About Me

My photo
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

21 December 2015

Germany Buys Another 131 BOXERs – Ups Total Order Volume to €476 Million

The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) has contracted Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall to supply an additional 131 BOXER armoured fighting vehicles, worth €476 million.

In the section/squad APC configuration, the BOXER serves as a ‘mother ship’ for up to ten troops. It is equipped with a remotely operated FLW 200 light weapon station featuring a 40mm automatic grenade launcher or 12.7mm heavy machine gun. (Photo: Rheinmetall)

On behalf of Germany’s Federal Agency of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-service Support (BAAINBw), the international procurement agency OCCAR has placed an order with Artec (a joint venture of Rheinmetall and KMW) to supply an additional 131 BOXERs configured for an armoured personnel carrier (APC) role. Delivery is slated to take place during the period 2017 to 2020.

Back in 2006, Artec booked an initial order for 272 BOXER vehicles for the Bundeswehr, the last of which will be transferred to the German military in March 2016. The contract encompassed command and control (C2), MEDEVAC, and driver training vehicles, as well as APCs capable of transporting a complete infantry section/squad.

The Netherlands is also a partner in the cross-border BOXER programme, having ordered a total of 200 vehicles, including in this case a combat engineering configuration and an additional transport version.

Thanks to its composite add-on armour, the BOXERis one of the world’s best-protected 8x8 tactical vehicles, assuring excellent protection from landmines, improvised explosive devices (IED) and ballistic fire, coupled with outstanding mobility both on and off road, even in the toughest terrain.

Powered by a 530kW (720HP) MTU turbo diesel engine, the BOXER, weighing up to 36.5t with a full combat load, attains a top speed of 103km/h.  Featuring separate drive and mission modules, the BOXER design concept assures maximum flexibility and versatility.

18 December 2015

Germany Launches New Anti-Terror Unit: BFE+

In January 2015, Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere commissioned a study on the preparedness of German security forces for a "Charlie Hebdo situation" in Germany. The report said that agents lacked the training and equipment to deal effectively with well-armed terrorists like those in Paris. Police unions also warned that German security forces were not ready to confront such emergencies - either in terms of personnel or equipment.

The BFE+ will begin its work immediately Five locations, 250 security operatives

A new special unit is supposed to change that. It has been named the Beweissicherungs- und Festnahmeeinheit plus (evidence collection and arrest unit plus), also known as BFE+. Fifty agents will begin working at the federal police's Blumenberg location near Berlin immediately. Four more units, comprised of 50 agents each, will soon be deployed in other locations around the country.

To date, Germany's elite GSG9 special forces unit responded to scenarios like this, where risks to the lives of individual agents were accepted as part of the job. The GSG9 is designed to end such situations and restore order. The unit keeps its skills up-to-date with permanent training, and similar units, like the SEK (a SWAT unit) and MEK (a mobile tactical force), are also maintained throughout Germany.

But these units are all direct attack forces, and are not necessarily trained to conduct large-scale, sustained manhunts. The BFE+ is meant to fill that gap. They are to offer support to GSG9, as well as federal and state police, during large anti-terror operations.

Yet there is an enormous discrepancy between these elite units and everyday police officers patrolling their beat, Jörg Radek, deputy chairman of the police union GdP said. He warns that the protective vests issued to police cannot withstand the impact of rounds fired from assault rifles.

"But the most astonishing thing is that federal police cruisers are not even outfitted with a second magazine (of bullets)," says Radek. "Normal police patrols will have to fend off attackers until BFE+ units arrive. We have to equip and protect them so that they can take up the fight." Radek says there is a need to "arm them so that they are a robust unit."

But security expert Wolfgang Petri remains utterly unconvinced about the creation of the new force. He spent 16 years in the police criminal investigations department, mostly as part of the MEK. Today he is a corporate security advisor. "We do not need another unit," Petri told the German press agency dpa. He says that the money would be better spent reinforcing and equipping existing units. And that the people employed in the new units will be the same people missing at existing ones. On top of that, he argues that it is impossible to create an effective special forces unit in such a short period of time: "It's pure window dressing."

MetaVR Provides Visuals for SOTACC JTAC Training Simulator Upgrade

Today, MetaVR announced that it has sold 24 Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) licenses for the installation of Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) training simulators at the Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course (SOTACC) facility at the US Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), Yuma, AZ.

Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) in VRSG-Afghanistan. (Graphic: MetaVR)

MetaVR's business partner Battlespace Simulations (BSI) was recently awarded a contract by Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, FL, to install two classrooms with desktop JTAC simulators featuring BSI and MetaVR software at the SOTACC facility. The new simulators replace the Call For Fire Trainer (CFFT) simulators delivered several years ago by Fidelity Technologies. For this upgrade, which is currently being installed and configured in December 2015, a purely commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solution was selected over current government issued CFFT systems.

The contract calls for two classrooms, each of which consists of eight JTAC student stations, an instructor station, an instructor role-player station, and a NVIS Ranger 47 simulated laser range finder. MetaVR VRSG, geospecific terrain, and extensive 3D content libraries, along with BSI's Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) software are the key components of the Windows desktop systems. Each station also includes a tablet running a ROVER feed of VRSG’s simulated sensor view and a communications suite with BSI’s Viper DIS Radio software to simulate PRC-117, PRC-148, PRC-152 radios. All new hardware, including two terrain servers loaded with MetaVR's CONUS++, Asia, and Africa terrain data sets round out the upgrade. The two classrooms share a DIS network, which will enable students to collaborate on exercise missions.

The new classroom simulation system is fully accredited by the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) for types 1, 2, 3 controls for both day and night, and for laser target designation with a simulated military laser device.

As in other MetaVR and BSI's accredited desktop JTAC simulators, VRSG provides out-the-window (OTW) views for the instructor, student, and role player stations, as well as sensor views and the view within the Ranger 47 simulated military equipment. MACE provides entity scenario generation and execution, including call for fire, 9-Line, and 5-Line interfaces as well as the virtual pilot/role player station. BSI's Viper DIS radio provides an operationally realistic communications environment and BSI's DIScord DIS recorder enables after-action review (AAR) and debrief.

The purpose of SOTACC is to teach Special Forces troops from the US Army, USAF, and USMC the conduct of close air support missions and to fully certify them as qualified JTACs. The four week JTAC qualification course includes three weeks of academic training and one week of live-fire close air support training.

