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30 November 2014

I/ITSEC 2014: Simulation and Training Bosses (SATB) Series - Selected Industrial Views

On the occasion of I/ITSEC, MILITARY TECHNOLOGY publishes the Annual Simulation and Training Bosses (SATB) Series that conveys the thoughts and messages of the world’s defence simulation and training leaders, according to the question, “What is your view of the general theme 'Simulation Saves Money,' and that many sorts of peacetime multi-unit, multi-role and multi-national training can only be done by using networked simulation.”


Alenia Aermacchi

The In years flight simulators saved and save lives, time and, as a matter of fact, money. This is true for civil as well as for militaries flight simulators. As members of a top player aerospace defense company, our business and experience is mainly focused on military fast-jet pilot training. Full Mission Simulators, Flight Training Devices, Part Task Trainers, Procedure Training Devices, Computer Based Trainers all these devices, defined by different level of fidelity with respect to the real aircraft, support students pilot in their daily training tasks providing a remarkable level of realism.  

M-346 simulator (Photo: Finmeccanica)
Simulators make possible try, in a safe manner, costly and dangerous activities at an affordable cost.
Military organizations today are really sensitive to flight simulators since they understood the benefits of such fairly costly technological devices, capable to “replicate the response” of 5TH generation fighters which are typically very expensive to operate. In addition, modern concept of operations ask for airborne platforms interoperability. US and their NATO and non-NATO allies, spend huge amount of time and resources to train people in complex operations using real platforms.
In less recent past years, thanks to advancements in technology, military organizations established networked training centers to use in cooperation training resources (simulators), physically distributed over a territory, in order to simulate the modern complex scenarios without the costs and constraints of deploying physical units in the field. Even if a common standard in communication data exchange protocols between the participants is not been defined yet, nevertheless a good level of interoperability was already achieved.

In more recent past years, in order to improve training realism but keeping the costs still affordable, a new training concept has been developed: the Live-Virtual-Constructive (Several definitions are used to categorise LVC environment since the degree of a human participation in a simulation is infinitively variable. Here the following taxonomy is adopted: Live - involving real people operating real systems (e.g. a pilot flying a jet); Virtual - involving real people operating simulated systems. (e.g. a pilot flying a simulator); Constructive - involving simulated systems (e.g. CGF)). Basically, some live entities have been included into the virtual and constructive exercises. No doubts, even if the outcomes are preliminaries, about the training benefits achieved thanks to their presence and that is the reason in encouraging LVC (Live-Virtual-Constructive) further developments and tests.          
It is important to note that LVC scenarios are based on aerial network infrastructures, which must have performance, in terms of bandwidth and latency, adequate to support the huge amount of data the participants exchange among them, regardless the type, Live, Virtual or Constructive.
In this LVC field is where Alenia Aermacchi has performed in the last years big steps toward standard production and delivery, readily testing the technological integration and syllabus use cases to prove the new Training Paradigm.



Bob Gower, Vice President, Boeing Training Systems and Government Services (Photo: Boeing)
The expense and complexity of large scale, real world training exercises can be prohibitive. That is why Boeing continues to invest in and deliver the technologies that make ground-based simulation of dissimilar-type, multi-force training routine for warfighters in the United States and around the world.
Simulator-based training has saved countless dollars for our customers by transferring learning tasks from live flights in real aircraft to equipment on the ground with far lower costs of operation. As we continue to inject new technologies into our systems, we expect it to become even easier to do more of that.

We have also made significant advances in the field of Integrated-Live, Virtual and Constructive (I-LVC) training. We demonstrated that technology internationally for the first time in October, building on several live flights that we had conducted previously. Our customers have shown tremendous interest in the ability to blend live flight training with synthetic and simulated threats. We expect I-LVC to be a critical part of future military training, including joint-force and mixed-fleet training exercises.

C-17 Weapon System Trainer used routinely by Boeing's customers for networked training operations. (Photo: Boeing)
In the meantime, Distributed Mission Operations (DMO) capability remains a workhorse technology for our customers at training centres around the world. Boeing has been delivering DMO expertise since 1997, and we are at the forefront of defining, developing and deploying distributed, joint and coalition training solutions for military customers worldwide.

Boeing’s training centres enable that kind of mission rehearsal for multiple platforms, including F-15, F-16, F-22, C-17, AH-64, and V-22. Boeing also provides networking capabilities for DMO-type training on other systems, including those for C-5, C-17, and KC-10, as well as the Finnish F-18 aircrew training systems and DMO-capable systems for the Royal Saudi Air Force. Boeing has also delivered the APACHE LONGBOW Collective Training System and numerous APACHE LONGBOW Crew Trainers equipped with networking capability in support of the US Army’s collective training initiatives.

Of course, the need for live flight training will never completely disappear, but ground-based training solutions – including networked simulation – are clearly valuable and cost-effective means of generating the readiness our customers require.



Gene Colabatistto, Group President, Defence & Security, CAE (Photo: CAE)
CAE firmly believes that the increased and more efficient use of simulation is part of the solution to lowering costs and saving money, and just as importantly, doing so without sacrificing readiness or capability for the warfighter.  The savings that can be achieved using simulation-based training has become almost self-evident, and I cannot think of a government or defence force anywhere in the world that would argue that simulation does not offer compelling benefits.  It is pretty well understood that it is much less expensive to put someone into a simulator than a real aircraft, tank or other weapon system. That being said, we fully understand that not all military training can be conducted in simulation, and part of the challenge for defence forces is finding the right balance of live and virtual training.  But, undoubtedly, that balance is trending to the increased use of simulation-based training because of its many advantages in terms of cost-effectiveness, safety, and ability to accelerate experience.

CAE recently networked the Royal Australian Air Force’s C-130J full-flight mission simulator and C-130J tactical airlift crew trainer so pilots and loadmasters could train in a common virtual environment. (Photo: CAE)
Simulation has proven itself to be very effective at developing proficiency for individual pilots, soldiers, and sailors, and it has become widely accepted for simulation systems to support crew training.  For example, CAE has developed a number of naval helicopter training solutions that include training systems for the pilots as well as rear-crew sensor operators where the training devices are networked to provide a common virtual environment for the mission crew.  But using simulation for large-scale virtual exercises involving multiple platforms, joint services and even coalition allies has been less commonplace, and we believe the networking and interoperability of training systems for these types of large-scale exercises will grow over the next five years.

Militaries understand that it is becoming increasingly important and cost-effective to have integrated, interoperable, and networked training systems so that collective, joint, and coalition training can be done in a virtual environment.  It is simply cost-prohibitive to bring together all the resources required for live exercises, which means the virtual world becomes necessary in order to train like you will fight.  One of the challenges then becomes a technical one in bringing disparate training systems together in a common virtual environment.  Integration, interoperability and networkability are much more difficult without open, industry standards, so we believe governments and defence forces should be continuing to demand non-proprietary systems moving forward.   CAE is a strong proponent of standards, such as the Common Database (CDB), which can help accelerate the use of virtual training for distributed mission operations.


The DiSTI Corporation

Joe Swinski, President The DiSTI Corporation (Photo: The DiSTI Corporation)
 For far too long hardware-based training solutions in the form of retired aircraft or purpose built hardware trainers were the norm for training maintainers. These training devices are expensive to procure, difficult to maintain, and diverge from the baseline aircraft as new blocks are fielded. Today’s computing power allows us to create compelling, immersive, and interactive 3-D maintenance training solutions that forego the need for an all hardware-based solutions. These virtual solutions are fielded at a fraction of the cost of the hardware-based counterparts and yield a much richer training experience if they are developed correctly.  Development of these environments entails much more than simply loading a detailed 3-D model of an aircraft into a game engine and rendering the output.

DiSTI F-16 VMT Demonstrator Pilot Avatar. (Screenshot: DiSTI)

For the past decade, The DiSTI Corporation has focused on how to create these virtual maintenance environments in an efficient semi-autonomous fashion with requirement traceability from the virtual objects back to the maintenance procedure that necessitated their development. The result is VE STUDIO, DiSTI’s new COTS packaging of our Virtual Environment Software Development Kit (VESDK). VE STUDIO encompasses DiSTI’s patented process for risk free development of virtual maintenance applications and associated productivity tools.

