01 Sep 21. Inzpire Limited introduces three new training simulator system demonstrators . Inzpire will be exhibiting at DSEI on stand H7-600. Inzpire Limited’s Mission Training Devices Division will be unveiling three brand-new simulator system demonstrators at DSEI 2021.
The three systems include: the Compact Agile Simulator Equipment (CASE) ISR/UAS, which is a deployable unmanned aerial system (UAS) simulator; a mixed reality (MR) deployable joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) simulator (CASE JTAC); and the Vortex Helisim, a deployable single seat helicopter simulator comprised of a virtual reality (VR) headset and screen.
CASE UAS/ISR is designed to deliver cost-effective ISR and UAS training to the trainee at the point of need. The entire system, contained within ruggedised pelicases, is easily moveable by one person for ease of transport and can be set up ready for training within minutes.
The system can be configured to deliver individual training to UAS pilots or sensor operators, or configured to support team/crew training of pilots and sensor operators, as well as mission intelligence coordinators and image analysts. CASE can replicate a vast array of sensor and weapons payloads including EO/IR, radar (SAR, MTI, GMTI, DBS, ISAR), laser (LTD, LRF, Lidar) and SIGINT.
CASE JTAC is a MR simulator training capability which consists of a series of ruggedised deployable cases; all elements of the system can be used as standalone individual simulators or networked together to provide a full team training capability.
The design of the system allows for the use of real-world equipment alongside MR headsets, allowing for greater immersion without the isolation effects associated with pure VR simulation systems.
Whilst utilising CASE JTAC, trainees can still interact with each other, enhancing team training without the infrastructure and costs associated with expensive dome projection systems.
The Vortex HeliSim is a deployable single-seat helicopter simulator with SFS Pegasus passive helicopter flight controls that can be operated either in VR or with curved monitors to create an immersive training solution for individuals or teams. The simulator utilises commercial-off-the-shelf products to provide cost-effective training in an upgradable and scalable synthetic training solution.
The Vortex Helisim is designed for all areas of rotary training, with a particular focus on enhancing tactical and judgement skills. The simulator can be used by individuals to improve everything from basic procedural understanding to coping with challenging tactical scenarios, and is designed to be scalable; two or more Vortex HeliSims can be networked together, to enable immersive, multi-crew helicopter training.
The Vortex HeliSim also provides improved immersion for helicopter role players as virtual entities in a networked collective synthetic training environment.
Steven Pook, Inzpire’s head of mission training devices, said: “As a result of the disruption and challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented over the past 20 months, Inzpire’s Mission Training Devices Division has recognised the ever-greater importance of synthetic training which can be delivered at the point that the customer needs it most.
“Our new simulators provide deployable synthetic training capability, lessening costs to the customer thanks to the reduced infrastructure, transport and subsistence costs associated with larger centrally-hosted systems.
“Inzpire’s new Mission Training Devices are capable of deploying with units on operations or on training deployments, ensuring that currency, competency and the opportunity for mission rehearsal in a synthetic environment is maintained away from home base. Ultimately Inzpire’s new Mission Training Devices are designed to maintain and enhance the operational effectiveness of our customers’ personnel wherever they may be.”
11 Sep 21. Draken Europe and Collins Aerospace Collaborate on Next Generation Air Combat Training Systems. Draken Europe and Collins Aerospace have signed an agreement that will introduce Collins Aerospace’s Joint Secure Air combat training System (JSAS) for use with Draken’s Falcon 20 fleet in support of operational readiness training for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
The solution is comprised of aircraft-mounted JSAS pods plus a ground station, built in cooperation with Leonardo DRS, and offers advanced, high capacity, low latency, and multi-hop mesh networking using a software defined radio hosting multiple waveforms providing key enablers to achieve secure, LVC, multi domain collective training.