In Q1 2016, MetaVR will deliver to the SOTACC facility high-resolution geospecific 3D terrain of the Prospect Square area at YPG, which is a general-purpose desert environmental test facility, located 26 miles north of Yuma. Prospect Square is an impact area used for high explosive munitions. MetaVR is building the virtual terrain with 2cm per-pixel resolution imagery of Prospect Square, which was captured in November by MetaVR's remote-controlled portable aircraft, the MetaVRC. The aircraft was built and flown by Swift Radioplanes in military controlled air space. With both the 2cm imagery and 2-10m elevation data, MetaVR will compile full-resolution (2cm) terrain tiles of Prospect Square with MetaVR Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS. The total area of coverage of this terrain data set will be 17 square kilometres. At 2cm resolution, such details as small craters left from exploded ordnance are visible on the terrain. Underlying the high-resolution 3D terrain of Prospect Square is MetaVR's CONUS ++ terrain, which was built with 1 meter per-pixel terrain imagery and
DTED-1 elevation data.

08 December 2015

Raytheon Shares Insights on the Emerging US Multi-Object Kill Vehicle Programme

This August, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded contracts to fund research and development for the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV).

Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing were awarded approximate U$10 million contracts by the Pentagon to design a prototype for the MOKV, “a concept that can destroy several objects within a threat complex by considering advanced sensor, divert and attitude control and communication concepts,” according to a MDA press release.

The Pentagon has previously tried its luck on a similar endeavor, the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) programme. The Defense Department terminated the programme back in 2009 over what then Defense Secretary Robert Gates called: “Significant technical challenges and the need to take a fresh look at the requirement.”

Steve Nicholls, the director of Advanced Air & Missile Defense Systems at Raytheon Missile Systems, told MT in an exclusive interview the current MOKV programme draws on the accomplishments of the previous MKV programme and advances in the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) tracking and discrimination capabilities. “The Raytheon team is applying significant government and industry accomplishments in performance, reliability and affordability already established in the Standard Missile (SM)-3, Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) and Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) systems. Having the ability to engage multiple objects with a single booster launch significantly reduces the cost per kill, often referred to as ‘bending the cost curve,’” he remarked.

The EKV and SM-3 Kinetic Warhead already serve in critical roles of homeland and allied defence. Raytheon is currently focused on improving the BMDS with the RKV.

Raytheon’s roadmap for its MOKV contract includes the Concept Review this 15 December, a major near-term milestone in the Concept Definition and Risk Reduction Phase. The review will include a technical description of the MOKV concept and plans for the next program phases. Nicholls pointed out the current phase rolls directly into a Risk Reduction Phase, which will begin in early 2016 and proceed as a series of separate risk reduction efforts based on contractor nominations. “The acquisition plan calls for a Proof of Concept Demonstration Phase beginning in fiscal year 2018 and a Product Development Phase beginning in fiscal year 2022. Both phases take several years to complete,” he added.

Raytheon has assembled an eclectic team to advance its early MOKV work. The company’s concept draws from the experience and expertise of internal organisations across the corporation business units, national labs, industry partners, small businesses and universities. Nicholls further noted work will continue with these organizations, consistent with the selected risk reduction efforts over the next phase. He continued “A more formal team will be established when proposals for the Proof of Concept phase are submitted.” Asked if non-US companies can participate on the Raytheon-led team, Nicholls, replied, “government security requirements limit participation to US citizens.”  He declined to list the company’s current industry team members.

Development of Raytheon's MOKV concept is being led by the Advanced Missile Systems organisation - headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.  Design and support functions are drawn from across the company’s missile and other business units, and its factories in both Tucson, Arizona and Huntsville, Alabama provide manufacturing and production support. Expertise from virtually dozens of disciplines and focus areas are being leveraged from across the company to focus on the MOKV.

Marty Kauchak

03 December 2015

I/ITSEC 2015: Rheinmetall Cargo Hold Trainer - Enhanced’ (CHT-E) for A400M

At an official ceremony on 2 September 2015, the ‘Cargo Hold Trainer - Enhanced’ (CHT-E) simulator for the A400M transport aircraft was transferred to the German Armed Forces’ (Bundeswehr) 62nd Air Transport Wing in Wunstorf, Germany.
In the presence of senior personnel from the 62nd Air Transport Wing and representatives of Airbus Defence & Security (DS) and Rheinmetall (showcasing its expertise on booth 2601) in the CHT-E facility building, the Head of Rheinmetall Defence’s Flight Simulation product unit, Doris Lilkendey, symbolically presented the base commander with a laser-illuminated model of the cargo simulator for the A400-M.
Underscoring the importance of the new cargo hold trainer to his unit, Col. Ludger Bette, Commander of the 62nd Air Transport Wing, stated that, “the CHT-E is the most sophisticated system of its kind, and will support our training operations in excellent fashion. Its commissioning represents a major achievement for us, and will help us set new standards.”
Lilkendey also thanked Airbus and the German Air Force for its excellent cooperation during the commissioning of the CHT-E: “We are very pleased today to be contributing to the safety of future A400M crews with the Cargo Hold Trainer - Enhanced. We’re also proud to have reached today’s milestone after a trouble-free project, and would like to thank everyone who’s participated in the project.”
By June, Rheinmetall had already reached the “Ready for Training” milestone with the CHT-E, to the complete satisfaction of the customer and Airbus.
The A400M CHT-E is one of the most advanced training systems of its kind. Providing an authentic and realistic simulator for rear aircrew, ground crew and support crew personnel it features a full-sized replica cargo hold which is equipped with high-fidelity role equipment and cargo handling systems as well as genuine control panels, lifelike components and fully functioning, hydraulically operated surfaces.
The simulator also boasts an integral and innovative gallery-mounted, fully interactive instructor station for preparing, controlling and evaluating training exercises. As a result, the CHT-E is perfectly suited to all manner of rear aircrew training require-ments. Initial type-rating qualifications in advanced airdrop and tactical procedures and operational methods are all achievable, as is practising essential crew resource management skills. Additionally and importantly, emergency drills can be trained and rehearsed to a level of competence not previously achievable in any other training environment.
The realistic cargo hold interior, with its aircraft-like functional components, provides an unmatched training resource for ground crew and support crew personnel. Mission-specific reconfigurations of the cargo hold, loading and unloading capabilities for the whole range of logistics and airdrop cargoes as well as training for aeromedical personnel in airborne hospital (Medical Evacuation/MedEvac) and ambulance roles are all perfectly possible, while the accurately functioning emergency components offer an excellent familiarisation platform for emergency crews.
Although then Airbus Military contracted with Rheinmetall Defence on 21 December 2012 to supply the Bundeswehr with a rear crew training simulator for the Airbus A400M transport aircraft, Rheinmetall built and installed the first CHT-E at the Airbus Military International Training Centre (ITC) in Seville, Spain; this has been operational and in full service since September 2013. The British Royal Air Force will see installation of the third CHT-E in Brize Norton in early 2016.
Besides developing and installing the CHT-E, to date Rheinmetall has built and installed three A400M ‘Loadmaster Work Station Trainers’ (LMWST). The first, installed in the Airbus Military International Training Centre (ITC) in Seville, has been in full operation since November 2012, with subsequent devices being commissioned for the French Armée de l'Air at its training centre in Orleans in 2013, and for the RAF in the A400M Training School in Brize Norton in 2014.
For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

Rheinmetall Cargo Hold Trainer - Enhanced’ (CHT-E) for A400M (Photo: Rheinmetall)

I/ITSEC 2015: Next-Generation System for Secure, Live Virtual Constructive-Based Training

During the first week in September, Rockwell Collins completed Contractor Test and Evaluation flights at Eglin AFB, FL, for the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS). Throughout the testing, the high reliability of the CRIIS equipment resulted in all test flights being performed as scheduled. Only a single test flight was scrubbed due to bad weather. All the flights were conducted using production form, fit, function airborne and ground equipment.