To date this tool chain has developed dozens of environments for maintenance trainers ranging across a variety of platforms including jet fighters, cargo aircraft, surveillance aircraft, attack and cargo helicopters, unmanned drones, naval vessels, submersibles, and tactical vehicles. Among the many benefits of these training devices is the ability for maintenance personnel to work in teams, just as they will on the flight line. The environments allow the maintainer to work with fully autonomous teammates or networked with other live maintainers. The success of this approach has proven itself time and again over the past decade, most notably in F-35 Aircraft Systems Maintenance Trainer (ASMT) where maintainers were learning how to repair the aircraft before the first squadrons were even fielded.


ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH

Christoph Weber, Executive Vice President Aerosystems Division, ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH  (Photo: ESG)
Against the background of stagnating budgets or even budgets cuts and the decreasing numbers of available weapon systems, the importance of innovative and efficient simulation and training solutions is increasing rapidly.

In order to fulfil our customers` needs regarding efficient and effective training as well as continuous practice of basic operations and mission procedures in challenging multi-national deployments ESG counts on innovative and trend-setting technologies.

Based on our competencies and fifty years of experience in civil and military business, ESG is the reliable partner to support its customers in all areas of simulation and training with sophisticated services and solutions ranging from the development to the operation of mission-oriented simulation systems.

Helicopter Pilot Screening System. (Photo: ESG)
ESG´s portfolio covers computer-based and web-based training, part-task trainers, procedure & maintenance trainers and flight training devices as well as engineering simulators. The trendsetting element of our simulation solutions is the integration of virtual and augmented reality into established network centric warfare systems and the networking of different simulators for joint & combined missions to achieve highest training efficiency. This enables ESG to create made-to-measure solutions and capabilities for the sensor-to-shooter and troop support network. By using the most modern multi-media technologies available, we achieve a methodological diversity and user-oriented flexibility. ESG employs modular and scalable systems that can be adapted easily and flexibly. These are based on comprehensive experience gained during operations. Commercially available and proven components and technologies are one key for success in this area. The simulation framework developed by ESG, for example, offers a huge advantage regarding future solutions.

Examples of ESG’s capabilities include a Joint Fire Support Procedure Trainer, a Helicopter Pilot Screening System, a Cockpit Procedure Trainer for MK88A Sea Lynx marine helicopter, Cockpit Procedure Trainers for the upgraded version of CH-53 transport helicopter, a training system for fuel operator of the A310 MRTT tanker aircraft as well as simulators to accompany and support the development and improvement of the UH-TIGER, CH-53GA, TORNADO, A400M and the C-160 TRANSALL.

ESG is the reliable partner of the armed forces for efficient and sophisticated solutions in training and simulation.



Cory Kumm, Worldwide Director of Military & Simulation, Havok (Photo: Havok)
It is commonly understood in the defence community the key benefits of using simulation for training. Safe training environments, an ability to train more frequently, and cost savings compared to live training are all clear benefits of digital training environments. Yet there are also additional benefits and experiences that would be impossible without modern simulation technology.

There is a rising trend of video game based technologies being adopted by the simulation community. These solutions can provide highly realistic and immersive physics-based training while running on standard PCs, even for multi-channel environments, allowing users to train on a variety of platforms including sophisticated simulators. Due to the consumer focus of such software, tremendous numbers of very demanding end-users continually push for the addition of new yet robust graphical features, which inherently keeps these technologies at the cutting edge of development solutions. The nature of videogame development also mandates that these technologies be open and modular with effective workflows using standard file formats. These result in simulation developers now having options for the development of high quality and high performance simulations at ever decreasing costs from both a software and a hardware perspective compared with traditional simulation technologies.

Screenshot of the Havok Simulation Framework in action. (Screenshot: Havok)
There are also instances where the use of flexible multi-user simulation technology is really the only practical method of training. Consider an example in which multiple nations with multiple roles aim to prepare for a multinational incident. Flying a large number of multi-nationals to a single location for training can be a logistical burden making such an event an infrequent and expensive undertaking. Simulation technology however can increase the training frequency, which increases the level of preparedness. This is especially true for those technologies that can be used in multiuser (player) types of environments or technologies currently being adapted to function on today’s myriad selection of portable devices, realising the potential of on demand training literally anywhere.

Simulations already save money, but the right simulation technologies can allow for even greater cost-savings compared to traditional methods, as well as increased quality, capability and flexibility that our end-users demand.



Dan Schimmel, CEO VT MÄK (Photo: VT MÄK)
Simulation absolutely saves money - it always has and always will. “Faster, better, cheaper” is one of the oldest mantras for military procurement and it has never been more relevant to military training and simulation than right now. Additionally, state-of-the-art simulation offerings must not make significant compromises when it comes to high-fidelity realism, extensibility, and adaptability. The bar is high and the challenge is great.

The very nature of new battle preparation requirements suggests that a well-architected networked simulation is not only the most cost-effective, but often is the only realistic solution to this challenge. Standalone and part-task trainers for individuals in singular domains are mature technologies. These are proven time- and money-savers compared to the high cost of live training.

(Photo: VT MÄK)
However, the environment in which these solutions must deliver is now much more complex. Threats in emerging theatres of battle are ever more sophisticated, requiring an integrated and coordinated plan of attack across units, domains, roles, and national borders. At the same time, global budgets and timeframes for training results are shrinking. There are fewer personnel in all branches of the military, meaning all forces must be more cross-trained and multifaceted in preparation for more rotation and joint operations.

Much of this burden has traditionally fallen on simulation staff at standalone mission training complexes. The number of resident technicians and support personnel at these training centres is shrinking, sometimes dramatically.

A well-designed, compelling network simulation is a great answer to these challenges. A more open, plug-and-play interoperability model offers the lowest-cost, highest-productivity approach to doing more with less. The advantages are numerous:  each individual trainee or small unit retains the convenience and efficiency of training at their home station, regardless of their role or domain. The architecture scales beautifully across regions and national boundaries. It allows all participants to become quick learners and efficient instructors or role players. It requires a leaner hardware, software, and staffing footprint. And, it is especially suited to more complex joint operations with all the required synchronisation and coordination.

There is more upfront system-of-simulation-systems planning required for these complex training scenarios. But, with current open standards for how applications connect, and decreasing costs for underlying technology and networking, it is an achievable reality; the total simulation costs will be far lower with much more bang for the buck in the end training product.


Meggitt Training Systems

Ron Vadas, President of Meggitt Training Systems (Photo: Meggitt Training Systems)

Global defence budgets continue to shrink, yet demand for personnel and equipment grows. This fact alone will force defence agencies to train more efficiently.

Utilising a combined weapons, virtual simulation strategy, soldiers can train on small arms up to crew-served weaponry. Meggitt’s BLUEFIRE wireless weapons meet the form, fit, function and accurate ballistics of live weapons without the full burden of maintenance and ammunition costs. Not only is there a benefit from cost savings, but multiple studies have shown the value of marksmanship and full immersion training where personnel experience the same stress realized in theatre, all within a simulated training environment.

Meggitt Training Systems’ FATS® M100 virtual system provides a flexible, configurable platform, which can be easily adapted to suit the company’s global customers training needs. (Photo: Meggitt Training Systems)
The procurement cost of simulated training systems and translation to savings can be amortised in a period of as little as one to three years, depending on the size of the force, frequency of system usage, and policies to ensure their usage in support to training. In fact, studies verify simulator training costs can be one-tenth of the investment of actual field training exercises.

Research demonstrates that the degree of fidelity in a simulator is closely linked to training effectiveness.  Additionally, the transfer of training from a simulator to a real-world task is greater when simulation conditions effectively match those of the actual task. The more similar the stimulus and the corresponding response elements, the greater the potential for the positive transfer of training, in the form of what is often referred to as muscle memory.

Manufacturers and trainers agree that virtual training will continue to grow given the costly alternative of live-fire training and the continuous improvement of simulated training.

Multi-unit, multi-national training within a globally-networked simulated training environment will be the operating standard within the next five years,” according to Larry Raines, Vice President Virtual Systems, Meggitt Training Systems. “Live-fire still will remain a requirement, but networked simulation training allows large-scale, highly targeted training in a cost-efficient, non-lethal environment.”



Bob Williams, Vice president, Raytheon's Global Training Solutions (Photo: Raytheon)

In this time of constrained defence budgets, virtual, constructive, and gaming become more and more important as they save money, can be safer than live training, save equipment, and can provide scenario development for large, multi-role and multi-unit exercises more cost effectively than live training.  This is not to say that the other domains can fully replace live training, but they can be effective and efficient adjuncts.

Virtual, constructive, and gaming technologies allow the soldier to train in environments that can’t be performed live.  A good example is a vehicle or aircraft rollover trainer.  In the virtual environment, soldiers and airmen can be safely trained on how to react in a rollover situation.  Gaming can also be used very effectively for mission rehearsals in denied or high-threat environments.

