Defence has energetically embraced simulation, with pilots of helicopters and jets, tank crews and many others training on ultra-realistic simulations.
But how about linking up all those simulators dotted around the countryside and adding the ability to link in real flying aircraft and for system operators to add simulated enemy or friendly aircraft.
“You have a live, a virtual and a constructive environment and that’s where the future is going. And that’s where you are going to save all the dollars on training,” Jim Walker, Asia-Pacific Vice-President and Managing Director for Rockwell Collins, said at LAND FORCES on Tuesday.
Rockwell Collins is now rolling out its JTAC simulators at eight Defence locations and is working with Thales to integrate the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) into a joint training environment.
JTACs – Joint Terminal Attack Controllers – are soldiers especially trained to call in artillery or air strikes on particular targets.
These may not always be Australian fires. Australia has adopted the US memorandum of agreement on JTAC competencies which requires that they be trained to a very high standard in order to use US capabilities.
Mr Walker said the JTAC sim was home grown Australian technology which drew on the best of US technology.
“The Saudis are very interested. We have just won a contract with them for the JTAC, similar to LAND 17, and they are very interested in the simulator. We have been talking with the Japanese, the Koreans and the Singaporeans.”
“In a digital and integrated world, things happen so quickly. You have to make sure you are putting the cross hairs on the right spot. You don’t want a blue on blue.”
Thales showed off a simulated collective training activity based on an amphibious landing at Shoalwater Bay.
“What this is demonstrating is the ability, particularly Thales and Rockwell in this case to work collaboratively with their bespoke softwares and terrain products,” said Thales’ Greg Hooper.
“We can actually bring in all key platforms of armoured fighting vehicles, helicopters, landing craft for amphibious landings, as well as working with virtual battlespace so the first shooter, the infantry, can also be incorporated into the collective training activity.
Mr Hooper said this all allowed Defence to conduct fairly high level collective training in a simulated environment before actually deploying to the field.
He said parts of this were in service. ARH sims were in use in Darwin and Oakey. ASLAV simulators were in service across four sites.
“They are all capable being networked,” he said.