In cooperation with the CRIIS System Program Office (SPO), contractors and the University of Iowa Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL), 13 test flights were conducted using an L-29 from the University of Iowa OPL. (Photo: Rockwell Collins)

The CRIIS programme fulfils critical US DoD requirements to provide Time, Space, Position Information (TSPI) and additional platform test data, while employing a more robust, spectrally efficient data link, including Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS). The MILS encryption recently completed certification on the program, and is capable of simultaneously protecting four levels of Top Secret through Unclassified data flowing between aircraft and ground components.

These flight tests demonstrate the mature, production ready level that the CRIIS program has reached,” said Tommy Dodson, Vice President and General Manager of Surface Solutions for Rockwell Collins. “Tests were an end-to-end validation of the complete CRIIS system using production representative hardware and software. This testing validated that the next generation of secure, common test and training instrumentation is mature.”

Rockwell Collins is the prime contractor and systems integrator for the next-generation military test range system that will replace the Advanced Range Data System (ARDS) currently in use at major US military test ranges. CRIIS equipment will support a variety of platforms, including advanced fifth-generation aircraft, and implements the DoD’s vision of common test and training infrastructure for improved operational realism.

JSAS (joint secure air combat training System) from Rockwell Collins brings all capabilities together for high-fidelity air combat training, providing the “first certified, four-level Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS) training equipment in both airborne and ground applications, allowing for tethered and autonomous operations,” according to the company. MILS provides secure interoperability between 5th-Gen and 4th-Gen aircraft, bringing significant training benefit to all participants in a simulated, high-threat combat environment.

The Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) programme is active with a schedule to complete Engineering and Management Development (EMD) in June 2016. With more than 90% of EMD already complete, flight tests are preparing to start at Eglin AFB and Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Additionally, the team recently flew the first risk reduction flight at Pax River.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

I/ITSEC 2015: VT MÄK Showcases Latest Trends

At I/ITSEC 2015, in booth 827, VT MÄK showcases the latest trends in modeling and simulation and
how to incorporate state-of-the-art technology into their customers training and experimentation environments. The booth features a fantastic array of demonstrations that feature VT MÄK's products and solutions. VT MÄK participates in dozens of booths across the show floor, presenting demonstrations in partner’s booths, supporting several companies with interoperability technology in Operation Blended Warrior, and embedded in many of the company's customers’ demonstrations:

  • VT MÄK's VR-Vantage 60 HZ IG demo light up Digital Projection’s 4K Laser Projector.
  • JRM Technologies showcases SensorFX and RadarFX SAR server.
  • VT MÄK is participating in each of the Operation Blended Warrior demos and many participants are connecting their simulations with VR-Exchange.

Demonstrations in the VT MÄK booth include:

  • First-person players simulations that demonstrate both flexibility and performance - Soldier, Air Vehicle, and Ground Vehicle. 
  • First Person Shooter: Four soldiers work together as a team to take out the enemy AI combatants controlled by a squad commander without killing the civilian bystanders.
  • Light Armoured Vehicle #1: Light armoured vehicle equipped with CM Lab’s Vortex physics and rumble over the Surobi Terrain by Simthetiq.
  • Light Armoured Vehicle #2: A brilliant illustration of VT MÄK's terrain agility, using a light armoured vehicle on terrain brought to life by BDesign’s use of Blueberry 3D
  • Fixed Wing Jet: Cockpit of a fixed wing jet in a 360° immersion through an Oculus head-mounted display.
  • Four separate demos illustrate the effectiveness of Command Staff Training (CST)

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

I/ITSEC 2015: MASA Group's SWORD Enables French Army to Engage in Better, More Realistic Training Exercise

After 12 years of successful collaboration, the French Army has expanded its use of MASA's flagship simulation software, SWORD and acquired a global license for it in 2015.

MASA Group's long-term military customer, the French Army, can be seen leading the way in simulation training with its acquisition of a global license for MASA's internationally renowned SWORD automated war-game, providing an immediate solution to the SOULT simulation programme for the Combined Forces and Ground Logistics Units' operations.

At I/ITSEC, Squadron Commander Thierry Cadot, Program Manager of SOULT, talked about how SWORD's innovative artificial intelligence technology is enabling the French Army to engage in better, more realistic training exercises and how it has been employed across the Army.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

I/ITSEC 2015: AEgis Technolgies Announces CACCTUS Contract Win

The AEgis Technologies Group announced their role as a key subcontractor to Riptide Software on their award of a five-year $47 million contract by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to continue its support of the Combined Arms Command and Control trainer Upgrade System (CACCTUS) programme.

This is Riptide's second CACCTUS award from the USMC, who previously awarded Riptide Software the CACCTUS contract in 2011 for $44 million.

Riptide leads an accomplished team, comprised of Leidos, General Dynamics Mission Systems, AEgis Technologies, AVT Simulation, and Phoenix Logistics that will continue to provide Post Deployment Software Support (PDSS) for CACCTUS sites, while continuing to improve CACCTUS to ensure the system reaches Full Operational Capability (FOC) through innovations offered by "Team CACCTUS". AEgis currently provides the Modus three-dimensional (3D) stealth view to CACCTUS, and will be responsible on the new contract for providing and integrating next-generation visual solutions that will meet the FOC requirements.

