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Recruits trial innovative marksmanship app

Army recruits have been trialling an innovative new system designed to dramatically enhance their marksmanship.

XCALIBR captures a soldier’s performance data during weapons training and provides analysis and feedback to allow individual and collective improvement in performance.

The trial at Catterick Infantry Training Centre aims to fully understand the benefits gained from using this technology by analysing live firing performance throughout their basic training.

Before the trial of this technology, it was not possible to objectively assess an individual’s performance during live firing. XCALIBR provides an understanding of how each soldier has performed and contributed to their team during training exercises.

It allows analysis of every single round fired, showing how marksmanship principles have been followed, from positioning and technique to other factors such as wind values and what effect was had on the target of that round. Data taken before, during and after firing is then reviewed to understand which areas the soldiers need to focus on improving.

Major Lipowski, SO2 Combat Training, Army Futures Directorate, said: “One of the key parts of Future Soldier is preparing our forces to fight. This system allows us to train our marksmanship skills better. If we shoot better, we’re more likely to defeat our adversaries.

This system allows us to train our marksmanship skills better. Major Lipowski,
SO2 Combat Training,
Army Futures Directorate

“The trial has gone really well. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the recruits and training teams. We’ve been working very closely with our industry partner to better understand the system and what we can do with it, integrating it and how we can use it across the Army.

“The most exciting part is the next phase of the trial where we’ll do a lot of comparison to see how the system improves the marksmanship of individuals as they progress through training.”

Private Farrington, C Company, 1st Infantry Training Battalion, said: “I’ve been using the XCALIBR system for the past 12 weeks. You get given a Mantis system which connects to the top of your rifle and that’s connected to your phone via an app.

“When you’re in position it tracks all your movements. Everything from whether you’re snatching the trigger to your groupings landing on the target.

“I’ve found it very useful because it’s able to tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong. You can go into the app and really go into details such as whether you need to adjust your targeting slightly, if you’re shouldering the rifle, pulling with your supporting hand and so on, so from there, it’s really easy to develop.

“Also, if you’re taking it from the position of watching your forward shot, that’s much easier. In some ranges you can’t see where you’ve gone off the target if you’re not quick enough and haven’t got a spotter but with this you can see on your phone exactly where the round has gone.

This app has really helped my marksmanship skills. Private Farrington,
C Company, 1st Infantry Training Battalion

“This app has really helped my marksmanship skills. Before, you’d maybe have one Section Commander between four people trying to help everyone. Now we have complete and accurate data.”

The programme is being delivered by Cervus and funded by The MoD’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).

Alan Roan, Cervus Managing Director, said: “DASA has been fundamentally important to deliver this trial because it has provided us with the funding to take an idea we had three years ago and put it into the hands of the end user. The only way innovation works is if we get that feedback to make a technology useful.”