Driving simulator bolsters readiness for Connecticut Guard

  • Published
  • By Airman Emme Drummond
  • 103rd Airlift Wing

The 103rd Airlift Wing at Bradley Air National Guard Base is using computer-generated imagery (CGI) to enhance readiness.

In 2021, the wing used innovation funds to purchase a driving simulator. The simulator, used by members of multiple units in the Connecticut National Guard, enables members to practice driving maneuvers in various military vehicles through different courses and scenarios. The simulator helps airmen and soldiers become more comfortable driving large vehicles, such as fuel trucks, which are common in many units across the Guard.
“...You can simulate basically every vehicle we have on base, whether it’s a fuel truck, a box truck, and all different kinds of tractor trailers,” explained Senior Master Sgt. Michael Mungavin, distribution superintendent assigned to the 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron.

The simulator is capable of programming forty different vehicles with automatic and manual transmissions. The level of gears is also interchangeable depending on the vehicle chosen. There are multiple driving courses to practice on, including a defensive driving course, nighttime driving, and winter driving.

“…I’ve noticed more things on the road, you’re actually paying more attention, believe it or not, so I think that is a huge benefit of [the simulator],” said Mungavin.

The versatility of the simulator helps support the multi-capable airmen concept of training airmen to be competent in skills outside of their air force specialty. Bradley, being the only base in New England to have this technology, allows neighboring units to conduct training using the simulator.

“There’s all these different units that could come and benefit from it,” said Mungavin, “So getting them prepared and driving, that is a huge help for people.”

Aside from teaching valuable road skills, the simulator optimizes instruction time, allowing instructors to teach multiple people at once, compared to previous training sessions which only allowed a ratio of one instructor to one student. 

“…One person could just be in there on their own, getting training, while the trainers are actually driving with somebody else,” said Mungavin.

The simulator bolsters readiness for the many situations Connecticut Guard members may face, on base or in a deployed environment.