Military equipment also becomes more expensive as it increases in capability and age.  The main battle tanks of today are far more sophisticated than those of sixty years ago, and commensurately more expensive to maintain.  Weapons systems are being held in service for far longer; many front-line aviation assets such as the B-52 have been in service for more than 50 years.  Simulation saves these systems from additional wear and tear as well as on fuel, transportation, and additional maintenance personnel costs.

Simulation can also be used to develop scenarios that tie multiple simulation systems together. Raytheon's work on the US Army's Warfighter Field Operations and Customer Support (FOCUS) contract makes full use of simulation in multi-role, multi-unit exercises.  Raytheon has supported live training at the U.S. Army’s combat training facilities since 1994 by helping to create realistic battlefield conditions and live-fire exercises that simulate what soldiers can expect to encounter on the battlefield. Simulating large, multi-unit engagements and linking those with supporting fires, other maneuver elements and red force actions both expands the range of scenario options available to test the units and adds realism to the live training.

The future of training must blend live, virtual constructive and gaming technologies in similar fashion.  Leveraging technology in ways that save scarce resources, maximize creativity by re-creating the chaos of the battlefield, and networking allies, coalition and joint forces will both enhance readiness and ensure best value.


Reiser Simulation and Training GmbH

Frank Thieser, Director Business Development & Strategy, Reiser Simulation and Training GmbH (Photo: Reiser)

When our forces deploy to operations, they need to be prepared for any situation they might encounter. The variety of situations faced during training, will determine the efficiency and effectiveness during operations. Simulation based training is answers this need. In addition to substituting live training, simulation technology enables us to immerse ourselves in situations, which are impossible to train live.

G120TP Cockpit. (Photo: Reiser)

When it comes to cost and saving money, the method of calculation first comes into question. While comparing e.g. real flight hour prices with simulator hourly rates for a specific type of aircraft suffices for a civil aircraft operator, this method alone is not appropriate for military or other governmental entities. Looking at the specificities in the military domain, the added value of being able to train scenarios which are impossible to train in reality have to be part of the equation. The calculation actually ends after the real mission is accomplished – not just by looking at the training part.

As almost every military operation is different, training for the unknown is key. And for these various types of possible scenarios, we need scalable and dynamic simulation environments. If multinational teams have to succeed together, they must have the chance to train together. A simulation environment which can be created on demand by linking individual systems is one possible answer.
In order to develop the required technology for secure networks, robust simulation hardware and software, as well as common interfaces and standards, we need smart engineering and software development skills. But more importantly, the engineers involved in creating this technology must understand the entire operational context in which our customers operate.



Ir. Chris Haarmeijer, CEO RE-liON (Photo: RE-liON)
The air domain has always been a pioneer in the use of simulation: flying an aircraft is not cheap, and in freedom of movement in operating the aircraft, pilots are so limited that the use of simulation is almost a no-brainer. Essentially the same goes for vehicles though operating vehicles is less expensive, and simulation therefor is not always a – direct – money-saver. No doubt, in also in the manufacturing on these platforms, important money-savers are to be gained with simulation.

RE-liON Small Unit Immersive Trainer (SUIT) (Photo: RE-liON)
In the dismounted area, the domain of infantry and Special Forces, live simulation has been there for some time. Virtual simulation has been considered too difficult and too expensive: The freedom of all movements of the trainee is impossible to simulate and hey, what are the costs of a pax running in the bush, right? Well, if you look at the 'total cost of ownership' of an operator, the costs do add up quite rapidly, e.g.:

  • Assessment, 
  • Education,
  • Training,
  • Deployment, and
  • Treatment in case of mental or physical disease.

As shown in the simplified equation below the (dismounted) human platform is one of the most valuable, but often undervalued, assets of Armed Forces:

Force = (A * Trained Soldiers) + (B * Proper Equipment)

Every soldier leaving the service too soon means a loss of a major investment. To prevent this, soldiers deserve to get both the best training and care possible. Simulation in education and training is part of this. If looked at in a wider context, it always is a money-saver. And such savings will grow exponentially provided you make the right choices between individual and team training, as well as live, virtual and constructive training. Let us talk about it.



Ulrich Sasse, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, President, Simulation and Training Division (Photo: Rheinmetall)
Modern simulation and training systems play an indispensable part in preparing military and civilian personnel to perform critical tasks. Even if virtual reality systems can never completely match the effects of real life, the great benefits of simulation training systems are undeniable. They provide a 24/7 training capability that is fully flexible and weather-independent, with no risk of physical injury or material damage, resulting in better trained and educated soldiers and cost savings in terms of time and resources.

When looking at current military operational profiles, it quickly becomes clear that the focus today is on joint and combined missions that require maximum interoperability and communication between forces. Command and control of such missions requires superb leadership competence. Future training systems must also reflect the ensuing shift in tasks.

Rheinmetall is responsible for providing contractor support for the complete exercise and training operations of one of the world’s most advanced military training facilities, the German Army Training Centre (GÜZ) in the Altmark region of Saxony-Anhalt. (Photo: Rheinmetall)
Mission training and rehearsal are now the most prominent imperatives in the military training domain. Current operational mission training and rehearsal scenarios need to be executed and trained for in a joint/combined context with a diversity of forces and entities, including air, land and sea assets.

The requirements for joint training are very complex and can only be met in an optimum training environment. First and foremost, training must always aim to provide soldiers with the multifaceted skills needed on the modern battlefield. Among the core competencies required for joint operations are the mastery of weapons systems, maintaining situational awareness, communication, teamwork, decision making, and risk assessment.

More realistic than ever, modern simulation technology makes a major contribution to readying our soldiers for deployed operations – from individual instruction in equipment operation to tactical leadership exercises for major formations.

For more than 40 years, training systems from Rheinmetall Defence have helped to prepare troops for air, land and sea operations. Our spectrum of simulation products ranges from individual training systems to highly complex, networked systems for joint and combined operations training. Prominent examples include our advanced tactical training environments like ANSE, TacSi and the ANTares mobile tactical training system and, of course, our live training centres such as the GÜZ combat training centre we jointly operate with the German Army.



Oliver Meyer, Senior Vice President Simulation & Training, RUAG Defence (Photo: RUAG)
That on the whole simulation saves money is  for me quite clear. However, there are certain initial costs in the establishment of appropriate equipment and infrastructure and not all types of simulation can provide the same savings over the same period. In virtual simulation especially, savings are established through training multiple crews simultaneously, saving real ammunition and fuel, plus wear and tear on costly vehicles. In addition virtual simulation allows users to train across extensive terrain on multiple continents at the flick of a switch. This substantially reduces the need for large areas of land for manoeuvres or high logistical costs.

Simulation and training virtual Advanced Driver Training Simulator (A-DTS) training centre. (Photo: RUAG)
The goal of all training and simulation is naturally to improve users readiness for the situations they will encounter when in the field. Some of this situations can only effectively be trained through simulation giving S&T a relevance that surpasses cost. The impact of weapons on participants and through buildings in MOUT live simulation scenarios is one example of a situation that can only be experienced through simulation. And, with the development of mobile MOUT training this high fidelity training is becoming increasing affordable. However, simulation in the future must be seen in a broader context. Today simulation is mainly used for training purposes, in the future simulation could also be used during missions - to help commanders make the right decisions. In my opinion the next generation simulators will not only help achieve high readiness for mission, but also support during the mission to ensure mission success. With these Simulators cost savings can be achieved because training becomes more efficient delivering high readiness for an upcoming mission in a very short time.

The increasingly complex and digitised nature of warfare means that we as S&T providers, who strive endlessly for high fidelity solutions, are developing more complex and digitally savvy simulations. This ultimately relies on a large amount of data needing to be created, exchanged, stored and analysed – in order to get effective results. Networked simulation and the ability to be interoperable is therefore a necessity for our customers to maintain, heighten and speed-up their readiness.  



Jean-Jacques Guittard, VP Training and Simulation at Thales (Photo: Thales)
Thales has a strong heritage in providing the best-in-class training solutions designed to deliver mission-readiness for the armed forces around the globe and enhance their operational effectiveness. Moreover being part of a large Group that manufactures real mission equipment with access to operational experience and knowledge, training and simulation activities of Thales have developed a deep and comprehensive understanding of armed forces needs for multi-unit and multi-role military training, as well as their new requirements for interoperability across armies and nations.