I/ITSEC 2015: Leidos Demonstrates Advanced Simulation and Training Solutions

Leidos demonstrates advanced training and simulation solutions via experienced thought leaders and technology experts at booth 2411. These include:

  • CyberNEXS is a real-world platform designed to assess an organisation’s cybersecurity readiness by providing realistic, live training on systems that emulate an operational environment without compromising the organisation’s network.
  • Cloud Simulation Infrastructure (CSI) makes cloud technologies useful to distributed simulation centres enabling virtual technologies, resources, and expertise from other locations and delivering simulation services to the warfighter’s point of need. Through auto-initiation, CSI simplifies the use of simulation systems, significantly reducing sustainment costs.
  • One Semi-Automated Forces (OneSAF) is a US Government open-source, common constructive simulation platform for the Army, joint, and non-military communities to manage the entire simulation life cycle, from scenario development through after-action review.
  • Live training solutions align and support product development using common standards and interfaces, ensuring reduced complexity and operational costs for maximise soldier training effectiveness. These solutions offer increased technical agility at a reduced sustainment and development cost.
  • The Synthetic Environment Core (SE Core) Common Virtual Environment (CVE) programme provides simulations with the ability to fully integrate and operate within live, virtual, constructive and gaming training domains to ensure the “fair fight.”
  • Common Driver Trainer (CDT) — A diverse product line of reconfigurable and mobile vehicle driving simulators capable of training both individual and full combat crews.
  • Non-Rated Crew Member Manned Module (NCM3) enables the realistic collective training of helicopter crews – gunners, and hoist and sling-load operators – for tactical operations, aerial gunnery support and defence.
  • LAKOTA UH-72A Synthetic Flight Training System (SFTS) provides a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Level 6 UH-72A flight training system housed in a self-contained and fully deployable platform. The pilot and co-pilot are fully immersed in a Night Vision Goggle compatible synthetic environment including a seamless, partial domed-out-the-window display and motion seats.

Leidos is a science and technology solutions leader working to address some of the world's toughest challenges in national security, health, and engineering. The company's 19,000 employees support vital missions for government and the commercial sector, develop innovative solutions to drive better outcomes, and defend digital and physical infrastructure from 'new world' threats.

I/ITSEC 2015: 3D perception's Visual Display Technologies

3D perception (3DP) is demonstrating its visual display technologies with visual content provided by AECOM/URS X-IG Image Generator. URS TSET′s image generator systems are a choice for the visualisation of simulation training systems. For over twelve years, URS TSET has been providing rendering performance through advanced software algorithms and optimisations.

URS TSET′s X–IG image generator is a Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) product for PC–based visual simulations. X–IG is specifically designed around industry standard OpenGL, a high performance graphics Application Programming Interface (API), and OpenFlight, the 3D standard format for the visual simulation industry. (Screenshot URS)

Northstar is 3DP's simulation display solution, and is the fusion of several live-linked sub-systems, all managed under a unified user-interface, nControl. The Northstar display at I/ITSEC features nBox, 3DP's 4th generation, zero frame latency, multi-projector display processor, and Northstar's core technology. nBox warps, blends and colour corrects content, and seamlessly displays imagery across any screen shape. nBox 4K is also now available for demanding 4K multi-projection applications.

At the heart of 3D perception’s Northstar ecosystem is nBox, a next-generation, all-in-one display processor that warps, blends and color corrects raw IG content. nBox outputs to multiple projectors at resolutions of up to 4K and seamlessly displays imagery across spherical, cylindrical, conical, and flat screens. (Photo: 3DP)

Furthermore on show at I/ITSEC are: Aurora, 3DP's patented screen concept, integrating onf of the industry’s fastest and most accurate automatic calibration systems in a highly modular spherical screen concept; CompactView WQ50, ideal for simulation applications, applications such as multi-channel seamless visualisation walls, domes, and high resolution imaging; and Dynamic Optical Blenders, 3DP's solution for providing precision edge blending, optimizing the image for any time of day with servo-controlled blends that can gradually take effect during day-to-night transitions.

3D perception provides and integrates a variety of professional projectors from several manufacturers, offering options for one or three-chip DLP and LCoS technologies, UHP and LED illumination, along with a wide range of lenses, modules, mounts, and accessories. 3DP customise projection solutions based on application needs. (Photo: 3DP)

I/ITSEC 2015: Digital Projection Showcases INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED Projector

Digital Projection International’s (DPI) INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED projector won the "Best New Product" award at the recent CEDIA Expo in Dallas, TX, and is not being displayed in booth 970 at I/ITSEC 2015.

With 3,000 lumens and a color gamut nearly displaying the REC 2020 color space, the INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED delivers great imagery. By combining true 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution with the peerless colour performance of dual sets of LED illuminators, the INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED projector produces a great combination of expanded colour gamut and brightness. In addition, the INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED eliminates regular lamp replacement cycles from the ownership experience. Freed from the need to fund ongoing lamp replacements, as necessary in traditional lamp-based projectors, current INSIGHT LED series projectors deliver a much lower cost of ownership over the lifetime of the display. By producing over 60,000 hours of consistent light output, the solid-state LED illumination provides cost savings and reduced maintenance for end-users, as well as peace of mind for the integrators installing INSIGHT LED displays.

DPI’s new INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED merges the detail and clarity of full 4K resolution with the stunning color space and black levels of LED illumination. The advanced brightness and extraordinary color space produced by DPI’s native 4K, 3-Chip LED illuminated displays separate them from all other LED driven displays, yet understates the perceived image brightness and clarity delivered. In addition to the higher brightness, the INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED enlists DPI’s Lifetime Illumination platform, providing a virtually maintenance-free imaging solution that never requires a lamp replacement.  

02 December 2015

I/ITSEC 2015: Photographic Recap of Day 3

I/ITSEC 2015: Calytrix Titan CX Taking Austrian Synthetic Training to New Level

The Austrian Army is taking a Whole of World approach to its current and future simulation needs by becoming the first military organisation to sign-up to the Titan CX Early Access Program (EAP) for its virtual training needs.  The project, supported by Calytrix Technologies, will be the first true deployment of the emerging Titan simulation framework and will initially focus on the delivery of updated virtual infantry training.

Delivered in partnership between Calytrix Technologies and TitanIM, the Titan CX product is a new generation and approach to synthetic environments. Titan CX delivers the entire world terrain in real-time within a stunningly rendered visual environment. For the first time users can operate across the land, sea, air and even space domains in the one synthetic environment. The system is the start of integrating virtual first-person requirements with higher-level constructive capabilities.  Titan CX is an open platform that encourages end user-development while delivering all the tools needed for an “out of the box” training system.

This is really a fantastic opportunity to extend our current synthetic training program with the Austrian Army to a whole new level. Unlike older technologies, Titan opens up a whole new technology paradigm in simulated training and will allow expansion beyond current limitations," Ulf Krahn, representing Calytrix Europe, said. "Titan solves a lot of legacy issues and really unifies our delivery model. Our November 2015 exercise series will see Titan at the forefront in an integrated event with Steel Beasts to deliver a complete land based training system, including DIS/HLA integration, radio simulations and exercise planning tools. I believe Austria is shaping the future of virtual training and is at the forefront of synthetic training as it takes delivery of Titan CX this year.”
For more information: www.calytrix.com/titan

US Marine Corps General Officer Panel Highlights

Service general officers provided their insights on the challenges and opportunities to provide trained, mission ready Marine Corps individuals, units and staffs in the current and future operating environments.  The generals’ messages were harmonized, emphasizing affordability, open architecture, the building of decision making and other skill sets for small unit leaders and other attributes of the quickly evolving  2015-era training environment. .   

Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller gained the attention of the early morning gathering with his assertion “there is no peace. We’re busier than we ever been. My Marines tell me you are crushing us with high operating tempo.” Of little surprise the four-star general challenged the industry delegates to better help prepare his force in this high operating tempo environment. “We’re training hard but we can train smarter,” he remarked.

The service leader emphasized the need for unit, squad and other commanders to have repetitions in training. So much like aviators, vehicle crews and other Marines can learn and refresh their skills in simulators, so, too, must battlefield unit leaders be able to learn and train their mission sets time and time again – safely, economically and without constraints of time and location.
Neller candidly told the delegates “I don’t know how to do this. I need your help to tell us how we can do this better.”  

Another mission on the commandant’s radar scope for simulation enhancement was joint tactical air controller (JTAC) training. Neller asserted the service needs a better simulator to help it train more people, faster and without the current, taxing reliance of training aircraft. “We can’t afford the 12 flights needed to gain JTAC certification,” he added.                  

On another positive note, the service leader emphasized the service’s increased exercise efforts with its US Navy sea service team members in the RIMPAC (Pacific), Bold Alligator (Atlantic) and other events around the globe – and their increased use of the live, virtual, constructive (LVC) training environment. He concluded, “We will never be able to totally replicate the real environment, but we can augment and enhance it.”
Brigadier General Ray Descheneaux, the assistant deputy commandant for aviation at the Pentagon, noted that his service has 93 simulators to support its 1,300 manned aircraft and unmanned air systems. While the service’s aviation training system is undergoing significant change – there are opportunities for industry to support the Marine Corps’ aviation training roadmap.

By 2019 the Marine Corps will have 175 aviation simulators – enabling aircrews to achieve about 43 to 45% of their training readiness tasks in these training devices.

The service one-star general also asserted the LVC must also migrate into and beyond Marine Expeditionary Force exercises and other events, but with the caveat that live flying will remain critical to establishing an aviator’s core training competency.

Descheneaux also noted he needs industry’s help to allow current networks and systems to “talk to one another” validating the importance of open architecture; improve the flow of data and content between air, ground and logistic systems – in particular in a secure environment; and in general, train better and faster.       

Brigadier General Joe Shrader, the commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, issued a call for a “good business case” for service simulation and training investments, emphasizing the importance on developing return on investments in system development – with good reason. In one case, he pointed out it costs about (US)$5.3 million to supply an annual supply of live training ammunition for  an artillery crew.    

Major General James Lukeman, the commanding general at US Marine Corps Training and Education Command, again challenged industry representatives to help fill some of the "gaps" in his service's training programs.

Lukeman cited the importance to move beyond capable but very expensive infantry immersion training systems. These devices typically need a large infrastructure in terms of role players, and contract support for after action review, instrumentation and other technology enablers. “We need to bring these and other systems to the Marine. While the new generation of system must be affordable it must also be easy to use, deployable on ships and ‘Marine proof’ (rugged),” he emphasized.         

The Quantico, Virginia-based general also repeated his call for industry to focus on decision making for leaders at the small unit levels.

Brigadier General Julian Alford, the commanding general at his Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory built on his extensive combat experience to assert the training audience must move beyond the “three block war” training framework used throughout the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a “four floor war” construct – where concurrent missions ranging from hand-to-hand combat to tending to refugees may be occurring in the same, large, tall building in an urban venue. “We need to train to how do you fight and secure these type buildings,” he added.    

Conference Floor Trends                                
One of the interesting developments at this year’s I/ITSEC was the increased, visible presence of non-US companies on the exhibition hall floor. Indeed, 10 Brazil-based companies comprised the Brazilian Defense and Security Industries Association booth. Two of the participating companies at the booth that caught our attention were Oniria (demonstrating its Games Division’s portfolio for gaming development in the training and education sectors) and Truckvan (highlighting its virtual shooting simulator mobile unit product line).

The Training Solutions business unit of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Elm was also at this year’s I/ITSEC. The company delivers an expanding list of training to its Saudi customers in counter-terrorism, firearms/shooting, patrolling and other competencies.

Marty Kauchak

I/ITSEC 2015: General/Flag Officer Panel Highlights

Senior representatives from the US military services and NATO provided their insights on the challenges and opportunities to provide trained, mission ready forces in the current and future operating environments.

Vice Admiral Javier Gonzalex-Hiux, ESP Navy, the deputy chief of staff (joint forces training) at NATO HQ SACT, updated the conference delegates on his command's Industry Involvement Initiative for NATO Exercises (I3X). The Norfolk, Virginia-based flag officer said the program's goal is to welcome and encourage innovation by allowing industry to gain a foundational understanding of how NATO exercises are initiated, planned, executed and evaluated. To accomplish this goal, exercise participants from industry and business are embedded in various exercise headquarters with the intent to allow these subject matter experts to obtain insights on how their respective companies can assist NATO to find solutions to its future capability challenges. Fifty one companies were invited to observe this fall's 2015 Exercise Trident Juncture.
Major General James Lukeman, the commanding general at US Marine Corps Training and Education Command, challenged industry representatives to help fill some of the "gaps" in his service's training programs. While Lukeman opined this training commands are making "good use of simulation in the live, virtual and constructive (LVC) environment, more technology is needed.  At the top of the commander's help wanted list was the need to improve the decision-making skills of small unit leaders, by providing them "repetitions" in a rigorous, live training environment. The senior service officer also noted current virtual reality solutions "fall short" of allowing his marines to use organic weapons, communications and other mission materiel. "We need simulations for this use in collective, small unit scenarios and we must distribute this capability." The Quantico, Virginia-based general told industry representatives their small unit training solutions must be simple, portable, lite weight and use a common architecture. Lukeman further challenged  the delegates to use augmented reality.

Opportunities to advance the state-of-the-art in LVC technology were presented by Major General James Post, the director of current operations at Headquarters Air Force (Pentagon). The veteran aviator noted that while LVC is a foundation of his service's training, "we have a long way to go" to optimize the potential of this training domain. Post's specific LVC shortfalls included the need to better integrate units and staffs in both the secure and non-secure LVC environments.

Cyber training was among the topics discussed by Frank DiGiovanni, the director of force readiness and training in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness). The Pentagon official noted today's large-scale, but efficient cyber ranges must become smaller and more agile. "This [cyber training] is a number one priority but is also a niche market. We also need additional innovation -- how to practice and train to part tasks, for example" he added. The former career Air Force aviator further opined that as the US military pursues its "Force of the Future" innovation is needed in how prospective members of the future force are viewed. In one example, he noted that attributes of prospective force members (i.e., introvert vs. extrovert) should be determined and more  fully used in billet placement.