With the first systems delivered to Draken Europe’s headquarters, these pods based on CRIIS (Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System), already extensively used by the USAF and USN for training and analysis, will be cleared for flight on the Falcon 20 fleet, with first trials by the end of 2021. As part of Draken’s current operational readiness training contract with the MOD, JSAS pods will enable near real time combat training information to be viewed at the aircraft base, and be ready for de-brief immediately after landing. This interoperability is made possible by the Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS) architecture that ensures that classified data is protected while it is shared across platforms with the same security levels.
The system will be upgraded in time with a variant of the next generation Tactical Combat Training System – Increment II (TCTS II) pods enabling fully encrypted interoperability with all coalition platforms across legacy P5 and future P6 Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation (ACMI) waveforms.
The agreement goes beyond system provision and includes a commitment to seek opportunities to demonstrate the technology more widely with our coalition partners and to use it as a platform for introducing virtual and constructive training effects to benefit UK Defence. Collins Aerospace has 4,500 direct employees in the UK across 20 locations, including engineering, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain operations.
“We are incredibly excited to receive these highly advanced next generation systems to enhance our training capabilities and improve interoperability with our military customers. Our continued investment in this area, together with our extensive operational experience, allows us to adapt and optimise our training efforts to reflect the ever changing threat environment that our customers face in reality,” said Paul Armstrong, CEO Draken Europe.
“JSAS enables the warfighter to train and improve joint tactics, techniques and procedures in a secure environment against a peer adversary threat, unlike anything that has been seen in the past. We’re excited about the delivering this proven capability to Draken,” said Heather Robertson, vice president and general manager, Integrated Solutions for Collins Aerospace.
07 Sep 21. Collins secures additional E-2D contract. Collins Aerospace received a contract modification to enhance HITS-A and HITS-M training devices for the E-2D. Collins Aerospace has continued to add to its Hawkeye Integrated Training System (HITS) business with a $17.62m contract to upgrade training systems for aircrew and maintenance crew.
Awarded by the Orlando, Florida-based US Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWC TSD), the contract covers aircrew systems within the HITS-A programme and maintainers under HITS-M.
HITS-A provides tactics trainers; operational flight trainers; aircrew procedures trainers; curriculum/courseware; electronic classrooms; a learning resource centre and mission brief/debrief facilities.
HITS-M features a simulated maintenance trainer, a power plant trainer, curriculum/courseware design and support and electronic classrooms.
The main focus of the contract, a modification to a previously awarded deal, is to provide spares and equipment to maintain currency between the aircraft and training devices.
The upgrades will be undertaken at the USN Carrier Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing’s Fleet and Replacement Squadrons as well as at its Weapons School, where HITS-A and HITS-M are currently used.
According to NAWC, work will be completed in March 2024.
One of the main subcontractors for Collins Aerospace on the programme is Aero Simulation Inc (ASI). The company developed the E-2D Operational Flight Trainers and Aircrew Procedures Trainers for HITS-A.
Earlier this year, the USN announced that two E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Distributed Readiness Trainers (D-DRT) successfully completed Fleet Mission Testing at NAS Norfolk, Virginia and were declared ready for training. These were the first Delta System Software Configuration 3 (DSSC-3) aircrew trainers for the fleet.
The D-DRT allows the two pilots and three flight officers aboard Hawkeye to practise a range of tactical scenarios. The two D-DRT devices are also able to connect and operate together, simulating dual E-2D mission scenarios that require complex battlespace management and procedures.
Two D-DRTs are now being readied for training at MCAS Iwakuni in Japan under a sole-source $44m contract awarded to Rockwell Collins in 2018.
According to Shephard Defence Insight, the USN is acquiring 24 E-2Ds from Northrop Grumman for an estimated $5.1bn. (Source: Shephard)
03 Sep 21. 4GD to exhibit ACIES IntegratedRealities at DSEI 2021. 4GD, close combat immersive technology specialists, will be showcasing their innovative new solutions at DSEI 2021. Taking place at London’s ExCel Centre between 14-17 September, the veteran-run, UK based company will be part of the Brigantes stand H1-480, in the exhibition’s Security Zone.
