It seems that a bit of tension, or at least miscommunication, is quite common between pilots in the Air Force and Army soldiers holding it down on the western front. As we can all imagine, if communication during a live combat situation is anything less than flawless, things could turn ugly fairly quick. The Joint Air-Ground Operations Group, better known in military circles as JAGOG, is an outfit that addresses both Army ground patrols and Air Force squads to sync up communication patterns that tend to falter under the pressures of combat. It instructs ground units how to best communicate their current position and status, as well as giving them more effective ways to integrate airborne friendlies into their operations. On the flip side, Air Force units are taught how to best interpret ground commands so they can zero in on the targets at hand, basically ensuring a "Who's on first?" debacle doesn't give the enemy an edge. The newest tool at JAGOG's disposal is a 360-degree dome-shaped simulator, which drops students into a virtual "Iraq-esque scenario" featuring lightning-quick moving targets that leave you little choice but to give accurate and precise instructions to the trigger-happy pilots overhead if you want to evade serious injury. The student is tasked with spotting the target and guiding a fighter pilot in to eradicate the threat, thus putting a sense of urgency on getting this communication gig down that textbooks just don't deliver. Currently the simulator is stationed at the Air Force lab in Mesa, Arizona, but should be making the rounds to other facilities soon -- we figure if the military really needs a new way to recruit these days, a 30 second clip of this in action might help get things moving, or at least do a better job of getting the message across.

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JAGOG's combat scenario simulator