Lieutenant General Michael Williamson, the military deputy and director of the Army Acquisition Corps on the Army staff, cautioned the assembled delegates that challenges and opportunities loom large on the simulation and training community's horizon. While the service completes modernization and reset following 15 years of ground war in Afghanistan and other venues, "we will also to the best of our ability protect our investments in simulation and training -- they are our 'seed corn."

Marty Kauchak

I/ITSEC 2015: Alelo Showcases its Latest Advances in Competency-Based Training

Alelo showcases its latest advances in competency-based training and education at this year’s I/ITSEC.

The challenge of all training is to ensure that every learner quickly achieves the target level of competency and retains it over time. Live coaching can be very effective but its high cost typically limits it to executive training. Self-paced courses based on software, videos and websites are less expensive than live instruction, but not very effective, and often boring and not engaging.

Alelo closes the gap between the superior results of live coaching and the low cost per learner of self-paced instruction with computer-based courses that immerse workers in personalized, life-like situations that use interactive role-playing scenarios to teach effective communication and collaboration across cultures, generations, mindsets and organizational levels. Pre-training assessments measure the learner's mastery of the target competency, enabling personalized instruction that addresses the skill gaps. All Alelo solutions are grounded in multidisciplinary research in computer simulations, artificial intelligence, distance and mobile learning, pedagogy, and social science.

Alelo demonstrates at I/ITSEC the latest versions of its VCAT courses, which teach critically important cultural awareness and language skills that military personnel need to conduct their missions successfully and safely in 86 countries around the world. Alelo was recently awarded contracts to develop new VCATs for Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Pakistan, covering the Modern Standard Arabic, Urdu, Pashtu and Dari languages.

Alelo's Virtual Role-Play (VRP) simulations augment existing training environments with the capabilities to train and rehearse non-lethal missions. Learners communicate with the VRP simulations using spoken language for greater realism. The VRP architecture breaks down the boundaries between live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) training by integrating across platforms like Web browsers, multi-player games, mixed-reality environments, and lifelike robots.

NATO's booth at I/ITSEC shows how they are using VRP simulations in Poland for pre-deployment training.

The Alelo Workplace Coach is an employee-development breakthrough that allows organisations to provide all their workers with highly effective, affordable workplace readiness and competency training. The system teaches interpersonal skills of critical interest to civilian employers and military organisations. For example, it helps Millennials integrate into the organisation, improving productivity and retention.

Visitors to Alelo’s I/ITSEC booth can enjoy learning some Chinese language with RALL-E, Alelo's life-like robot that helps schoolchildren learn to speak and understand Chinese. RALL-E illustrates how integrating Alelo's VRP simulations with emerging robotic technologies can make education highly engaging and effective.

I/ITSEC 2015: RUAG Defence Presents Mobile Live Training Solutions

Mobile training gives armed forces the realism of a MOUT installation but the flexibility to take their training  into varied environments.

During a demonstration at booth 2419 on Tuesday, RUAG Defence shows its concept for effective mobile training including: All the necessary equipment and mobile infrastructure for fire and movement training, how vehicles can be instrumented to take part in mobile scenarios, and a Mobile EXCON to provide in-depth control, monitoring and reviewing of an exercise – in the field.

I/ITSEC 2015: Eyevis Showcases Perfect Visual Solutions for Simulations

At I/ITSEC 2015, Eyevis presents products for visual display systems for simulation and training on a joint stand (Stand 1171) with the company’s partner Airbus Defence & Space (DS).

Bringing a selection of Eyevis’ popular LED-lit projectors from the ESP-Series, professional flat panel display solutions, and flexible omniSHAPE DLP rear-projection units, the company will have live demos of the difference in quality of projected images with 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rates, demonstrating the behaviour of the company’s projectors in night vision applications.

The projectors from the ESP-Series are available with a wide range of different resolutions and lens options to suit any kind of application. The stable design and a cooling system which can be operated in any orientation further enhance the capabilities of the devices.

For the flexible installation of digital display surfaces Eyevis has developed omniSHAPES DLP rear-projection modules, whose handy size and reliable LED illumination makes them a great choice for flexible video wall configurations in vertical, horizontal and even curved configurations.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

I/ITSEC 2015: Fidelity Technologies to Produce PC-12NG Training Devices

The US Army has awarded a contract to Fidelity Technologies valued at $9 million to provide training devices for the PC-12NG Knight RYDER Light Lift Utility Aircraft used by the Afghan Special Mission Wing.

Under this contract Fidelity will produce a PC-12NG Flight Training Device along with a: Cockpit Procedures Trainer and other components.

The Flight Training Device will meet FAA Level 6 and the Cockpit Procedures Trainer will meet FAA Level 4 Certification Standards. After installation in Afghanistan, these training aids and devices will be used to train Afghan pilots in aircraft familiarisation and operations in support of the war on terrorism and the effort to stop the proliferation of drugs within the region.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

I/ITSEC 2015: Boeing's Enhanced, Affordable, Air Combat Training

Boeing’s Integrated Live, Virtual and Constructive (I-LVC) training links a real aircraft (live) with ground-based (virtual) and simulated threats (constructive), allowing aircrews to train within a complex threat environment previously unavailable for live tactical training.

I-LVC minimises the need for multiple aircraft to participate in training scenarios, extending range capacity and reducing the costs of expensive live flight training. The system is aircraft-agnostic and can support training against air- and ground-based electronic warfare threats for domestic and international customers.

A wing-mounted LVC-enabled pod delivers processing power and seamlessly integrates simulated threats into the cockpit environment. The system is secure and encrypted, compatible with existing tactical combat training systems. Aggressor aircraft, previously flown with live aircraft, can be replaced with ground-based or synthetic threats. I-LVC training is designed for expansion to include new weapons and threats.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

I/ITSEC 2015: Netherlands MoD and RE-liON Sign Contract

As the fruits of a long-lasting and intense technology development collaboration, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) has entered into a contract with RE-liON to provide multiple BLACKSUIT simulation systems.


The BLACKSUIT Mk1 system allows groups of Infantry and Special Operations Forces to train and prepare for missions using virtual reality (VR). This deployable system allows for tactical and mental team training, using endlessly variable virtual environments with computer generated opposing forces programmed to exact requirements.

The primary building blocks of the system are:
1. Full-body VR suits - worn over uniforms by the trainees and instructors, registering every action.
2. After Action Review - software with full play-back capability from any viewpoint, including recording of voice communications.
3. ‘RE-liON Builder’ - development software for terrain and scenarios.

The BLACKSUIT Mk1 system allows groups of Infantry and Special Operations Forces to train and prepare for missions using virtual reality (VR).

