The new scenario on the Surface Warfare Officer School bridge simulator takes radar data, ship tracks and other open source information and recreates for SWOS students the experience of being on the bridge of the destroyer when it collided with ACX Crystal.

The simulation serves as a tactical primer and wants to change the culture that made collisions like that of Fitzgerald and fatal August collision of USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) possible.

The work on the prototype follows a simulation staple at SWOS, about the 2012 collision of USS Porter (DDG-78) in the Persian Gulf.

For about 30 minutes, students watch on a 360-degree bridge simulator in Newport, R.I., as the guided-missile destroyer Porter (DDG-78) sailed the Strait of Hormuz on August 12, 2012, and cuts across the bow of two oil tankers, unaware of the positions of the two larger ships, before the destroyer collides with one of the two tankers.

The students see representations of the tankers moving closer to the warship, and they can hear the recordings from the bridge as a confused crew attempts to clear out of the way of the massive merchant ships.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran said:


Those are very impactful training opportunities, but we just have to get that training out to everybody. Right now we’ve got it in one simulator, but that simulation should be available to everyone who drives ships for a living, and I think what I took away from that experience is the absolute value of having a team that’s working together.