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Simulated Urban Combat Area

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Or SUCA for short.

A Simulated Urban Combat Area is a very realistic simulation of an urban area, complete with realistic signage, buildings and other stuff like that.

These make good places for tricking the audience into thinking the heroes are about to die horribly. It can also be used for espionage training. Participants in these exercises usually use non-lethal weapons/equipment/techniques to make sure that they don't get hurt or killed, but can be a Deadly Training Area for those with No OSHA Compliance.

Sister Trope to Shooting Gallery, which tend to be smaller and indoors. Can be considered a subtrope of Fake Town.

Truth in Television, as some militaries/law enforcement agencies do make use of these as part of their training courses.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Early issues of Judge Dredd depicted cadets training in giant, indoor facilities that replicate the streets outside, complete with criss-crossing highways overhead!
  • Suicide Squad #1 opens with a terrorist attack by the Jihad at an American airport intended to assassinate the US president. The mission is a total success. It is then revealed that the attack was a training run conducted at a mockup of the airport constructed in Qurac, with actors hired to play the roles of the victims. Mind, nobody told them the ammunition and blades used by the assassins would be very, very real...
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: In preparation for his attack on earth Uvo had several scale city blocks of New York, Paris and London constructed and then filled with unarmed manacled prisoners in order to test out their planned attacks on the real cities in question.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Discworld fanfic Why and Were, it is revealed that Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch has provided such a training facility for recruit Watch members, at his own expense. This is nicknamed "Toytown", possibly by multiversal resonance with the British Army version (below).

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Expendables 2 has the heroes bivouac in one of these in Eastern Europe while tracking down the Sang, then get ambushed by them the following morning. The fake town resembles a fairly accurate idyllic American cityscape from the 70s, including an actually-working jukebox in the fake diner.
  • Red Nightmare warns the American public that behind the Iron Curtain, an exact replica of small town America is being used to train Dirty Communists to infiltrate and take over your country!
  • After X-Men: The Last Stand's past prologue, the X-Men are fighting an off-screen enemy (a Sentinel) in a burned-out urban wasteland. After Wolverine and Colossus take it down with a Fastball Special, the Danger Room is deactivated and the session ends.

  • Alex Rider is trained in a Scorpia SUCA in the Alex Rider book Scorpia.
  • A training place for KGB spies and saboteurs, with mock-ups of many areas of the West, is the source of the climax of The Bourne Ultimatum.
  • There are a couple of these in CHERUB, including an SAS training facility near the campus, and an American version where a group of the kids are part of the Red Team against American military personnel.
  • The Jack Higgins novel Confessional starts with an IRA terrorist being captured during an attempt to plant a bomb. He then kills his captors, only for it to be revealed he's a KGB assassin in a simulation of an Irish village.
  • The third book of The Hunger Games trilogy features Katniss training for the invasion of the Capitol in one of these called the Block in District 13
  • My Vampire Older Sister and Zombie Little Sister features a virtual reality simulation of Kukyou City in its first volume. Erika and Ayumi use it in a battle to determine which is superior: vampire or zombie.
  • The New Jedi Order novel Star By Star featured two facilities of this sort. One was built for the YVH-class droids, and was accurate down to the "pedestrians" (actually weapons techs, who knew the droid wouldn't target them) - and absolutely no challenge whatsoever for the YVH. The other was designed to train voxyn and included not just buildings and walkways but (nonfunctional) vehicles, aircraft, and even a wrecked AT-AT, along with a sizable slave population to play the "residents".
  • The "rent-a-terrorists" of Erewhon in Role of Honour have an area of houses called The Charnel, which is used as a training ground against anti-terrorist attacks.

    Live Action TV 
  • Although it's another training place for spies, Alias features a mock-up of a US town in Russia.
  • Danger Man: In "Colony Town", British communists are disappearing behind the Iron Curtain. Drake follows their trail to a replica of a British town used to acquaint Russian infiltrators with British ways.
  • The Grand Tour uses the KASOTC (see the Real Life section below) as the grounds for a challenge for the presenters: they must get a VIP off a hijacked airliner to safety. But, if any of them die, they have to start the entire mission over again. Clarkson, Hammond, and May adequately demonstrate several times they are TV presenters and not trained military or law enforcement personnel.
  • The JAG episode "Force Recon", filmed on location at Camp Pendelton.
  • Mission: Impossible: In "The Carriers", in order to stop an expert in American traditions, slang, and customs from conducting his plan of bacteriological warfare against the U.S. and to put him permanently out of business, the IMF team infiltrates a mock-up of an American town located behind the Iron Curtain where enemy agents learn to act as Americans.
  • Star Trek's holodecks, which can recreate any environment, are often used for combat training. Such as with Voyager'' trying to get the hunt-happy Hirogen to use a SUCA.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One encounter in the Paranoia adventure "Paranoid Clones in Savory Vulture Stew" takes place in a military training course like this, designed to simulate an ambush. The PCs are not informed there will be an ambush.
  • Warhammer 40,000: One of the Tau codexes has an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor making a diplomatic visit to a Tau world. The Tau dignitary coincidentally leads him past a training area full of drilling Fire Warriors that just happens to bear great resemblance to a gutted Imperial city, with mock-up burned and wrecked vehicles that look suspiciously like Imperial Guard tanks.