From its start to the present level, the development of the BLACKSUIT simulation training tool took 11 years. During this period, the skilled RE-liON engineers designed and built a versatile tool allowing operators to navigate virtual environments in a real-life, train-as-you-fight way. The tool also allows for the creation of any environment the specialists may have to acquaint themselves with during the mission preparation phase. For creating these ‘areas of operation’ Builder software is used. This software is also being sold as separate software, supporting third party manufactured simulators.

I/ITSEC 2015: Bohemia Interactive Simulations Awarded Contract by USMC

The USMC has contracted Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) to deliver enhancements to and support for its desktop tactical trainer Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3).

US Marine Machinegunner and M1A1 in VBS3. (Photo: BISim) 
The $12.3 million, five-year contract was an extension of BISim’s previous three-year contract to deliver enhancements to VBS3, which is used as a training environment for Marines’ learning tactics, techniques and procedures across the globe.

The Marines recognised they had made a significant investment in VBS3 technology and, ultimately, saw opportunities to continue improving on that investment,” said John Givens, BISim's President of US operations. “The USMC have taken interest in a number of new products in the works at BISim, which will further enhance the Marines' training capability.”

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

I/ITSEC 2015: L-3 Link Receives Award to Compete on USAF TSA III Contract

L-3 Link Simulation & Training (L-3 Link) has been awarded a position to compete under the USAF Training Systems Acquisition (TSA) III contract. L-3 is one of 12 large company contractors to compete for future TSA III task orders over the next 10 years, which, collectively, could have a potential value of $20.9 billion.

Under TSA III task orders, L-3 Link would provide analysis, design, development, production, installation, integration, test, and sustainment support for USAF training configurations encompassing complex aircrew, maintenance and system-specific training systems. These task orders will support training on fighter, bomber, cargo, air tanker, unmanned aerial, and special operations fixed- and rotary-wing platforms. Training will focus on aircraft operations, weapons, navigation, and C2 for both individual and aircrew events, ranging from single aircraft to large-scale, composite force mission rehearsal training. A primary goal under TSA III task orders will be to significantly reduce acquisition lead times on active Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and Foreign Military Sales training and sustainment programs.

Under the service’s current TSA II contract, we have had the privilege of providing the USAF with advanced training solutions on various programmes, including F-16 Aircrew Training Devices, the PREDATOR Mission Aircrew Training System and the T-1A Ground-Based Training System,” said Lenny Genna, President of L-3 Link. “We made substantial investments in new technologies and methods of training, fielding these advancements on TSA II programmes that have resulted in enhanced training capabilities for the service. Our commitment is stronger than ever to continue to make strategic investments in next-generation solutions that will enable the USAF to procure, in a streamlined process, low-risk, technically advanced solutions that deliver immediate benefits to pilots, aircrews and maintenance professionals.”

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2015, available at the show on booth #453; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

I/ITSEC 2015: Live and Simulated Fire Training - Revolutionising Small Combat Unit Training in the Future

“Train as you fight!” has become a popular slogan routinely referred to within the British Armed Forces when conducting training scenarios prior to deployment. In essence, it demands that exercising troops must exert the same energy and intensity in the training environment as employed during live combat operations. However, in reality, such a pre-requisite has proven very difficult to simulate. Here is why.

The US Army and other Armed Forces around the world continue to rely upon Meggitt's simulation technology which provide not only marksmanship training but also situation awareness and escalation of force training. (Photo: Meggitt Training Systems)

There remains a school of thought within existing ranks of NATO SOF that live fire training is the most efficient method of training. However, even this specialist community has come to benefit from a variety of low-end to high-end simulation training systems now routinely relied upon to train up during mission specific pre-deployment training as well as wider contingency operations which could be required in the future.

Options available range from blank, paint marking and low-velocity ammunition, through to laser-based, holographic and fully immersive Virtual Reality (VR) systems. Looking further ahead, the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) technology could see simulation and training escalated to another level entirely.

Counter-Terrorism Training

In the realm of counter-terrorism (CT) training, the world’s most advanced SOF units have utilised “Killing Houses,” featuring reinforced walls and lead curtains to nullify the ballistic properties of 9x19mm and 5.56x45mm when fired at very short ranges. Added to utility of stun and smoke grenades, the loud noises and smell of burning cordite provide the most realistic scenarios in relation to close combat missions. Such practices continue to this day and current thinking within the SOF community remains split as to whether there is a more optimal simulation and training solution available.

The GDOTS SIMUNITION range of marker rounds have been a stalwart of special operations training regimes around the world, pictured here in 5.56x45mm link. (Photo: General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems)

Reduced energy ammunition alternatives include General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems’ (GDOTS) Close Quarters Target (CQT) ammunition, available in 5.56x45mm, designed to be fired from duty weapon systems with an easy-to-install “blue-bolt” conversion kit. The bolt conversion prevents the loading and ignition of live ammunition.

Once converted, the weapon system is capable of firing CQT ammunition with recoil similar to duty ammunition along with “tactical accuracy at distances up to 30m)- ideal for CT training which can include room, building and compound clearance operations. The CQT ammunition can also be used in machine guns, a spokesperson for GDOTS explained.

As an alternative, SOF routinely use paint marking rounds such as the GDOTS FX Marking Cartridges, also available in 5.56x45mm calibre. Similar to CQT ammunition, the FX rounds provide a, “close-range combat training system,” allowing operators and opposing forces (OPFOR) to mark targets without rifle of serious injury.

A GDOTS source explained to MT: “These cartridges produce near-normal recoil and deliver good tactical accuracy up to 30 metres. Their colour projectiles leave a detergent-based, water-soluble inert colour mark.”

SOF have also relied on 7.62x51mm training rounds including GDOTS’ Short Range Training Short Stop, designed for use on range complexes where the danger of ricochet and stray bullets can pose a problem for training troops.

The Short Stop ammunition has a maximum range of 100m, with the round falling off once the projectile destabilises beyond this range. Made of a frangible bronze and copper filled polymer, the ammunition round also reduces environmental contamination.

On 15 September, the US Army Contracting Command unveiled an RfP to GDOTS Canada for the provision of 9mm M1041 Practice Ammunition Cartridges for use in Close Combat Mission Capability Kits.

The latter includes blue and red marking rounds, fired from converted Beretta M9 9mm handguns, M11 handguns and M4 5.56mm carbines, all of which are fitted with CCMCK barrels. The latter carbine is also fitted with an Upper Receiver Conversion Kit.

Such a concept allows training soldiers to carry primary and secondary weapon systems with an ability to engage enemy targets at 5ft and beyond using low velocity marking ammunition.

Holding Live Weapons like Muscle Memory 

According to Eric Perez, Director of Virtual Sales for Meggitt Training Systems, the main issue in the military simulation market is the fact that requirements of customers and their respective Armed Forces remain incredibly individual.

