The Navy is testing a submarine simulator that could be used to teach students how to operate submarines in the event of a crisis.
The submarine simulator is part of a $2.4 billion program to upgrade and maintain the Navy’s fleet of surface combatants and other submarines.
A new simulator is being tested in the Seabrook complex at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.
It is being called the SeaVac, after the Virginia Sea-Vac submarine in the 1980s that had to be refitted and was later used to evacuate survivors after a nuclear missile exploded on board.
For decades, the Navy has been developing and testing new submarine systems, including one called the SuperSonov, which is a small-deck version of the Russian-designed VSS Super, which was retired in 2016.
Since its introduction in 2010, the new SeaVacs have been used in emergency operations to help evacuate personnel and evacuate equipment in case of a nuclear crisis.
The SeaVas have become a model for other countries to emulate, said Brian P. Miller, a defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“These submarines are very expensive to maintain, so the Navy is using them as a stepping stone to develop other submarine capabilities,” he said.
Miller said it is not known if the SeaVs will be able to be used as a simulator for the new simulators, but they have a proven track record.
In April, the Marine Corps ordered the first of two SeaVars.
That order followed the successful completion of the first SeaVec, a small submarine simulator built at Newport for the Marine Expeditionary Force, the Coast Guard and the Coast Marine Patrol.
On April 4, the first prototype of the SeaVS, a smaller version of SeaVAC, was successfully tested by the Navy.
As part of the test, the SeaVecs used a new navigation system and navigation equipment.
Officials say the Navy will test the SeaVEcs as part of its plan to develop new, smaller submarines for use in the Pacific.
There are plans for more SeaVocs to be built in the future.
The Navy is also working on a smaller, more flexible submarine, known as a submersible, to help it cope with the changing threats posed by emerging maritime threats like the North China Sea.
While the Navy and other nations are focused on the submarine simulators and the new submarine, the real focus is on how the Navy can better prepare for the next crisis, said David W. Wintemute, a former top official in the Navy under President Donald Trump.
Wintemutes, now a consultant and retired general, said he believed the Navy should be developing new types of weapons to counter the threat posed by submarines.
“I think it’s time to do something about this,” he told the Journal.
Experts said that while the Navy could still use some of its simulators for training purposes, there was little need to use them to prepare for a crisis, since they were already used to train other Navy units.
Navy officials told the paper that the new simulations will help students prepare for an event that could have a catastrophic effect on the Navy or the nation, such as a nuclear attack on a Navy base or nuclear detonation in a nearby sea.
They also hope that the simulation can help teach new recruits the importance of teamwork and how to use their common sense to survive in an emergency situation, Miller said.
“I think the simulator is a huge step for the Navy,” Miller said of the new simulation.
Some experts in the military and defense said that the Navy would benefit from using the Seavecs as a training tool.
According to Navy Capt. Brian S. Linnane, the program director for operations at the Navy Submarine School in Newport, the simulation would give young officers the chance to learn about the threats they face and to develop a better understanding of the Navy as a whole.
Linnane also said that it could also be used in emergencies to train sailors on how to respond to threats in the face of disasters.
“You can be in a nuclear war, or a nuclear power outage, and there’s no one you can rely on to say, ‘I’m coming out of this,'” he said, adding that the simulator could teach sailors how to survive without relying on others to help them.
Dan Riehl, the director of the Naval Sea Systems Command, the service’s top military department, said the simulator was “an important piece of the mission that we’re trying to accomplish.”
The Navy has a fleet of approximately 15,000 submarines, and a new SeaVec is expected to be ready for service by 2020, according to Navy officials.