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Appendix D

Engagement Skills Trainer

Crew turbulence and the rising cost of ammunition, fuel, and spare parts make it difficult to produce and maintain skilled HMMWV crews and platoons. Additionally, units cannot get to major range complexes as often as they should or would like; therefore, more gunnery training must be done at home station using simulators, subcaliber training devices, and training-unique techniques. Training devices help fill the void caused by lack of resources and money. They cannot, however, replace or duplicate main gun firing or other vital aspects of gunnery or tactical training; their purpose is to augment training. Devices allow the trainer to identify and correct procedural errors. They also enable the trainer to spot tank crews or individuals that are having problems with a particular gunnery or tactical task.

This appendix discusses the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST), which is designed to help units conduct simulated marksmanship and engagement skills training exercises. The using unit is responsible for prior planning, coordination, training the trainer, unit train-up, and external or internal evaluation. Adequate attention in these areas will ensure the highest level of success prior to the conduct of training.

This appendix should not be used as a stand-alone reference; however, it should be used in conjunction with the system's operator manuals and all applicable FMs, TMs, and other training manuals.


The EST is a multipurpose device, designed to support the indoor training of squad-sized units on basic and advanced marksmanship, as well as fundamental tactical engagement skills. The device uses the latest in videodisk-based and synchronized microcomputer technology to provide a variety of target arrays, courses of fire, and tactical engagement exercises. Once an exercise is selected, the EST displays proportionately correct targets on a panoramic screen. These targets are engaged with laser-fitted, modified weapons; such as, the AR15A2/M16A2 rifle, the M60/M240B machine gun, the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, and the M136 (AT-4) rocket launcher. These weapons provide the recoil and sound of real weapons firing live ammunition. The EST provides immediate or delayed on-screen feedback of all training activities, as well as printed feedback of the same.

The complexity of the administrative operation of the system is in contrast to the simple hands-on, real-world equipment interfaced with the individual soldier and squad. The following table depicts the equipment with which the individual soldier or squad will interface. (Figure D-1 depicts a typical EST battle simulation area.)

Figure D-1. Typical EST Battle Simulation Area.

Video Projection
The video projection screen consists of three 7-foot by 10-foot screens, fitted together to provide a panoramic view of synchronized video images presented during training exercises.
Carbon Dioxide
(CO2) Recoil
The CO2 containers provide gas pressure to cycle the action and simulate the recoil for the weapons.
Speakers Weapon sound is emitted through a series of speakers.

The EST can accommodate the simultaneous firing of up to 12 weapons in a variety of configurations. Although these weapons cannot be loaded with live ammunition, each has been modified to function in a realistic fashion; so that loading, firing, misfire procedures, and normal firing are performed the same as if they were the real weapons.

  • M16A2 rifle. The M16A2 rifle uses an eye-safe laser, installed inside the barrel, to produce a detectable laser trace on the viewing screen. The laser trace is used to identify shot location and determine target hits.
  • M16A2 rifle and M203 grenade launcher combination. This combination can be used as a rifle or a grenade launcher. When used as a rifle, its functions are exactly like the M16A2, including recoil. When used as a grenade launcher, it has no recoil. It contains a leaf sight for engaging targets out to 200 meters and a quadrant sight for engaging targets beyond 200 meters. Loading is completed by depressing the barrel latch, sliding the barrel fully forward, inserting a dummy round into the chamber, and sliding the barrel to the rear until locked. The M203 grenade launcher will not accept standard 40-mm grenades.
  • M60/M240B and M2 machine guns. These machine guns use the same technology used in the M16A2 rifle. They can be fired from the bipod, tripod, or assault positions. Only modified linked belts of ammunition will work with the EST's machine guns. The belt of ammunition should not be delinked, except when responding to a runaway gun; it must be relinked in exactly the same way that it was configured prior to the break.
  • MK 19 grenade machine gun. The MK 19 training weapon is an actual MK 19, mod. 3, grenade machine gun that is converted temporarily into a training weapon. The MK 19 training weapon uses a fully functioning MK 19 with special components that will mount onto the weapon. The conversion from a functional weapon to a training weapon takes less than ten minutes. Converting the training weapon back into a functional weapon also takes less than ten minutes. The training weapon is fitted with an eye-safe laser system for training purposes. The trainer produces recoil by using a pneumatic cylinder, and compresses CO2 gas.
  • M136 (AT-4). The M136 training weapon is an in-bore insert for use with all expended AT-4, 84-mm rocket launchers. An eye-safe laser located in the training device shows the training system where the weapon simulates launch effect by using compressed CO2 gas.
  • 9-mm pistol. The Beretta 9-mm semiautomatic pistol can be used as a stand-alone weapon with plastic bullets to recoil the weapon or as a system weapon recoiled by CO2 gas. Training with the pistol can be done on silhouette targets for marksmanship proficiency and with LAPD scenarios for law enforcement purposes.

Note. Although the lasers used in the EST have been approved as eye safe by the food and drug administration, prolonged exposure to the laser, or a laser malfunction, could result in eye damage.

Weapons safety is very important. The weapons supplied with the EST have been extensively modified and cannot be returned to normal operation or made to accept live ammunition. To avoid injury, always treat your EST weapon as though it was real. Never look directly into the barrel of any weapon.

Training Capabilities

The EST is designed primarily to support the training of individual and collective marksmanship and squad-level tactical skills. This section describes, briefly, the array of training exercises that can be conducted on the EST, and the training preparation required for the same. These exercises are on videodisks. EST I and II contain tactical engagement exercises. EST IV contains basic and advanced marksmanship training exercises. Consistent with all military training, EST-based training should always be conducted in accordance with the philosophy, principles, drills, tasks, and procedures contained in many military service training publications. At the same time; however, a unit's instructor/operator, or master gunner should draw upon the full range of his experience to achieve maximum payoff from the use of this device.

Normally, a squad- or platoon-size element is ideal to train in the EST. It is possible to train a troop- or company-size unit; however, train-up must be completed prior to arrival at the EST, and a rotation plan must be developed and followed carefully.


The progressive nature of the marksmanship training capabilities of the EST are applicable to active- and reserve-component training missions, and will support individual and crew-served weapons qualification train-up. It is a flexible, low cost, realistic, and effective trainer. It can also be used as a successful retrainer during range firing and engagement skills training if soldiers are experiencing poor marksmanship skills.

The engagement skills combat scenario system is an important enhancement trainer utilized by units in the conduct of collective tasks. The system can be used in scenarios that can be linked, similar to situational training exercises, to support the lane training concept.

First priority for the training unit after identifying their METL and establishing training requirements that support the same, is to develop a plan for integrating simulations training into their training plan.

As in marksmanship training, the responsibility for train-up, train the trainer, leaders training, and conduct and evaluation of the training is the responsibility of the using unit.


After mastering individual skills, a squad should be ready to undertake the tactical exercises presented in EST I and II. These exercises have been developed to provide squad-size units with the opportunity to practice individual, leader, and collective skills in a simulated combat environment.

Unit trainers set up tactical exercises for the participating squads by describing the situation and clearly establishing the conditions and standards for each task to be trained. Most of the exercises can be effectively initiated by issuing an OPORD. For example, a platoon leader might describe the tactical situation to the squad and then issue platoon order (OPORD or FRAGO) for conduct of the defense to the squad leader. The squad leader would then organize his squad, prepare it for combat, issue his order, and fight within the context of the EST exercise.

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