The Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) is a training system that provides a realistic battlefield environment for soldiers involved in training exercises. MILES provides tactical engagement simulation for direct fire force-on-force training using eye safe laser "bullets". Each individual and vehicle in the training exercise has a detection system to sense hits and perform casualty assessment. Laser transmitters are attached to each individual and vehicle weapon system and accurately replicate actual ranges and lethality of the specific weapon systems. MILES training has been proven to dramatically increase the combat readiness and fighting effectiveness of military forces. Soldiers use MILES devices primarily during force-on-force exercises, from squad through brigade level, to simulate the firing and effects of actual weapons systems. These weapons systems include the M1 Abrams Tank, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, wheeled vehicles and other non-shooting targets. Additionally, Basic MILES simulations address anti-armor weapons, machine guns, rifles, and other ancillary items, such as a controller gun, within the program.
MILES requires the sound of a blank cartridge to discharge a laser transmitter that sends simulated laser "bullet" to kill or wound opposing forces (OPForces) during training exercises. The MILES fires coded laser beams at laser detectors attached to soldiers or vehicles. When the laser bear hits a detector, the laser detector records a kill or near miss. The detectors are sensitive to the source of fire. For example, the laser beam for a soldier simulating the firing an M16 rifle will not register on a detector mounted on an armored vehicle. Blank firing attachments (BFAs) were developed to promote realism by enabling soldiers to simulate firing their weapons as they are actually used on the battlefield.
Both combat vehicles, such as the M1 Abrams tank, and various support vehicles can be instrumented using vehicle-specific Vehicle Detection Device (VDD) kits. Vehicle kits are comprised of a VDD console that mounts inside the vehicle and provide the functions of MILES decoding, SAWE indirect fire and mine effects events decoding and damage assessment. The console includes the GPS recevier for position location determination. Position location, and direct and indirect fire event reporting is accomplished through the associated DCI which is also mounted within the vehicle. A system of MILES detector belts designed to fit specific vehicles are mounted on the exterior of the vehicle using velcro. The GPS and DCI antennas are also mounted on the exterior of the vehicle.The Army developed the original family of MILES devices ("Basic MILES") in the late '70s and early '80s using state-of-the-art technology of that time. Basic MILES is the primary training device for force-on-force training at Army home stations. However, today's training battlefield requires an improved performance level Basic MILES cannot meet. Existing Basic MILES technology does not support the level of fidelity Army commanders and trainers require. Basic MILES fails to record any event data for use in After Action Reviews. This is a major handicap in providing soldiers feedback.
Basic MILES systems have reached the end of their useful economic life cycle. Repair parts required to maintain the Basic MILES inventory are no longer available on the open market. Expensive reverse engineering of Basic MILES components is a common support practice. As a consequence of these circumstances, the US Army has reassessed its acquisition alternatives.
Due to these shortcomings, the Army made the decision to buy devices reflecting improved weapon fidelity and reduced logistics burden. Examples of logistics support advances found in the latest generation of MILES include longer life batteries, reduced power consumption by components, advanced electronics design, and more rugged and robust equipment with reduced operation support costs.In 1993, the US Army initiated the MILES 2000 program with Operational Requirements Documents entitled MILES 2000. The purpose of this program is to replace the basic MILES training systems. The Army intends to field MILES 2000 training equipment at all USA home stations. The MILES 2000 program ORD included Basic MILES functionality, compatibility with the direct fire component of Simulated Area Weapons Effects-Radio Frequency/MILES II (SAWE-RF/MILES II), usability improvements, and training effectiveness increases made possible through commercial off-the-shelf integrated circuit and laser technologies. MILES 2000 uses laser light in the form of pulses to transmit weapon information to a target. These pulses are transmitted each time a weapon is fired. Information contained in the pulses includes the player ID and the type of weapon used. The target entity processes the information to produce a casualty assessment. The casually assessment for a dismounted soldier can produce a state of killed or wounded. The casualty assessment for a mobile weapon system can produce several outcomes, which include catastropic kill, mobility kill, and communication kill. Both dismounted soldiers and mobile weapon system platforms are equipped with a laser transmitter and laser receiver. The ability to support an After Action Review is an essential feature of the MILES 2000 training system. This is possible because all player activity is recorded during an exercise.
Army STRICOM competitively awarded the initial (current) MILES 2000 contract to Cubic Defense systems. This contract is currently producing MILES 2000 systems and has options through FY 01. STRICOM intends to use competitive acquisition for the follow-on award at the conclusion of the currently priced contract options.