4GD will exhibit their flagship SmartFacility® solution in the form of a mini-Close Quarters Battle (CQB) lane along with a SimStriker smart target dummy which can record hits from non-ballistic ammunition. The CQB lane will also be equipped with a sample of ACIES IntegratedRealities, a synthetic environment that seamlessly brings together the physical and digital worlds.
While linked to the SmartFacility®, ACIES IntegratedRealities will reflect actions taken in the physical CQB lane into a digital environment, so the SimStriker also appears as the avatar of an enemy combatant to anyone with a portal to the virtual world. Therefore, when the target is engaged in the real-world and drops, the avatar will also be neutralised and anyone viewing its virtual representation will see this.
ACIES was launched as a revolutionary new product in January 2021 alongside ECFECTUS, a tactical performance data collection system. Together, the two solutions aim to extend the range of capabilities that 4GD’s SmartFacility® can offer and drive further performance improvements in close combat training.
DSEI visitors will be invited to wear 4GD’s motion tracking kit, enter the CQB lane equipped with a UTM weapon and clear it from a hostile target. Outside of the range, viewers will be able to see their progress in a synthetic tactical UAS feed. This will also be available on replay afterwards.
Whilst full functionality can only be provided in a fully enabled SmartFacility®, the 4GD team will be available to field questions and elaborate on the exciting opportunities ACIES unlocks. Visitors with an interest in Mortars, Snipers, UAS or any combined arms, will be welcome to explore how 4GD, and their partners D3A, can build these into a joint physical/synthetic battlefield. As is customary at DSEI, 4GD will also host refreshments at the end of each day. Join 4GD at the Brigantes stand, H1-480.
23 Aug 21. In this fifth part of Spring Storm In The Baltic Region our focus falls on the SWIFT RESPONSE artillery on the heliborne air assault phase, reports Bob Morrison. Background for those who may not have yet read Parts 1 to 4: SWIFT RESPONSE 2021 was a US-led multinational exercise held near simultaneously across several countries, linked into the DEFENDER-Europe 2021 deployment of troops from the United States into several European countries, aimed at demonstrating the US and NATO Alliance commitment and ability to rapidly reinforce in times of crisis. SWIFT RESPONSE activities in Europe commenced in Estonia in early May, just ahead of the national KEVADTORM / SWIFT STORM field exercises, with a Transatlantic Joint Forcible Entry (JFE) phase which was immediately followed up by an Air Assault phase and then a package of live-fire exercises involving American and British airborne troops.
As is often the case with a NATO airborne insertion exercise, artillery (known as Fires in US parlance) assets were parachuted in as part of the Heavy Drop which in peacetime is usually dropped close to, but on safety grounds not on top of, the Drop Zone used to insert the Paratroopers. The airborne gunners who have parachuted in alongside the infantry companies and other supporting troops then make their way speedily to their guns, de-rig and manhandle them off the airdrop platforms they were parachuted on, then set up a gun line to provide cover and counter-battery fire as the airborne infantry fans out to clear any enemy troops in the immediate area and to secure the bridgehead behind enemy lines for follow-on operations.
The British-made M777, originally the Vickers Ultralight Field Howitzer, weighs just 4.2 tonnes and can be parachuted with a supply of ready ammunition on a heavy airdrop platform [©BM]
Dependent on the size of the formation dropped, and the assets of the NATO nation undertaking the parachute insertion, the artillery support can vary from mortars, either 81mm or 120mm, to towed howitzers, from 105mm to 155mm, or a combination of all. Normally the Joint Forcible Entry would me made onto, or reasonably close by, an airfield capable of accepting a follow-on TALO (Tactical Air Land Operation) phase undertaken by transport aircraft carrying heavier vehicles and equipment plus resupplies of expendables to sustain the operation beyond the limited period (days rather than weeks) that Paratroopers are self-sufficient for when they drop. Self-propelled artillery and bulk ammunition would usually follow on with the TALO, but a quantity of ready ammunition to allow the artillery to operate until the designated airfield has been secured by the Paras is delivered with the Heavy Drop (see SWIFT RESPONSE 2021 ~ Drop Zone Vehicles Album for library images of a US Heavy Drop).
