Marine Systems Command is currently testing and looking to put out a solicitation for a next-generation “Miles-like” system that will replace current training simulators that allow Infantry Marines to train more realistically by being able to engage each other with laser designators that activate alarms on other individuals when set. MILES gear currently is outdated and is known to not be the most effective training tool in the world when it comes to ground combat operations in the field. Early versions could be completely switched off, were unreliable at times, and operated on VHF frequencies.
One of the most current simulators is called Instrumented Tactical Engagement Simulation System (ITESS). The Gen 2 version is already 6 years into its program cycle and it looks like a Gen 3 version will be coming online soon. It uses a digital wireless system that improves on MILES by being much more realistic. The device for handheld weapon systems is a block that clamps directly to the barrel of an M16A4, M240B, etc… But not only can it be attached to small arms, but also grenades and rocket launchers. The next generation is looking to allow such systems as mortars and artillery to function as if they were actually used with the adjustments on the battlefield.
From a MarCorSysCom description in 2016–
I-TESS II is used to support direct Force-on-Force tactical engagement training. This system consists of the following type components: Small Arms Transmitter (SAT), Man-worn Detection System (MDS), Command and Control (C2 – mobile and portable versions), Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT) Building Instrumentation, and Simulated Battlefield Weapons. The SAT is used on multiple rifle types and machine guns. The MDS and range equipment provides the individual Marine direct Force-on-Force engagement adjudication and includes the ability to support instrumentation functions such as Position Location Information (PLI) reporting.
The I-TESS II system is used in MOUT Facilities and Non-Live Fire Maneuver Ranges located at various Marine Corps bases and installations, providing the setting for the USMC Pre-deployment Training Program (PTP) and other type individual and company level training support. The Marine Corps has expressed a need to acquire and deliver training systems that provide real-time situation awareness, exercise control capabilities, and adjudicate indirect fire engagements so as to help facilitate the training exercise objectives. I-TESS II collects the training actions/interactions of the Marines during the training exercise and the system has the ability to provide immediate access of collected data for After Action Review (AAR). I-TESS II will provide (2,400) Manworn Detection System (MDS) devices to instrument the Marine Corps
It must be noted that the U.S. Army is already experimenting with DISE, a very similar system but currently in use throughout European Command among NATO troops. Why the Marine Corps can’t jump on this bandwagon is most likely due to different budgets and funding allocations.
I want to also mention that, myself along with many of my own infantry brethren of the 2010 generation of Marines never used MILES gear throughout our entire time in preliminary training, and then the Fleet itself. Although these units mentioned in the media got to work with this new ITESS system, chances are this will be the only time these Infantrymen will ever work with such a system in their Fleet careers.
While we are on these units, this Boot from Gulf 2/3 apparently doesn’t know how to clear a malfunction from his M27 IAR, in addition to shifting positions while his weapon was on fully automatic.