Modern warfare is forcing the Armed Forces around the globe to increase their military capabilities, and to train collectively more and more, as well. As a leading partner with defence organisations, we firmly believe that effective training is critical to ensuring military operations’ readiness and success. It is about making the best use of limited resources to train forces to become consistently high performing personnel.

TIGER simulators. (Photo: Thales)
Thales’ integrated product policy approach aims to achieve greater commonality of solutions between our different products, to maximise reuse, to drive costs down and to benefit from economies of scale. Hence Thales simulation products and training solutions are fully interoperable, thanks to their architecture which is based on Thales’ common simulation core.

Whether targeting individual, crew, collective or commander training, Thales offers versatile and modular solutions to accommodate our customer's own training rationale, and adapt seamlessly to evolving training syllabi. This built-in adaptability enables our training solutions to deliver maximum training and operational benefits even when the mission, tactics or theatre change.

Mastering the latest networking technologies, Thales solutions support connectivity allowing the combination of various types of simulation to perform complex mission training, such as tactical, command and technical training simultaneously. This provides our customers with distributed training capabilities, for enhanced multi-level collective training and rehearsal.

For instance, thanks to our training solutions with real C2 and battle management systems, our military customers can combine live, virtual and constructive assets to take part in the same exercise. This is the reason why we now see our customers mixing simulated assets (such as helicopters or armoured fighting vehicles training devices) with constructive assets (combat staff training system) or even live training assets.

For more information, please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 12/2014, available at I/ITSEC 2014 on booth #773.

29 November 2014

I/ITSEC 2014: The European MS&T Industry

This article is an overview of the Modelling, Simulation and Training (S&T) industry in the wider European area, including Russia. This article will shed some light on the MS&T sector in Europe, focusing on the military training offered by their Armed Forces, and the organisations beyond them, which provide products and services, both to the domestic market, and to Armed Forces across the world.

Thales’ SAGITTARIUS Evolution is a small arms trainer that covers all areas of marksmanship training from law enforce¬ment applications, close quarter combat up to full military battlefield engagement training. Using the latest CRYENGINE simulation technology, SAGITTARIUS Evolution provides both virtual and live firing training capability for individual and unit training. SAGITTARIUS Evolution can be linked to other systems and/or additional modules out of the SAGITTARIUS Evolution product line such as the Door Gunner, the Vehicle or the Boat Module. All modules can be provided with motion platforms. (Photo: Thales)

S&T is a growing concern in the Armed Forces. The complexity of modern weapons systems and a wide spectrum of missions require well-trained soldiers especially in critical situations. Military operations in unknown territories and continually changing combat situations make extensive “train-as-you-fight” training more important than ever before. This also includes maintenance teams who must keep the great variety of today's complex weapons systems in operational condition.

Furthermore, asymmetric threat scenarios are becoming the norm. These conditions require an extension of the spectrum of S&T to adapt to an increasingly unpredictable combat environment. While available space prevents every S&T training product and service available from being described in detail, this article does, nevertheless, attempt to give the reader as comprehensive an overview as possible regarding the S&T state-of-the-art in Europe.

RUAG has at I/ITSEC 2013 exhibited Univisual Technologies‘ and Polar Simulation’s WALK MOUSE, giving trainees the ability to walk realistically in a synthetic environment without using a joystick. (Photo: Mönch / DPM)


The training efforts of the Belgian Armed Forces are reinforced by the provision of S&T from several Belgian companies including Leentjens-Boës, which produces the MINIDRA tactical engagement simulator product line that can be used for pistol, sub-machine gun and small rifle instruction. MINIDRA is currently in service with the Belgian land component.

CK Technology produces video and slide shooting simulation equipment, which can be used in conjunction with either live rounds or with laser shooting systems. CK Technology’s products are in service with a number of European countries. CK Technology’s training products are supplemented by FN Herstal. Unsurprisingly, given its accomplishments vis-à-vis the design of firearms, the firm has also developed weapons training equipment. This includes the company’s Training Outdoor Military (TOM) product, which can be used on live firing ranges.

Barco offers a complete range of products and services for the visualisation market. This includes projectors, but also auto-alignment suite, screens, display management systems and mechanical structures. All Barco systems are designed with SimCAD, Barco’s custom 3D software specifically developed for simulation. The acquisition of Norway-based projectiondesign proved to be successful. Barco’s high-end 3-chip DLP product range was complemented with mid-range 1-chip DLP projectors – resulting in one of the widest portfolios in the market and providing an answer to any projection need. The launch of the ‘Connect’ partner programme clearly shows Barco’s commitment to this market segment, and helped them double sales in this segment year-on-year.

Czech Republic

Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) announced a strategic partnership with STE for business development and sales in Italy. This consists of an exclusive reseller agreement for STE which is the first of its kind executed by BISim anywhere in the world. They also recently introduced Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3). VBS3 offers a significant increase in capability, building on more than 10 years' experience delivering advanced simulation technologies to military organizations all over the world. VBS3 is a consolidated tactical training and mission rehearsal solution, combining flexible terrain and scenario editors, with a high-fidelity virtual environment for networked training and after-action reviews. VBS3 can also be used as an image generator in simulators, and can emulate a wide range of devices and weapon platforms. Its successor, VBS 2 has been the standard for military simulation across the majority of NATO partners for more than five years. VBS3 will be the new standard, as the US Army has selected VBS3 to be the flagship of their Games for Training programme.

Czech Army T-72M4 Cz Gunnery Trainer from E-Com, a Saab company. (Photo: Mönch / DPM)

E COM sro has about 120 employees, and produces training equipment for the military, civil and police markets. The company has delivered simulators to the Czech Army, and exported to Germany, Singapore, the UAE, and the USA. In February 2011, it was acquired by Saab.


IFAD produces a number of training-related products, e.g. the IFAD Forward Air Controller Training Solution (IFACTS), a synthetic environment for Close Air Support (CAS) designed to train Forward Air Controllers (FACs) and pilots. Other products include the C-SIM naval tactical trainer, the IRAS radio communications trainer, and a trainer for management of emergency situations.

Metrik Simulation design and build multipurpose training facilities based on the latest advances in neurobiology, stress research, and didactics. At a time, where advanced 3D simulators and synthetic training environments have become standard equipment of any training ground, Metrik Simulation focus on mental pre-programming through strong sensory stimulation.


ELI Military Simulations make the ALFONS Infantry Weapons Training Simulator, an indoor projection-based system, which presents imagery to soldiers who use laser attachments on their weapons to fire at the simulated targets. Battlefield sound effects are also produced.


Insta Defsec make simulator-based training systems for gunnery and the SIMCORE image generator, now in its "fifth generation" version.

Noptel systems will measure, monitor and record the whole aiming and shooting process in real time, allowing a full analysis of the shooter's performance. The immediate feedback received from each shot motivates the shooter and helps him to develop his shooting skills. The system transfers the burden of marksmanship fault identification from human instructor to the training system and helps the instructors to train recruits safely and efficiently to become skilled shooters within a short time.

Patria has reached excellent results in the elementary pilot training under contract for the Finnish Air Force (phase I - II training for conscripts, cadets and flight instructors). In the area of advanced military jet pilot training, Patria is giving HAWK simulator training in the Kauhava air base. Together with the Finnish Air Force and the MoD, Patria is developing Kauhava air base to become an advanced international military jet pilot training centre (phase III – IV training). The centre will be open to international customers with ample air space for tactical training and access to the training methods with proven track record.


France’s International Defence Council (DCI) coordinates the export of defence know-how from France to allied countries, often resulting from French defence equipment exports. The organisation notes that it provides: “<I>academic, operational and technical/operational training, as well as technical assistance and consulting services.<P>”

DCI- NAVFCO, the naval branch of DCI, continues to work with the Libyan Navy , as part of minesweeping training , to work underwater and on hyperbaric medicine for more than 70 future divers. The Libyan Navy, wishing to secure its maritime infrastructure, turned in early 2012 towards DCI- NAVFCO for training providing the same level of skills than the French Navy in the early cleanup actions. This training, which combines both theory and practice in real conditions, began in March 2012 and is spread over several sessions until 2014. It takes place at the school of diving DCI- NAVFCO based in Toulon, as well as the Navy diving school in St Mandrier .

MASA Group is a global company focused on the development of Artificial Intelligence-based modelling & simulation software for the defence, public safety, and other markets. Using MASA’s cutting-edge AI technology, MASA’s products (MASA SWORD and MASA LIFE) combine scalability, adaptability, and low cost of ownership with a strong standards-driven approach to technology. MASA Group is headquartered in France with offices in the USA and in Germany, and a worldwide network of value added resellers.