By the afternoon of the parachute insertion onto Nurmsi airfield in Estonia, which took place in the early hours of 8th May 2021 following a day’s safety delay as a major storm front passed through the Baltic region, the joint formation of Paratroopers – drawn from the US 82nd Airborne Division (primarily 1st Battalion of the 508th Infantry Regiment) and the UK 16th Air Assault Brigade (primarily 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment) – had secured the airfield’s perimeter, expanded north-east into the forest to mop up all remnants of enemy forces in the area, and were reorganising for an evening heliborne move from Nurmsi to link up with Estonian and NATO eFP allies on and around the Central Training Area near Tapa. With this initial phase of the JFE successfully completed, the airborne gunners from 1st Battalion of 319th Field Artillery Regiment or 1-319 AFAR were now free to also move forward to Tapa by helicopter so they packed away their howitzers and moved to their designated area on the PZ (or Pickup Zone) as the DZ (or Drop Zone) was now designated; for SWIFT RESPONSE 2021 in Estonia the same location was used for both DZ and PZ, but on previous larger JFE exercises I have covered, which did not have not have to be run under COVID-19 restrictions, different DZ and PZ locations were used.
The PZ at Nurmsi was split into parallel Staging Area Light and Staging Area Heavy sectors, running with the direction of the old Cold War-era grass runway military airfield and each stretching for several hundred metres / yards. A total of seven lifts was scheduled to fly forward, with each helicopter making repeat round trips to move over 600 personnel and their equipment:-
- The Artillery elements [LOYALTY] took two lifts, consisting of six chalks and then two chalks.
- The Infantry [FURY] took two lifts, in mixed serials of twelve chalks and then eight chalks.
- The Headquarters and Headquarters Company [3 BCT HHC] took one lift of three chalks.
- The Reconnaissance Company [RECON] took two lifts, each of five chalks.
As afternoon turned to evening and the day’s incessant drizzle turned to squally showers, I relocated to the south side of the Staging Area Heavy with the intermittent bright sunshine behind me to wait for the first lift to commence. Both CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the US Army 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, deployed to Europe on the ATLANTIC RESOLVE 7 mission, were used to transport guns and personnel forward, with the first wave consisting of three Chinooks plus three Black Hawks and the second consisting of four Black Hawks. Before commencing the lifts the helicopter pilots, who had flown in from the west, set down line astern on the Staging Area Light to conduct the necessary peacetime safety briefings with representatives from the units who had crossed the Atlantic the night before to parachute onto a different continent; as always with military operations, ‘hurry up and wait’ was the mantra of the day while everyone ensured the other parties were reading from the same script.
With all briefings complete, those helicopters tasked with lifting the artillery took off and crabbed across to the Staging Area Heavy to conduct a trial lift of the howitzers. This is another peacetime precaution and one which prevents the loadmaster having to dump a potentially unsafe load (which I have witnessed myself in the past) to protect the aircraft and its occupants in the case of something unexpectedly going wrong in the air. A Hum-vee carrying a new artillery locating system, packed away in its hard cases for transit, was also lifted by a Chinook during this trial phase to give the crews experience of both rigging and air-lifting, but although its crew were flown forward in Lift 1 the vehicle itself was unhooked and left on the PZ.
Once the trial heavy lifts were completed, by three Chinooks and one Black Hawk, the pilots crabbed them off to the side and settled down to allow the personnel from LOYALTY to board the aircraft and take their seats as the rotors turned and burned. Just before the appointed hour, the three aircraft designated to lift the gun line howitzers (2x 155mm and 1x 105mm) took of and moved sideways again where handlers once again hooked the loads up and once this was speedily accomplished all six helicopters assigned to Lift 1 took to the skies and headed north towards the Tapa polygon, where a new gun line would be established to support the following live-fire attacks by the parachute infantry company from 508 PIR. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
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