The smell of roasting goat and the dry earth floor beneath exquisite carpets is a constant reminder that "you are not in Kansas anymore." The Pashto words of the natives ring in morning air and the breeze shifts the simple qmis and shahwar of the men on their way to shura.


"It brings back the feeling of being in Afghanistan," said one officer who had served two tours. The sensory input overwhelmed the present and transported him to another time and place. For a soldier who was readying to go to Afghanistan for the first time, "It gives me a feeling of what it will be like. I'm trained, but this helped me understand the people aspect more."


Soldiers in this realistic training find that their adrenaline rushes when there are rumors of Taliban members infiltrating the village or shots fired during the night. "It's not real, but your body thinks it is. You get into the moment and it's not really 'playing' anymore."


Interacting with native Afghans is also a revelation. "They are a peace-loving people with a lot of honor in their traditions. Learning how to treat them is very valuable." Sitting in a shura and knowing when to speak and how to show respect are some of the skills learned in realistic training.


What We Do...

  • Develop highly complex training scenarios that accurately replicate specific areas of operation within the current theaters of war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa.
  • Create an authentic hyper immersive training environment specifically designed to allow the training audience a maximum number of opportunities to achieve its training objectives.
  • Train US Special Operations and conventional US Military Forces; over 5000 trained in 2010.

Take training to a new Playas Peak!


Capabilities and Capacities

  • Integration of joint tactical enablers supporting distributed operation
  • Joint distributed lethal and non-lethal combat operations
  • Airborne insertions (free fall and static line and heavy drop)
  • Air Assault insertions
  • Close air support (JTAC) training
  • Long distance communications
  • Sniper live fire and high angle live firing
  • Desert driving and land navigation techniques
  • Long distance cross-country land navigation training
  • Live demolitions training up to 10000 lbs explosives
  • MOUT in a western (US, Europe and Central and South America) environment
  • MOUT in an eastern (Iraq, Afghanistan, and Horn of Africa) environment
  • Rock climbing and desert survival techniques
  • Occupy COP in an eastern urban setting
  • Role player and Key leader engagements replicating shuras /jurgas found in Southwest and Central Asia and the Horn of Africa
  • High-altitude desert survival
  • Counter IED and Attack the Network training; replicating IED networks found in Iraq, Afghanistan, and HoA
  • Joint special operations mission training; mission specific pre-deployment training
  • Village Stability Operations (VSO)
  • Interagency integration within a tactical staff; non-lethal aspects of planning and executing combat operations
  • Computer network attack and network exploitation
  • Signals intelligence collection (GSM, PTT, and HPCP)
  • Human intelligence collection (Military Source Operations, Recruited Sources, Tactical interrogations)
  • Law Enforcement Professional integration into staff operations
  • Instrumented AAR support with capture video and audio support available
  • On site, 10-60 seat, fully instrumented classrooms
  • SCIF supportable; classified work area available


What People Say...

-->"There was a flexible storyboard, unscripted events, and real third and fourth order effects."

-->"Training in a COIN environment provided us with a realistic situation in Afghanistan."

-->"Immersion in the realistic environment provided significantly more learning than a much greater time frame of traditional instruction."

Time in Playas -
helicoptor fire airborne helicoptor soldier medical soldiers army vehicles helicoptor landing helicoptor helicoptor light soldiers soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage soldier in wreckage

Click picture for slide show

Links and News


Angel Thunder

Video Explanation of Angel Thunder Exercise (AF Blue Tube)

Video Rescue (American Pedros 2010)

Photos (Shadowspear-Special Operations 2010)

Angel Thunder 2010 Kicks Off (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base 2010)

AT Trains Combat, Search and Rescue (US Air Force 2007)

Exercise or Action Movie? (Air Combat Command 2007)


Bulldog Bite Video (Bulldog Brigade 2010)

COIN Training (Ft. Bliss Monitor 2010)

Counter-Insurgency Video (World News Network 2010)

Afghan Village Article and Slideshow (Silver City Sun-News 2010)

Thinking Like Afghans (El Paso Times 2010)

Pictures of Exercise (Las Cruces Sun-News 2010)

“I look forward to a great future for America - a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.” -John F. Kennedy