Thales is a major training services provider delivering training as a service to an international customer base, offering its training services through self-owned training centres and joint-ventures. The Thales approach to military aircraft training is to leverage maximum operational value from its broad experience as provider of real mission systems and aircraft systems. Thales delivers a range of training devices and services for civil and military helicopter training, from computer learning systems and cockpit procedures trainers (CPT) to full mission simulators (FMS). With its partners, Thales supports the Armed Forces with advanced training devices on NH90, TIGER, COUGAR and other military helicopters.

French robotics specialists ECA produce training simulators for piloting mine disposal vehicles.
The French shipbuilder DCNS is known for its surface and subsurface combatants, but it also provides a range of training and simulation tools to assist the instruction of sailors.
A number of French companies also provide training systems and products for land-based applications. For example, EADS (no news of a name change yet) GDI Simulation delivered 800 simulators for the French Army adapted to IFVs, APCs, MBTs, and sniper rifles.


Working directly with Eurofighter to manage the ASTA Programme is Eurofighter Simulation Systems (ESS), comprising simulation companies namely STN ATLAS, Indra, CAE, Meteor, and Thales. This team will subcontract the supplier of the visual systems package and will be partner with the Eurofighter Partner Companies (EPC) within an Integrated Project Team (IPT). This IPT will be responsible for integrating Weapon System Software (WSS) and Simulator Specific Software (SSS) to achieve a fully integrated ASTA package. ESS is a joint venture between the main National Simulation Industries in Europe. These Industries are ARGE comprising (Rheinmetall Defence Electronics and CAE) in Germany, Selex ES in Italy, Indra Sistemas in Spain, and Thales Training & Simulation in the UK.

CAE was the prime contractor responsible for the development of the German Army’s Night-Time Low-Level Flight Training Facility (NTF), which is Europe’s largest helicopter training facility. CAE designed and manufactured 12 full flight simulators (two UH-1D, two CH-53, and eight EC-135) that are used for basic flight training, as well as training in low level day, night, or instrument flight conditions. The NTF project features CAE’s roll-on/roll-off convertible full mission simulator design, where a common motion base can receive a variety of cockpit modules of different helicopters. All of the simulators can be networked to participate in the same flying exercise or tactical operation. CAE currently provides comprehensive training support services on-site at the German Army Aviation School in Bückeburg. (Photo: CAE)

Driving the TIGER combat helicopter project as another key programme in Europe and Australia, Reiser Systemtechnik has designed and manufactured various simulation equipment for the aircraft. Furthermore, the company has designed and manufactured various simulation equipment for the Eurofighter TYPHOON and PC-21.

The four full-mission simulators to be delivered by Helicopter Flight Training Services (HFTS) to the Bundeswehr's NH90 training centres in Bückeberg, Fassberg, and Holzdorf until at least 2022 will be used for comprehensive pilot training. HFTS acts as an industrial consortium comprising CAE Elektronik, Airbus Helicopters, Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, and THALES Deutschland.

Diehl Defence supports the military by supplying its ATLan-AS (Training system for land combat vehicles – Appended Training), a training system that turns any operational land combat system into its own simulator; HECTOR training equipment, a modular and autonomous on-board simulation system for training crews in electronic warfare, employed primarily for training in helicopters, may however also be integrated into military aircraft; and the Flight Profile Recorder (FPR) air combat training system.

To operate from naval ships in all weather conditions, German Navy Sea LYNX helicopters are being fitted out with new operating and display elements. To provide the necessary training on the new elements, ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik mbH developed a Cockpit Procedure Trainer (CPT) with touch screen monitors plus two extensive environments powered by STAGE Scenario from the Canadian COTS modeling, simulation, and embedded graphics solutions specialist Presagis. For pilot screenings, tactical training or simulator exercises before real operations directly in the assigned country ESG developed a portable helicopter simulator. Thereby 21 omniSHAPES form a configurable screen around a simulator cockpit. The flexible system can be adjusted according to different helicopter models and through its compact dimensions the assembled simulator can also be transported in freight containers in its entirety. ESG and eyevis present the mobile Helicopter-Sulator at ITEC 2014.

Telespazio VEGA Deutschland (a Finmeccanica/Thales company) owns a unique expertise in simulation-based flight training by using CPTs, technician training for land, maritime, and air vehicles as well as operations training for land and maritime applications. Airbus Helicopter, the main contractor for the German Army's CH-53 helicopter refit, contracted VEGA to develop the CPT for the CH-53GA and to deliver it in two versions, a PC-based mobile CPT and the replicated cockpit that is based on touch-screen technology.

The Virtual Ship Training and Information System (ViSTIS) developed by the ViSTIS team comprising ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), KBR, and Crytek provides one of the first virtual environments where officers and sailors will be able to rehearse all individual, team, and teams of teams-based tasks.

CAE GmbH is considered a leading supplier of integrated training solutions and simulation technology for flight and land applications, and in the provision of training support services for European defence forces. CAE GmbH has a long history of supporting the Bundeswehr and currently provides maintenance and support services for most of the Bundeswehr flight simulators.

With the S&T network delivered by Rheinmetall Defence to the German Army's GÜZ combat training centre, it is possible to train up to 2,600 participants for military operations in urban terrain (MOUT). This also includes 300 weapons systems, 500 vehicles, and 70 command elements. With the equipment, the status, position, and activity of every soldier and vehicle can be tracked via GPS, transmitted via wireless data link, and depicted on a digital situation map.

The GLADIO small arms training system from eSigma Systems is being employed for different training needs ranging from civil law enforcement applications to full military battlefield engagement procedures. Based on its very exact aim point detection, the GLADIO simulator is qualified for sniper and Special Forces training.

Realistic S&T enables land forces to conduct training courses with abstract training aids in virtual environments and to gain knowledge and skills for their employment in real operational scenarios. For one of the German Army's key programmes, the PUMA AIFV, both Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall Defence are providing state-of-the-art S&T systems, including EWES and SIAM. The latter making it possible to conduct training scenarios with this new-generation weapon system at any location with minimal preparation time on its own or combined with other weapons systems. Next to this, KMW Training & Simulation’s (T&S) range of products and services covers the design, development, manufacturing and software maintenance of the spectrum of land-based tracked, wheeled and rail vehicles in both the military and commercial market.

szenaris, a company specialised in Computer Based Training (CBT), Web Based Training (WBT), distance learning, virtual worlds (VR), team training systems, and simulation, received a contract from the Bundeswehr to develop classroom installations for the training with the tEODor and PackBot EOD robotic vehicles.

Cost is always a factor. Highly specialised military simulation software is very expensive. In contrast, computer game technology can be brought in off the shelf at minimal costs. Innovative manufacturers like Crytek have now discovered the niche market of military simulation and license either their software engineering environments or individual components. Two examples are the ViSTIS team training system from TKMS and the SAGITTARIUS-Evolution small arms trainer developed by THALES Deutschland, for which Crytek delivered the CryENGINE gaming engine. With this solution, virtual ships and environments look and behave in a realistic manner. Instructors and trainees are represented by lifelike uniformed, ranked avatars, with hair, faces, and natural body shapes.

Theissen Training Systems (TTS) is one of the most significant companies in the live-fire training industry. TTS develops, produces and installs complete training range systems from Small Arms Ranges to extensive CALFEX (Combined Arms Live-Fire Exercise) Ranges.

21 eyevis omniSHAPES rear projection cubes, a simulator cockpit with pilot seat, an instrument panel on touch screen basis and control elements (cyclic, collective, pedals) including force feedback as well as an instructor station: That is everything the portable ESG simulator setup needs for authentic helicopter simulations. Thereby the simulator can be configured to resemble different helicopter models in their dynamic behaviour and the respective systems. Thus the switch between light and medium transport helicopter, or a combat helicopter including simulated weapon systems for instance is possible. (Photo: ESG/eyevis)


Alenia Aeronautica, part of the Finmeccanica group, has a Simulation Centre in the Corso Marche plant at Turin. This has a number of flight simulators, interactive pilot stations, a synthetic environment, and networking between units.

Selex ES brings together the activities of SELEX Elsag, SELEX Galileo and SELEX Sistemi Integrati to create a unified software, sensors and systems integration business uniquely positioned to address the rapidly changing high technology needs of defence, security, commerce, transportation and civil resilience. In the S&T world, Selex ES provides ATENA, an Advanced Test Environment for Avionics developed to satisfy modern requirements; SELEX Galileo's Concept-to-Capability (C2C) facility is a state-of-the-art synthetic environment resource where integrated sensor solutions can be developed and deployed; an EUROFIGHTER Full Mission System incorporating SELEX Galileo's Instructor and Debriefing Facilities; a TORNADO Full Mission Simulator; and much more, including UAS simulation.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is also home to a number of firms specialising in the provision of ST products and services including Van Halteren Metaal BV, TNO, Siemens Nederland, Maritime Research Institute Netherlands, VSTEP, and re-lion.