    Video Games 
  • America's Army basically uses this for half of its maps. Now, since the players effectively make each map a warzone, there are very few civilians around. Those that are still in the area are usually hostages.
  • The Call of Duty series often uses these as tutorial sections or as a Danger Room Cold Open.
    • A SUCA simulating the Camp David compound is used in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to introduce the player to Mitchell's ATLAS-supplied equipment and foreshadow the issues with his mechanical arm.
    • In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Woods and Bell fight through a Soviet training area modeled after an American small town, much like the mythical example in the Real Life section.
  • The Game Boy Color version of Perfect Dark.
  • Hitman (2016) opens with Agent 47 being trained by the ICA through recreations of previous assassinations conducted by the organization. Contained inside what appear to be decommissioned missile silos, the sets are constructed of fairly simple materials but are carefully designed to simulate the environment of each historical assassination (a party at a docked yacht and a Cuban airstrip, respectively), with a horde of actors filling in for the named characters, guards and civilians. The weapons involved are "simulated", though that doesn't stop 47 from subjecting the actors to all manner of unpleasant fates (including, canonically, the second assassination target being launched from of a very real jetplane ejector seat and out of the silo, seemingly to his actual death).

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!, with Stan's job at the CIA, features this. Witty comments are graded.
  • In the Galaxy Rangers episode "Supertroopers," Shane was spending a lot of time in one of these, avoiding his hostile fellow Supertroopers. It was because he was spending so much time there that he avoided getting dosed with the Psycho Serum Wheiner circulated in the barracks.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold had a Batman Cold Open where he was training the Outsiders this way.
  • On Invader Zim, Zim can apparently pull this off with holograms, as seen in "GIR Goes Crazy and Stuff." It includes a holographic Dib that uses Hulk Speak.

    Real Life 
  • The British Army maintains a whole mocked-up small town for training soldiers in urban combat. Nicknamed "Toytown" by generations of Toms, it has gone through three distinct incarnations in its lifecycle. It began as a simulation of the sort of small German town in which the British Army of the Rhine might expect to be fighting the Russians. The buildings took a corresponding amount of damage as intensive training was given in knocking holes in walls to move under cover, planting mines, booby traps and IED's, and generally blowing things up. It became equally important to train troops in low-intensity patrolling and fighting, so it took on a more Northern Irish aspect over time. Most recently, it was given makeover as a vaguely Middle Eastern town, complete with mock-mosque.
    • The S.A.S. maintains a smaller but more detailed training area, known as "the killing house", at its Hereford base.
  • Almost all law enforcement agencies have simulated urban towns/cities to train their special police units as part of their training.
  • There's a Cold War Urban Legend (that inspired several of the above examples) that the KGB had simulated American streets/towns/cities (it varies) in secret locations which were used for the training of spies infiltrating the United States, teaching them to be perfect Americans in every way. Actual 'illegals' were more likely to get around this problem by posing as immigrants from European countries, so a detailed background check or minor cultural mistake would not give them away, and get their training in a Boring, but Practical classroom.
  • The King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) in Amman, Jordan, used for counter-terrorism training. It also hosts the Annual Warrior Competition, a contest between over thirty special ops forces around the world.
  • The US military runs several facilities for urban training such as the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility in Fort Hood which replicates a Middle eastern village.
  • The Murai Urban Live Firing Facility in western Singapore has been in use by local forces as well as in joint-training urban exercises with foreign partners. In 2019, the Ministry of Defence announced the construction plans for a newer and even bigger urban ops centre named SAFTI City which will feature more realistic locations that better reflects the modern Singaporean heartlands such as high-rise flats, fake malls, bus interchanges, underground carparks and more.


Video Example(s):


Drone Training Video

Gentiane and Kalina watch AR team being put through their paces in a simulated urban area for CQB training.

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Example of:

Main / SimulatedUrbanCombatArea

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