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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

30 November 2015

I/ITSEC 2015: Thales SAGITTARIUS Evolution - A Small Evolution in Small Arms Trainers

With more than 260 operational systems worldwide, 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 rendering technology provided by Crytek, SAGITTARIUS Evolution provides both virtual and live firing training capability for individual and unit training.

Using the latest CryENGINE rendering technology provided by Crytek, Thales' SAGITTARIUS Evolution provides both virtual and live firing training capability for individual and unit training. (Screenshots: Thales)
SAGITTARIUS Evolution has a flexible and scalable architecture across the entire product line, hereby being able to be linked to other systems and/or additional modules, such as the door gunner, the vehicle, or the boat module. SAGITTARIUS Evolution features a new component-based architecture, which enables it to be flexibly configured to the needs of the user. Thanks to a common platform for various training modules (e.g., basic shooting skills, land, air and marine equipment, joint fire support team), the system is scalable. SAGITTARIUS-Evolution's individual modules and the complete systems can be networked, making it possible to provide training for combined scenarios both at the local site and in concert with other sites.


CryENGINE 3 provides very real video rendering, which in conjunction with the integrated 3-D sound, provides a realistic training environment. Furthermore, an integrated training management system makes the system very effective for users. The available features help reduce trainers' work load by taking care of some of the preparatory and post-training tasks. Thales went ahead based on the CryENGINE source code and introduced real physics influenced ballistics into the “game”, making it more valuable for law enforcement and military customers.

The built-in artificial intelligence (AI) of the computer-generated forces (own, neutral and enemy) raises the training and awareness impact: The situation changes depending on what the user does; realistically simulated scenario conditions (e.g., terrain, time of day, environmental conditions like wind strength and direction) affect the way the simulation evolves and require the user to change his or her behaviour, which makes the training very real. New training concepts using AI for randomised avatar behaviour also give a better outlook on the situational, perceived, and behavioural threat. Furthermore, SAGITTARIUS-Evolution enables dynamic trainee-avatar-interaction using the trainee’s natural voice as simulation input, allowing for complex scenarios like ID check, vehicle inspection, and search of buildings/people.


Last year, Thales Deutschland was contracted to integrate a new weapon into SAGITTARIUS Evolution: The new multi-purpose shoulder launched weapon, the so called Wirkmittel 90 (aka Dynamit Nobel Defence’s [DND] RGW 90), is a new intelligent weapon, developed for the Bundeswehr, including an attachable Fire Guidance Visor (FGV), used with different types of ammunition, all within the group of the Wirkmittel 90. The Thales Deutschland site in Koblenz was contracted to integrate this weapon in the existing small arms trainer of the Bundeswehr (SAGITTARIUS). The simulation version of the Wirkmittel 90 was made available prior to the Initial Operation Capability (IOC) of the real weapon. For this purpose, the small arms trainer was updated to the newest simulation platform (SAGITTARIUS Evolution) to provide a close to reality training experience. During the integration of the Wirkmittel 90 the built in intelligence of the FGV with its weapon sequence control and the control of the display symbology had to be rebuilt for simulation use as a first step. Afterwards the initial ammunition types (blast/explosive fragments) were integrated in the simulator. The customer was very satisfied by the results and contracted Thales as a follow on order to integrate further ammunition types, e.g. fog, lightening and anti-structure missiles.
The results of the project shows that the new generation SAGITTARIUS Evolution as a simulator provides a valuable contribution for training in use of complex weapon systems like the Wirkmittel 90, especially when simulated training is to be provided in parallel to the introduction of the original weapon. The benefit of an optimised and timely weapon training might be the cutting edge that leads to a successful mission accomplishment within critical operations.

The SAGITTARIUS Evolution Mobile system, build in MIL-standard certified boxes – easy to move -, compromises building blocks for a modular system that fits the training need, enabling up to two independent trainees with primary- and secondary weapons at the same time. The use of tethered and wireless weapons is possible, whereas currently the tethered version is the preferred training method. The system is ready to train in 30 minutes, which includes set-up.

SAGITTARIUS-Evolution enables dynamic trainee-avatar-interaction using the trainee’s natural voice as simulation input, allowing for complex scenarios like ID check, vehicle inspection, and search of buildings/people.