Along with its military training infrastructure, the Netherlands is home to a number of companies involved in the provision of MST equipment and services These include Van Halteren Metaal, which provide howitzer crew trainers for gun crew instruction, and also for battery-level fire missions.
Netherlands-based firms are also involved in the provision of training equipment for Forward Air Controllers: TNO, produces the FACSIM (Forward Air Controller Training Simulator). In service since 1997, FACSIM has been used to train hundreds of student Forward Air Controllers from The Netherlands, Belgium and the US. Artillery delivery simulation is also possible, in addition to different terrain and weather conditions, while exercises can be recorded and played back for debrief.
The Netherlands subsidiary of German engineering conglomerate Siemens has worked with Simtech to provide a number of ground force training systems. These include the KMW LEOPARD I and LEOPARD 2 MBT Tactical Team Training Simulator.

Naval training can also be facilitated using VSTEP’s Ship Simulator Professional software which can replicate a range of vessels including surface combatants like naval frigates. The software can run on desktop PCs using either the Windows-XP or the Vista operating system, and several screens can be used to provide 360° of vision.

re-lion is a leader in intuitive Terrain Database Generation Systems (TDGS), and simulators for immersive Small Unit Training (for MOUT) – one of the most important and very complex aspects of the contemporary soldier curriculum. Creating a 3-D virtual training ground for teams and individuals in any space, re-lion continually evolves its technology and provides a stable and cost-effective platform that requires little or no maintenance. re-lion provides services independently or with larger organisations, such as: The Netherlands MoD, Thales , Boeing , and other undisclosed countries and prime contractors.


3D perception has a sales offices in in China, Japan, the UK, and the US; and specialises in visual display from design through installation to in-service support. Design of projector and screen layouts is through company software called nDesignerJ, which allows for optics, eye points, and screen surface.

Kongsberg Maritime specialises in ship-related electronics including training and simulation systems. The first training simulator from one of the predecessor companies was for an engine room and was made in 1978. Kongsberg Maritime make a range of martitime simulators ranging from full-size ship’s bridge trainers both on- and off-motion, smaller open-plan bridge trainers, engine room simulators and trainers for maritime electronic systems such as the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).

Kongsberg has been a supplier of simulators and trainers in the international market for the last three decades. The company has accumulated a unique experience across the complete spectrum of training systems, ranging from small simulators to complex military team trainers. Kongsberg trainers are based on an in-depth understanding of the learning process. Sophisticated pedagogic methods are used to support the instructors, thus ensuring maximum focus on achieving the training objects. Kongsberg has a wide range of world class products within naval and land systems: basic skills trainer, crew trainer, tactical trainer, eLearning/CBT, scalable classrooms, stimulated solutions, embedded training,

projectiondesign, now part of Barco, produces high-end projectors for simulation, medical imaging, scientific visualisation, e cinema and public displays.


Jakusz offers specialised within its EOD Technicians Training Centre, including Training courses on land clearance of UXO, IED identification and disposal, environmental hazards associated with  de-mil of munitions, and training dedicated for national security services in Poland and abroad.
PZL Aerospace Industries manufactures various types of simulators and training devices for the air and land forces of Poland and other countries. Simulators have been produced for the MiG 21, PZL 130 ORLIK, Su 22M4, and TS 11 ISKRA. The company together with Obrum manufactured the crew training simulator for the Polish Army PT 91 MBT.

Obrum, (part of PHO, formerly known as Bumar), the Research and Development Centre for Mechanical Devices, is the R&D centre for armoured vehicles in Poland. It has made a number of simulators, training aids and rigs for tanks and other military vehicles, mainly for the Polish Army.
Jakusz offers specialised within its EOD Technicians Training Centre,.including Training courses on land clearance of UXO, and training dedicated for national security services in Poland and abroad.


Simultec has been part of Elbit Systems since 2009, and has made simulators for five types of fixed-wing aircraft, four types of helicopters, ground vehicles and ships.

Slovak Republic

VR Media - Virtual Reality Media (VRM) specialises in S&T devices for the air and land environments. Flight simulators have been produced for the MiG 21 and MiG 29 fighters, the Mil17 helicopter, L-39 jet training aircraft, and, on the civil side, the Cessna Citation business jet. In the land environment, a turret and gunnery trainer has been produced for the T-72 tank.


Indra’s S&T activities include Computer Based Training (CBT), Flight Navigation Procedures Trainers (FNPT), Flight Training Devices (FTDs), and Full Flight Simulators (FFS).  In the land area it produces simulators for training drivers, tank crews, and for small arms.

Tecnobit currently offers a wide range of training solutions for different aeronautical, naval and terrestrial platforms. It develops all levels of simulators, from teaching programmes, trainers, simulations and simulation centres, up to the duel simulators (which are the resources used by the Armed Forces for teaching, instructing, training and evaluating personnel and units). In the future, based on Tecnobit’s own research capability and its desire to meet the needs of its Armed Forces, the company aims to develop combat training centres and the resources required for computer aided exercises.


MSE Weibull specialises in training and simulation systems for the land environment. Products include an anti-aircraft gun simulator, a single-seat flight training device, the LIMO light mobile target system for field firing ranges, a radar trainer, simulators for the RBS23 and RBS70 missiles, a tank turret trainer and weapon loading trainers.

Pitch Technologies’, part of BAE Systems, products include the Pitch Global Simulation BOOSTER that enables simulations to operate with “federations” of other models and simulations at other locations. Another product is the Pitch Web Services Connector that enables web-based systems to operate with other simulations over wide area networks (WAN).

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs. Saab Training & Simulation has supported global Armed Forces and Security Agencies with targets, laser simulators, instrumentation training products, and more for more than 30 years.

With less access to live air assets and increasing demand for professional JTACs and other roles in the Joint Fires capacity, there is a growing need for a cost-effective virtual training solution. Joint Fires Synthetic Trainer (JFIST) by Saab is in use today and provides training to customers in all phases, from basic training to mission rehearsal. (Photo: Saab)

Stapp EBC has been providing what is considered by many the world’s safest “environmental bullet catchers“ or “bullet collectors” for live fire training across Northern Europe and parts of the USA. The only “EBC” to have received accolades from the US EPA and DOD’s environmental branch, the globally patented Stapp EBC makes live-fire training safe by trapping bullets and their resulting contaminants (lead, copper, zinc, plastic, etc.) behind a thick mat in a bed of granulate


The S&T business unit of RUAG Defence ranks amongst the top providers in the world of live simulation. The company supports the military with virtual simulators for training of drivers, gunners, or complete crews as well as live training systems for realistic combat training in open and urban areas. One such example includes RUAG Defence's GLADIATOR that is a personal harness for realistic live simulation at up to brigade level without deploying live ammunition.


Under its “Train As You Fight” training doctrine, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) have been utilising simulators since the late 1980s. Until the late 1990s, the TAF looked at foreign suppliers to meet its state-of-the-art simulator requirements and various simulation systems for land, air and naval applications were procured from foreign companies such as CAE, STN Atlas, and AAI.

As part of efforts to maximise its training capabilities, the TAF has been attaching top importance to boosting local simulation capabilities and since mid-1990s have been steering the capabilities of the Turkish Defence Industry to for establishing in-country operating and maintenance capability and to contribute to developing indigenous simulator solutions.

Havelsan holds the largest share in Turkish simulation market and mainly focuses on fixed and rotary wing aircraft simulators. Under the HelSim Project for example, Havelsan is working with a total of 45 local and foreign subcontractors and the local content share is amount to 70 per cent. Havelsan has passed n around 40% of the work share to the local subcontractors including Aselsan, TAI, KaleTron Software, IntaSpace Systems, ETA, Gate Electronics, Ayesaş, 2U Informatics Technologies, and MilSoft.

Meteksan Defence is the second leading player in the Turkish simulation market.

In the Turkish simulation market opportunities are also emerging for other private companies such as; STM, MilSoft, Gate Elektronik, Koç Bilgi ve Savunma Teknolojileri (KBST), as well as small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) such as SDT, BITES, C2 Tech and ETC.

