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Australia Unveils Simulation Capability (Sept. 13)

Personnel at Puckapunyal were recently treated to a display of defense technology in a world-class example of distributed simulation capabilities.

Maj. Trevor Colton, SO2 Future Systems at the Army Simulation Office, directed the display of Army's firepower at the WTSS with a large audience eager to see the Army Synthetic Environment in action.

The system utilizes Army's simulation programs in a mock battle comprising of infantry, armored and aviation in one operation.

Maj. Colton said the system was world-class technology and 100 per cent homegrown in Australia. Currently the Australian Army is the only army in the world that has all of their distributed simulations systems integrated.

"We're very excited and very proud," he said.

He said simulation programs used are the Indirect Fire Observer Trainer (IFOT), the WTSS, a combat vehicle simulator, and a UAV simulator, a data-logger and BCSS.

"These are all stand-alone systems in their own right and do everything that they need to conduct training. They're all good systems that soldiers use every day of the week for training.

"With the integration of these systems, the computer will generate enemy that will come running toward us, soldiers can shoot the enemy from their position, they'll be able to call in artillery fire and drive tanks forward under return fire from enemy tanks. Helicopters can fly over and take out the tanks."

The final look of the product is almost game console-like, but Maj. Colton says this analogy is a dangerous one. "This is a very serious training device," he said.

The mid-August demonstration was the first time the system has been showcased and Maj. Colton stressed the display was technical only, not tactical.

Despite small glitches in the system, observers still had the chance to experience the technology defense has at its disposal.

He said that the glitches were only a reflection of maturity and that the system would be in tiptop shape when it is next showcased later in the year.

"We know what the problem is, we just have to fix it - it's expected when you're trying to do new things and you're on the cutting edge.

"It will be even bigger and better when it's shown in later in October."

Maj. Colton said the system would be an advantage to train soldiers before leaving the barracks.

"If there's a joint exercise with the Americans, we can train with them before they deploy. When we arrive at a location we all know what each other does and we operate well together.

"This utopia is a long time off but this is the first step along that journey."

He said that every WTSS site had the potential for this technology and that each of the nine around the country should have this capability by 2002.

Maj. Colton said the system maximizes the efficiency of the combat system through appropriate use of simulation.

"The army simulation office had the idea to do it, because we already had the systems we approached the companies that owned those systems and contracted them to integrate it.

"Through this process we've refined all the technical specifications so that we're embedding that into systems we're about to buy, primarily the Project Land 134, the Combat Training Center, Live Simulation, Range Instrumentation and Information Systems."


Synthetic Warfare