handling and application, allowing freedom of movement, while unencumbered by a tether. Compressed air provides realistic recoil and wireless technology is used to accurately communicate where simulated shots impacted the system.

While firearms simulators have long been used by the Navy, there was a need to provide a sustainment training effort for PCU Sailors in shipyard locations, such as Bath. The system was procured by the Surface Ship Training Integration program, the Fleet Introduction Agent responsible for the support of assembly training and certification of new construction crews.

"The FATS trainer is a game changer. Anytime you can leverage high end technology and simulation to create real-world environments for training you need to take advantage of it,” said Bob Kerno, major program manager, surface training systems.

Many Sailors will complete their initial live fire training requirements at the Pre-Commissioning Detachment in Norfolk or San Diego. With semi-annual qualification standards, Sailors find themselves needing additional training at the PCU. Pre-Commissioning phasing makes weapons qualifications challenging due to the absence of local firing ranges. Sailors often have to travel long distances just to meet their training requirements.

PCU crew are also required to complete Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection certification immediately following crew move aboard. The FATS system provides a valuable resource in support of this while minimizing the impact on an already compressed schedule.

“The safe and proficient use of small arms for force protection and combat operations is significantly improved by increased reps and sets. FATS gives Sailors the ability to practice in a classroom environment which enhances their capabilities but also saves the government money on travel, range time and ordnance,” said Kerno.

The Director, Surface Ship Maintenance and Modernization (SEA 21) manages the complete lifecycle support for non-nuclear surface ships including introduction, maintenance, and modernization. Through planned modernization and upgrade programs, SEA 21 will equip today's surface ships with the latest technologies and systems to keep them in the fleet through their service lives.