EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Instead of using real-world weapons and Humvees, many soldiers at Fort Bliss now train virtually using the "Warriors Skills Trainer."
The system offers training on crew-level tasks such as mounted machine-gun firing.
It offers an immersive training environment that puts trainees in high-stress virtual scenarios.
Army combat veteran and certified trainer, Dunkain Manning says, "It helps the soldier prepare for combat. They can work on communication and get that down pat, they go from here to an actual range, that way they can qualify hopefully expert."
All the weapons are made with real parts and have realistic sounds and recoil, but don't fire real rounds. The system has fight simulators and realistic shoot-don't-shoot simulators, where users face off against active shooters.
The Army believes that this system reduces accidents and adds a layer of safety by limiting field maneuvers.
"You don't have to worry about accidents... its always a possibility... but no where near as much as if you're out in the training area moving around at night and around heavy vehicles and stuff cause they're just dangerous by nature, says Belknap."
Looking back on his own career, Belknap says, "I wish I'd had it when I was training soldiers as a non-commissioned officer myself in the army, but it just didn't exist."