FATS M100 (Photo: Meggitt Training Systems)

Speaking to MT, Perez explained: “We depend on our customers and internal subject matter experts [SMEs] to provide feedback on our systems and weapons. With our large base of customers, we have found that although the training outcome may be the same, every one of our customers teaches it differently. It is those things that give us such an advantage in creating better features compared to our previous generations of systems. Meggitt’s SMEs work so closely with the customer that they become an in-house voice for them on future projects.”

Meggitt has found that the customer procurement of a variety of different weapon systems has subsequently led to a wide diversity in requirement for simulators as armed forces seek more cost-efficient means of training. “Meggitt Training Systems recognises that its customers have different training needs, so we assign dedicated teams. Many of the requirements set forth by our customers relate to weapons system fidelity or the precise commands that occur at their live ranges. Meggitt has to adhere to those standards, so that once the trainees hold those live weapons or go to that range it should be like muscle memory even if they have never been there before,” Perez stated.

Referring to the Italian MoD’s selection of Beretta ARX 160 and GLX 160 weapon systems as its primary assault rifles, Perez explained how Meggitt had concurrently provided them with BlueFire wireless weapon simulators as well as upgrading existing small arms training systems such Meggitt’s very own FATS M100 trainer.

The FATS M100 now incorporates an open architecture allowing Armed Forces to integrate third-party training modules into their training programmes. It also includes technology upgrades in fidelity and graphic complexity for greater realism, as well as enhanced 3-D marksmanship, intelligent coaching applications using wireless tablets and VBS3-based collective training.
The BlueFire simulator provides VR technology while operators retain the capability of personal weapon systems instead of using substitute systems, optimised for simulation.

This allows for collective and judgmental training, operating via wireless Bluetooth technology, allowing it to communication with the FATS M100 system without cords or tethered operations hindering actions,” Perez continued.

Referring to current requirements from a variety of Armed Forces, he described how selection of a simulation system really came down to the fidelity of the weapons system, with customers demanding a simulator that will have the true tactile controls, weight and characteristics of its live counterpart.

The company is also responding to an RfI from the US DoD for a Virtual Portable M7 Military System providing up to eight soldiers to train in individual marksmanship lanes.

According to the solicitation, which was released in September, the system must be capable of providing “Escalation of Force” training, allowing soldiers to use less than lethal techniques to calm down a scenario before reverting to lethal weapon systems as a last resort.

The system must also have the ability to be integrated with the US Army’s and USAF’s Virtual Small Arms Military Trainer systems.

High Fidelity

Elsewhere, Rockwell Collins has launched its latest offering in the realm of military simulation and training with the high fidelity EP-8100 Image Generator, designed to bring, “new levels of realism and performance,” a company spokesperson informed MT.

According to LeAnn Ridgeway, VP and GM for Simulation and Training at the company, the EP-8100 includes conversion software allowing existing Rockwell Collins synthetic environments to run in original form or enhanced context.

Other improvements include WholeEarth environment software, allowing large-area training with small inset development; advanced smoke, dust and heat haze conditions; high fidelity snow and rain effects; regional weather, allowing up to eight weather patterns to run concurrently across a single training area; adaptive architecture for more realistic clouds, dust and smoke; increased catalogues with high-resolution airport models available; and high fidelity sensor simulation encompassing IR, night vision, EO and laser light module requirements. The EP-8100 was unveiled to the international market at ITEC 2015.

Training with Consequences

With a background in supplying Armed Forces with laser-based simulation systems such as the Deployed Tactical Engagement System (DTES), Saab has identified future trends beyond just simulated live firing of weapon systems.

Live fire simulation is no longer limited to small arms with Saab now having introduced a simulated variant of the CARL GUSTAF anti-tank guided munition. (photo: US DoD)

According to the company’s Head of UK Market Area Europe, Middle East and Africa, Claes-Peter Cederlof, concepts such as DTES could be enhanced with the additional integration of biometric data and combination of live and virtual training.

Describing how biometric data could not only be fed back to a tactical operations centre for exploitation purposes but also used to direct exercising troops in regards to medical assessment, first aid and casualty evacuation drills. “Our latest Personal Detection Devices [PDDs] include a ‘Life Clock’ which reduces if a soldier is injured,” Cederlof explained to MT. “A soldier can stop the clock reducing by inputting simulated medical treatment given to a casualty.”

According to Cederlof, the next few years will see an overhaul in the way Armed Forces train in light of troop cutbacks and financial constraints. He claimed the British Armed Forces, for example, spent approximately £5 million a year on ammunition, with most used for training scenarios. “The UK could spend less if it understood the training environment better. Quantifiable training is more efficient, allowing exercising troops to measure hits and misses,” Cederlof explained while describing how many NATO nations up until now have been conducting relatively ineffective simulation training regimes.

This argument centres around the use of Location of Hit and Miss (LOHM) target boxes which measure incoming rounds landing within a 5m “suppression” box surrounding a pop-up target. Training for operations during the Cold War appear to have been prolonged ever since on condition that it is acceptable for exercising troops to miss the actual target but successfully “pin down” or suppress a target with rounds falling within the suppression box. Additionally, exercising troops would not receive any simulated incoming fire.

Recent COIN operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have resulted in the rethinking of such training regimes, with combat units now required to more precisely and accurately engage enemy targets located within densely populated urban areas.

Cederlof described new simulation regimes such as, “training with consequences,” which allowed exercising troops to react to more effective incoming fire, whether from laser generated devices or marker cartridges. This type of training proves more effective with soldiers relying more upon use of cover for protection from incoming enemy fire as well as increased emphasis on movement with covering fire.

SOF have been doing this and it is time for the wider Armed Forces to start doing the same,” Cederlof added. “Some conventional units are running the same exercises as they did 25 years ago.”

Anti Tank Options 

It is not just small arms systems which are witnessing a revamp in simulation capabilities. Additionally, companies such as Saab are now offering simulated ground weapon systems such as those it provides for its CARL GUSTAF anti-tank guided munition (ATGM).

Highlighting how live ammunition remained very expensive, Cederlof explained how the Swedish Army continued to save millions of pounds by training with CARL GUSTAF ATGM laser simulators.

Current trends encompassing a mix of live fire, marker cartridges, subsonic and lower energy rounds look certain to maintain their place within the training regime of armed forces. Similarly, integration with laser-based technology such as Saab’s DTES will certainly appeal to militaries looking to execute the “Training with Consequences” mindset as described by Cederlof.

However, it will be interesting to monitor progress with the introduction of augmented reality technology, currently being promoted by companies including Applied Research Associates. Such a concept is currently being developed for SOF and dismounted soldiers but application in training regimes could revolutionise small combat unit training in the future.

Andrew White is a regular contributor to MT. 

I/ITSEC 2015: Photographic Recap of Day 2