Designed and developed by ETA, the Sonar Operator Training Simulator simulates an acoustic environment to provide sonar operators and supervisors with a unique advanced training platform. Also designed and developed by ETA, AN/APS143 Sea Surveillance Radar Simulator system simulates the APS143(V)3 Radar deployed on Turkish Navy’s S–70B SEA HAWK helicopters.
Designed and developed by MilSoft for the TAF, the Joint Electronic Warfare Training System is a computer-based education system in which the basics of Electronic Warfare information is given to the Armed Forces staff in an interactive environment.

Designed and developed by STM, the Vertical Wind Tunnel (VWT) is a closed loop tunnel, used for paratrooper training in free fall conditions for extended periods of time in a safe environment.

In May 2012, the Canadian government awarded Rheinmetall’s Bremen, Germany-based Simulation and Training division a contract to supply LEOPARD Gunnery Skills Trainer (LGST) and Driver Station Simulators (DSS) under the Canadian LEOPARD 2A4 Simulators and Trainers programme. In addition to the initial eleven plus two simulators, seven more LGSTs have now been ordered in 2013, plus optional loader stations. The simulators will be used to train Canadian tank crews in the operation and tactics of the Leo 2A4 CAN, which has recently been fielded by the Canadian Army. (Photo: Mönch / DPM)


Looking at the list of exhibitors at the last ITEC and I/ITSEC events, no less than 50+ UK-based organisations were represented. With so many UK S&T organisations it is not possible to go through them all, so this paragraph can only include a few, starting with those that are involved with complete simulators rather than components.

The largest UK simulator manufacturing site is the Thales UK facility at Crawley, which used to be the Rediffusion Simulation company before it was acquired first by Hughes and then by the Thales Group.

As well as Thales, UK-based companies which have ready-made simulators include Agusta Westland (helicopter simulators), BAE Systems (military fixed-wing simulators), Equipe (flight simulators) , CAE UK (ex Invertron, AFV simulators), CueSim (flight simulators), Lockheed Martin UK (ex Solartron, land-based simulators), Merlin (re-configurable flight simulators), and XPI (Driver simulators).

The Rockwell Collins facility at Burgess Hill, is the ex SEOS company, specialising in visual display systems. Their Cross-Cockpit Collimated Display is named PANORAMA and has been fitted to many simulators built by other companies. They also produce multiple-projector dome-based systems with fields of view up to the full 360 degrees.

Equipe produce the Generation10 system, Thales produce the ThalesView series, and XPI the Fabriano, P-10 and Tempest systems.  XPI used to be the Primary Image company, the initials meaning "ex-Primary Image". Cranfield Aerospace and EDM of Manchester produce motion seats for fighter and helicopter simulators with facilities such as seat and back pressure pads, seat-pan lowering under computed G, vibration cues, and strap tightening and loosening.

The CAE Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF) is a private finance initiative (PFI) facility on the RAF base at Benson, South of Oxford. As well as a suite of six Full Flight Simulators (FFS) for CHINOOK, MERLIN and PUMA helicopters, it has internal and external network links (LAN/WAN - Local Area and Wide Area Networks), and a Tactical Control Centre (TCC) for the management of multi-aircraft exercises which include other assets such as attack helicopters, ground attack aircraft, AWACs and so forth.

Although it must be said that the US is the Modelling, S&T capital of the world, the above selective summary of some European activities demonstrates considerable expertise, some in unexpected places.

For more information, please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 12/2014, available at I/ITSEC 2014 on booth #773.

I/ITSEC 2014: Training Systems Integration - Trick or Treat?

About this time of year, with the annual jamboree of I/ITSEC in Orlando rapidly approaching from the near horizon, it has become traditional for observers of the military training and simulation (S&T) scene to reflect (and occasionally wax lyrical) on the issue of what has changed, how much remains the same and where the community is headed. Often this results in artificial ‘themes,’ some of which fail to stand the test of any time at all. Others reflect constant rather than incremental change and yet others are statements of the obvious. In an effort to break the mould and perhaps try to bring fresh perspective to the question ‘Quo Vadis Training & Simulation,’ MT looks at one of the pervading characteristics of the industry and the demand that fuels it – the issue of systems integration.

RUAG Simulation & Training offers a new range of deployable Combat Training Centres (CTC). Furthermore, GLADIATOR can be extended in three modular stages, starting from the Basic variant. A high-tech and cost-effective harness for day-to-day training deployments. (Photo: RUAG)

Defining ‘systems integration’ for this industry, though, is not as simple as it may at first seem. What, precisely, is an ‘integrated training system?’ Is it characterised by a cohesive, holistic approach to the training requirements for a particular training regime? Is it a system that consists of multi-disciplinary approaches to a single training need? Does it inevitably comprise a series of components ranging from hardware through middleware to software? Is it necessarily the ‘Silver Bullet’ – a panacea approach to providing answers to all possible permutations of training in a single domain?

The answer, inevitably, is all the above. Or, arguably, none of the above but an altogether different philosophical attempt to providing effective and meaningful training for a particular requirement. The problem is, fundamentally, that although there are broad similarities between national requirements for training systems and services, the minutiae of budget, technology, sovereign capability and doctrinal considerations means that almost every nation tackles the conundrum in a subtly different manner.

Through Endeavour to the Skies

Consider, for example, the issue of pilot training for the British Armed Forces. Recognising the existing system as fragmented and inadequate, the UK MoD took a bold step a decade ago and began to consider a radical overhaul of pilot training across the entire spectrum of requirements, seeking a fresh, innovative and infinitely more effective method of producing the end product – trained pilots.
Radical change entails strenuous effort over time and this issue proved to be no exception. It was not until June 2008 that a contract was inked with Ascent Flight Training, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and VT Group (the latter’s share in the venture now belonging to Babcock as a result of subsequent merger and acquisition activity) to provide the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) with a new construct: The contractor was to provide infrastructure, simulators, aircraft in certain cases, instructors in others and an ‘integrated training system’ with the ultimate objective of turning out qualified pilots at the end of the training pipeline. Risk was removed from the MoD and transferred to the contractor; capital expenditure requirements by the MoD were radically reduced – disappearing altogether for some components. The system would engender close, not to say intimate, cooperation between contractor and user, resulting in ‘best of breed’ solutions in which multiple disciplines would be leveraged to provide a more integrated and cohesive solution to the question of providing qualified aircrew capable of being rapidly inserted into operational flying.
Overall, this approach has worked. There is certainly a degree of devilry in the details and there have been criticisms of the way in which certain aspects of the programme have worked. But, the programme is less than a quarter of the way through its 25 year implementation period and has successfully and flexibly answered the multiple unforeseen challenges it has had to face. Not the least of these has been significant change in the basis on which the entire contract was originally founded: At the planning stage, the assumption was there would be a community of somewhere around 300 pilots per year requiring training. Defence cuts, budget austerity and new doctrine have combined to reduce that number considerably – but then again, changes in perceived threat and the capabilities brought to operations by emerging technologies may well alter that equation again in the opposite direction in the near future, a strong argument for the establishment of a flexible ‘on-call’ system. As an integrated training system – inserting pertinent capability, technology, hardware and support into a cohesive and structured training pipeline – UKMFTS works reasonably well. As a model, it certainly demands serious consideration by other forces facing similar training systems issues.

Thales’ SAGITTARIUS Evolution is a small arms trainer that covers all areas of marksmanship training from law enforcement applications, close quarter combat up to full military battlefield engagement training. Using the latest CryEngine simulation technology, SAGITTARIUS Evolution provides both virtual and live firing training capability for individual and unit training. It can be linked to other systems and/or additional modules out of the SAGITTARIUS Evolution product line such as the Door Gunner, the Vehicle or the Boat Module. All modules can be provided with motion platforms. (Photo: Thales)
But the model does not necessarily work in all regimes. For example, an MFTS type approach would face major challenges in the US, where multiple year contracting is made very challenging by budget structures and procurement regulations. Equally important, the very broad range of requirements in aircrew training (not to mention the other domains in which such an approach might, on the surface, make sense) coupled with the scale of demand within US forces means multiple systems probably offer more graceful solutions than a single overarching construct. That said, there are broad similarities that demand careful consideration. For the forthcoming T-X trainer aircraft programme, the USAF is on record as emphasising it is not looking merely for an aircraft to replace the T-38 fleet, but an ‘integrated system,’ incorporating a comprehensive ground based training system (simulators, part task trainers, flight training devices etc.), an appropriate learning management system, and a host of bells and whistles aimed at providing a more effective and results-oriented facility.

