VSD, the Iraqi navy, and U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) reached an important milestone, the handoff of three simulators to the Iraqi navy. On March 13, 2013 the 35-Meter Patrol Boat, 60-Meter Offshore Support Vessel, and Firefighting Simulators were formally turned over to the Iraqi navy at the Umm Qasr naval facility. VSD provided delivery, installation, and testing of the Iraqi navy training systems. VSD also provided training for Iraqi instructors on how to operate and maintain the simulators.

VSD’s installation and training team departed for Iraq in November 2012 and worked for four and a half months to complete the installation and training. The team was comprised of three engineers, three instructors, two interpreters, and one logistician.

The firefighting simulator and the two ship simulators, procured as part of a U.S. Navy’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program, will help reconstitute the Iraqi navy by allowing their sailors to hone their skills close to home in a risk-free environment to improve Iraq’s ability to enforce maritime sovereignty and security in the Northern Arabian Gulf. The simulators are more efficient than just training on the boats because they allow trainees to repeat maneuvers over and over in short periods of time, regardless of the weather.

The simulators were installed in a 40,000 square foot warehouse located on the Umm Qasr naval facility. In addition to housing the simulators, the facility will be used as an administrative office and classroom space for training. Each training system includes a Full Mission Bridge Trainer (FMBT), 30mm Fire Control Trainer (FCT), Engine Control Room Trainer (ERT), and Small Arms Trainer (SAT). A Firefighting Trainer (FFT) was also installed outside the warehouse. The FFT generates representative shipboard Class Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie fires for trainees to combat under realistic shipboard conditions.

The VSD installation and training team received some well-deserved accolades for their superb performance from OSC-I (Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq) Umm Qasr. Lieutenant Brian Hackney, the C4ISR Systems Advisor stated he has worked with a number of contractors in his career, but never with a group whose unswerving work-ethic and astute expertise was as prevalent as that demonstrated by VSD.

The entire team was well organized, unequivocally skilled in their craft, and eager to deliver a highly-advanced and technologically complex trainer that is second to none. Their training efforts at Morgan City and Umm Qasr have directly resulted in knowledgeable and finely-honed trainees who now stand as a beacon of ship handling and firefighting excellence for the entire Iraqi navy.

– Lieutenant Hackney, U.S. Navy

The government final inspection for the Iraqi Patrol Boat, Offshore Support Vessel, and Firefighting training systems was conducted in mid-March and the keys to the warehouse and simulators were then turned over to the head of the Iraqi navy training department. A VSD in-country support person will remain at the Umm Qasr naval facility until December 2013 to coordinate, assist, and provide guidance to Iraqi navy training leadership and maintenance personnel.