Army training has traditionally been a “people-centered” requirement, but the introduction of new capabilities and the growing need to operate in joint space underscore the growing importance of the military. collective training.
In line with the Head of the Army’s “Accelerated War” and “Army on the Move” guiding principles, the Army is planning an almost complete upgrade of its combat capabilities. The Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) is now entering service and the military will introduce high-tech platforms such as the Apache attack helicopter, the AS9 / AS10 (SPH) self-propelled howitzer system, the Main Combat M1A2 Abrams (MBT), a tracked one infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and short range ground air defense system over the next decade.
Integrate all of these high performance platforms and systems into an ambitious digital battlefield management system (BMS), then integrate these capabilities with those of other services or armed forces, such as the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. and ISR resources, and Surface combatants equipped with Navy Aegis will be a significant challenge.
These advanced abilities also become more difficult to exercise to their limits in the real environment, either because the training zones are now too small or inadequate to provide the desired results, or because the ADF may not. wish to demonstrate its high-end capabilities. to exercise partners or observers. Therefore, the adoption of high fidelity simulation and its networking is increasingly essential to achieve desired training results.
However, the delivery of these results cannot be achieved by the military alone, and the defense industry is an important partner along the way. Two examples of the ongoing Defense-Industry collaboration underlying this work are Joint Project 9711 Phase 1, Core Simulation Capability (CSimC) and the Army Land Simulation Core 2.0 programs.
Army simulation centers
The Army is establishing simulation centers at several bases across the country to provide training to the docking station on many of its platforms and capabilities.
In February, for example, Defense Industry Minister Melissa Price announced a $ 31 million main contract with St Hilliers for the delivery of a purpose-built three-story armored vehicle simulation center in Lavarack Barracks in Townsville. The work is expected to be completed in mid-2022 and will support the training of the 3rd Brigade on the army’s tanks and enhanced armored fighting vehicles.
“The CRV Land 400 Boxer Phase 2 and VCI Phase 3 will represent a generational leap in the combat capability of the Australian Army. Together with the upgraded M1 tank and its engineered armored variants, these vehicles will provide world-class close combat capability for Australia, ”said Price. “These new vehicles will use high fidelity networked training simulators in new training centers ready for the future.”
Further work in Phase 1 of the Armored Fighting Vehicle Facility Program will provide facilities in the Puckapunyal Military Zone in Victoria and the Edinburgh Defense Zone in South Australia under separate contracts.
Basic simulation capability
Lockheed Martin Australia has partnered with NEC Australia and Australian SME Calytrix Technologies for the JP9711, having signed the $ 282 million contract in March 2019. The CSimC capability will deliver simulation-based group training through the ADF and provide a roadmap for establishing a basic software architecture. which will link the live, virtual and constructive (LVC) elements of training events.
Speaking upon signing the contract in 2019, then Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds said the program would form the core of future collective ADF training. “Defense’s current simulation capability allows for approximately ten simulation events per year,” said Reynolds. “Under JP9711, 50 events will be organized by the end of 2020 and more than 200 by the Final Operational Capability (FOC) in 2025.”
Despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, Lockheed Martin Australia announced the successful completion of preliminary design review (PDR) activities in July 2020. The work was carried out by Lockheed Martin’s program team based in Canberra and also in Orlando, Florida. “This result is a positive example of Australia’s growing sustainable sovereign industrial capacity, with our global teams working together to successfully plan and execute PDR software on schedule,” commented Lockheed Martin Australia CEO and New Zealand Joe North.
Supply of a terrestrial simulation system
Another fundamental element of the Army’s simulation roadmap is the Land Simulation Core 2.0 (LS Core 2.0) program, which aims to develop a scalable simulation system accessible on demand.
“LS Core 2.0 will address capability and personnel shortages within the Land Simulation System (LSS) to provide enhanced simulation effects at the military point of need,” Defense said. “It will achieve this by providing a managed suite of common simulation software, improving data warehouse functions and interoperability with Land Command, C3ISREW systems, and establishing a complementary contract workforce to support a Expanded Land Simulation Network (LSN) for national and coalition training beyond the scope of JP9711 / 1.
The purchasing aspect of LS Core 2.0 was split into two tranches and a call for tenders (RFT) for the first tranche, the acquisition of Common Simulation Software, which closed in October of last year. Tranche 1 oversees the acquisition of Common Simulation Software (CSS) under three separate packages, comprising Common Virtual Simulation, Common Constructive Tool Set, and Common Image Generator.
The model of the US military
As one of the primary services in the use of simulation, the U.S. Army is developing a service-wide synthetic training environment (STE) that aims to provide a training and rehearsal capability of collective and multi-level mission that brings together LVC elements in a unique training environment.
The STE is designed to facilitate “realistic, multi-echelon, multi-domain combined arms maneuvers and mission command, collective training live anywhere in the world”.
In August, the Australian company Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) announced that it had been subcontracted by Cole Engineering Services (CESI) to provide components of the Training Simulation Software / Training Management Tools (TSS / TMT) program of the US Army. As part of the contract, BISim will supply its VBS4, VBS Blue IG and VBS World servers as part of the overall solution. The TSS / TMT component provides the core software capabilities of the global STE.
BISim COO Peter Morrison said the Newcastle-based company has been working with the US military on its STE program since 2016 and as prime contractor for CESI has developed a prototype for a cloud-based virtual world training capability.
“TSS / TMT is a brigade level capability and the US military wants to put the entire brigade, from the brigade staff to combat soldiers, in the simulation,” Morrison explained. “They want to increase the number of what they call ‘bloodless battles’, the brigade-level training activities they conduct every year. They can do this in simulation and brigades will only go out into the field once they reach a certain skill level and deploy once they are proven ready to deploy.
Morrison says the U.S. military is also leading the transition of simulation technology to the cloud. “They are really looking to provide ‘Google Earth’ or ‘Bing Maps‘ capability for simulated operations, all cloud-ready (and) accessible via any computer on their network,” he added. “STE’s cloud technologies give us tremendous processing power, we can do one to two million entities in simulation and we’ve demonstrated that to the US military through prototyping. “
The Australian military, as well as those of Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, currently use BISim’s VBS3 software. A recent example of the interoperability benefits that a common approach enables, is the licensing of VBS3 to individual soldiers of the Australian Army and the UK’s Royal Yeomanry Regiment, allowing them to conduct joint training during COVID-19 containment.
The U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and at least one European nation have purchased BISim’s VBS4 software, which allows training to be conducted at virtual locations around the world, rather than in the relatively small areas offered by the previous VBS3 product.
“The US military was looking for the next generation of games to train because it had an obligation to go anywhere on the planet and train in simulation,” said Morrison. “VBS4 is a virtual environment all over the Earth, the software includes a representation of the entire planet and you can go anywhere and start training immediately. “
Join the dots
Current Australian Army simulation centers are ideal for training brigades or home stations, but Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand Business Development Manager David Fallon believes that there is a need to broaden the scope to include specialized elements of the army reserve or units in areas that may not have access to a brigade simulation center.
“One of the tool sets that we have identified from our experience in the United States in training home stations in support of the Reserve or National Guard, is the ability to access reconfigurable trainers that can be deployed anywhere, ”said Fallon. “We see an opportunity in Australia for a fairly simple and reconfigurable virtual trainer that can be deployed anywhere, can be connected to the network and allow multiple units to be trained from different locations.”
While this is never the complete answer to readiness training or mission rehearsal per se – soldiers will still experience physical fatigue and environmental stresses caused by temperature for example – simulation is a crucial enabler. capacity in the terrestrial domain.