“Training, Incorporated”

The net result of all this is that a change rumbling away beneath the surface of the industry will have immense impact over the next decade and more. There will be much, much more partnering between companies, large and small, endeavouring to bring a more holistic approach to bear on providing effective solutions. It will no longer be a simple case of providing a list of companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, CAE, Saab, Cubic, and others to answer the question “who makes integrated training systems?” The future lies in consortia, joint ventures, formal and informal partnerships and ad hoc groupings of industrial, intellectual and academic capabilities embodied in a host of industrial partners.

Canada provides a good example of where this approach might, in theory, be implemented in the near future. Canadian pilot training is currently provided under a number of contracts, each with a defined output focus, each with a different contractor and each with a different contract expiration date over the next decade or so. There are signs that the DoND is even now beginning to engage with industry in order to determine the potential benefits accruing from seeking to harmonise and possibly replace these contracts. And the list of companies that could make a major contribution to realising the Holy Grail of integrated pilot (and aircrew – not to mention maintenance crew) training right across the Canadian Forces’ requirements is quite considerable.

Canada is home to perhaps the preeminent company in pilot training, CAE. No solution to the potential requirement, given the new National Procurement Strategy, with its emphasis on Canadian content and Value Proposition as guiding principles in the acquisition decision process, is likely without some measure of involvement by CAE. The company has the technology, the industrial and financial muscle and the experience to address almost every aspect of the likely requirement as it emerges. But, even CAE is unlikely to try to go it alone, according to some observers. As the requirements increase for integrated systems, so the scale and value of potential solutions rises and the concomitant levels of performance and financial risk also increase. Spreading the risk among multiple partners and, at the same time, taking advantage of niche capabilities and institutional experience is a sensible and effects-oriented method of bringing potential synergies to the solution.

Already firmly embedded in the existing pilot training setup in Canada are companies such as Bluedrop Training & Simulation, which is part of the Allied Wings consortium, contractor for the Contracted Flying Training and Support Program (CFTS), which provides coordination and oversight for flying training and support services for primary and basic flying training, multi-engine and helicopter pilot training. L-3 MAS draws on a 25 year heritage of CF-18 HORNET fleet management and its expertise in conceptual training systems design to provide a broad spectrum of contractor support, including infrastructure, instruction, simulators, aircraft management and learning management system design for the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) programme. Companies such as NGRAIN have the capacity and expertise to bring all the benefits of virtual reality to the sometimes peripheral but always vitally important components of an integrated training system, such as maintenance crew training.

In parallel to the issue of risk management and the exploitation of niche capability lies another rationale for the consortium approach to major programmes. The benefits accruing to a multi-disciplinary approach can save time, effort and increasingly scarce financial resources when considering the design, development, manufacture, implementation and operation of a large scale integrated training system. Expertise in the development of submarine control room trainers, for instance, may well have intellectual if not operational application to the requirements for crew training for armoured vehicles, or the training of crews for maritime patrol aircraft. Synergies exist, potentially, across the grey areas that are now emerging to replace what were once defined inter-domain boundaries.

Earlier this year, Havok has expanded the extensive content library in its Havok Simulation Framework. The recent additions include a completely new Environment Library, which has representations for buildings, plants and environmental clutter. These models have been built by the Rocketbox Studios team to the same exacting standards as their industry-renowned Rocketbox Character Library. (Screenshot: Havok)

Joint Warfare, Joint Training

“The future is joint,” is a mantra often heard at conferences and symposia dealing with future military operations, threat perception and interoperability. Which is indubitably true. Logical extension of this thought process, though, indicates further possible consolidation and acceleration of the need to integrate training systems, rather than trying to ‘bolt on’ additional capability to existing systems.

As ISAF combat troops wind down their involvement and return home from Afghanistan, there will continue to be NATO and Coalition soldiers involved in the ongoing training programmes for the Afghan National Army and its sister services. Afghan troops train with some regularity at the NATO Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Poland. They train not only with Polish troops but with those from a dozen or more allied nations and one of the inevitable needs is for better language training and cultural awareness on the part of all parties concerned. Companies such as Alelo have made significant contributions to both aspects of what might be called ‘peripheral’ training needs throughout the Afghan conflict. Does this mean the company is a provider of ‘integrated training systems?’ Self-evidently not – but it does mean that Alelo is, potentially, part of the broader brush approach to the provision of such systems in the future.

Russia’s drive to modernise its Armed Forces – particularly its strong and rapidly re-equipping army – found part of its expression in an ambitious programme to establish four comprehensive combat training centres across the country, for which the chosen contractor was Rheinmetall, leveraging the company’s considerable expertise in live-virtual-constructive training for the Bundeswehr. Although political crises and the thorny issues of economic sanctions on Russia have currently stalled the programme, the fact remains that Russia seeks interoperability and commonality for its ground forces capabilities and the benefits of external expertise for the design and operation of its training systems.

Federated or Devolved Training?

At both international and national levels of iteration, the development of modern, integrated training facilities has assumed paramount importance. In Kenya, the British Army Training Team – which has operated in the country for decades – now uses the Saab Deployable Tactical Engagement System (DTES) to provide what the UK calls “hybrid foundation training” for small infantry units. But no small infantry unit operates in splendid isolation on today’s battlefield. Artillery and mortar fire support, combat engineering, close air support, tactical air transport, combat casualty treatment and medical evacuation – all these components and more have to be taken into account in order to ensure effective, realistic training. So is DTES a devolved, ‘stand-alone’ system – or should it be considered part of a broader, more comprehensive training facility that takes these issues and others into account. There are arguments on both sides, but viewing DTES through the prism of future requirements rather than recent and current experience, it is worth considering DTES as the core of a suite of capabilities that might, in some senses, be considered an integrated system.

British Army Training Team in Saab Deployable Tactical Engagement System (DTES) equipment in Kenya. (Photo: Saab)

Another approach to the issue is to have an overarching authority that generates and tries to implement a cohesive vision across the entire spectrum of training system requirements. Arguably that is the function of the PEO STRI on behalf of the US Army. The number of individual training programmes run by the Army that might justifiably be termed ‘integrated’ is, undoubtedly, legion. But, there is a strong argument to make that PEO STRI’s greatest legacy for future soldiers will be the attempt to integrate and consolidate training systems across the entire waterfront of current and future operational capability.

And the Winner is….

Whether one considers the Thales approach in providing the TACTIS tactical armoured vehicle crew training for the Dutch Army or the QinetiQ operation of the Distributed Synthetic Air Land Training System (DSALT) for the British MoD, there is a theme emerging from the continuing contracting activity in military training and simulation that speaks to integration becoming the new norm. At ITEC in Köln earlier this year a tiny but thought provoking demonstration of the benefits of integration leaped off the Ryan Aerospace booth, in which that company’s helicopter crew training systems were integrated with a battlefield navigation/C4I application from Italian SME Rebel Alliance. Is that an integrated system? By virtue of the fact that it integrates two separate capabilities from two separate providers – yes. What else could it be?
All this presupposes, of course, the reader’s acceptance of the supposition that the definition of ‘integrated training system’ is changing – or at least that it needs to change. It does not necessarily have to describe a large, ponderous, multi-faceted system that may try (and often fail) to address a very high-level requirement. An integrated training system can, undoubtedly, be a single-platform solution, as is the case with the Lockheed Martin F-35 maintenance training programme, which brings multiple disciplines and technologies to bear on a single issue. Alternatively, it might be a broad spectrum approach to engineering and technical training and education, such as that proposed by Raytheon and QinetiQ in its bid for the Defence Training Rationalisation programme in the UK, cancelled as a result of the 2010 Defence & Security Strategic Review process.
Integrated training systems are here to stay. Within a decade it may very well be impossible to find any training system other than the simplest that does not rise to the description ‘integrated.’ Technology will drive us in this direction, commercial logic will accelerate its development and the customer will inevitably demand a measure of integration in every system procured. It may well be, of course, that not every iteration of every training system will necessarily need to show evidence of being integrated. But, the choice needs to be there – analogous to dipping into a ‘trick or treat’ bucket of available goodies at Halloween.
The training and simulation community, globally, consists of about eight hundred industrial organisations that contribute in one way, shape or form to military training, simulation and education solutions, A decade ago, the description of an ‘integrated training systems provider’ might have been applied to less than fifty of them. A decade hence it is difficult to envision that description being applied to a number much less than one hundred per cent.
Tim Mahon
Tim Mahon is a London-based regular correspondent of MT.

For more information, please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 12/2014, available at I/ITSEC 2014 on booth #773.