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20 Aug 20. BISim’s Biggest Product Release Since 2013! VBS4 20.1 Is a Powerful, Easy-to-Use, Whole-Earth Virtual and Constructive Simulation for Military Training.
Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), a global developer of advanced military simulation and training software, announces the release of VBS4 20.1, BISim’s most important software release since 2013. VBS4 is an easy-to-use, whole-earth virtual and constructive simulation. It offers a massive step change over VBS3, providing greater ease of use, enhanced performance and a whole-Earth terrain representation.
BISim announces its biggest product release since 2013, VBS4. The newest flagship product is an easy-to-use, whole-earth virtual and constructive simulation for military training.
“VBS4 20.1 is a full and complete replacement for BISim’s highly successful VBS3 product and starts the next revolution in Virtual Battlespace technology,” said BISim CEO Arthur Alexion. “With VBS4, there’s no need for extensive technical background or long training courses. You can plan your mission, build your terrain with easy-to-use interfaces, and focus on the learning points of the exercise rather than the technical aspects of setup.”
VBS4 becomes BISim’s flagship product — a fully featured desktop training and simulator-ready replacement for all VBS3 capabilities, with its hundreds of use cases and integration possibilities. On top of that, VBS4 introduces VBS Plan and VBS Geo modes for fast and accurate scenario and terrain generation and VBS World Server (VWS), a complementary companion product to VBS4 which allows training anywhere on the planet instantly out of the box.
Put those together and add in the underlying VBS Blue engine technology and you have literally opened up the ‘world’ of training possibilities – leverage robust cutting-edge gaming and geo-spatial technology to train a vast array of missions at many different echelons whilst utilizing VBS Plan and VBS Geo to minimize the need for technical knowledge. VBS4 is truly a game changer.
Unlike many other game engine-based simulations, the VBS4 engine (VBS Blue) is optimized to serve the military simulation and training domain. VBS Blue offers millimeter accuracy and global scale simultaneously, and it has a flexible terrain ingestion pipeline capable of facilitating quick use of terrain data from any conceivable source. VBS4 delivers complex military effects out of the box and industry-leading graphical fidelity. Built on years of rigorous feedback from military SMEs, VBS4 is packed with capabilities to support large-scale combined arms virtual scenarios and hundreds of authentic military training uses.
Just like with VBS3, VBS4’s capability will continue to expand significantly with investments from our global customer base and continued BISim-funded investment. Planned for the end of 2020, VBS4 20.2 will introduce extended capabilities in all of VBS Plan, VBS Geo and VWS and 2021 releases will include highly useful improvements such as cloud-enabled scaling and additional Call for Fire and Close Air Support capability.
About Bohemia Interactive Simulations
Founded in 2001, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) is a global software company at the forefront of simulation and training solutions for defense and civilian organizations. BISim utilizes the latest game-based technology and a 200-strong, in-house team of engineers to develop high-fidelity, cost-effective training and simulation software products and components for defense applications.
Globally, more than 500,000 military personnel are trained every year using VBS software products. More than 60 NATO and NATO-friendly countries and over 250 integrators/prime contractors use VBS technology, many making significant funding commitments to extend VBS product capabilities. Customers include the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Australian Defence Force, Swedish Armed Forces, French MoD and UK MoD and most major integrators. VBS products have become, by far, the world’s most widely used COTS product range in the military-simulation sector, supporting hundreds of military use cases and vastly greater military exploitation than any comparable products. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
20 Aug 20. Covid-19 crisis accelerates UK military’s push into virtual war gaming. Defence chiefs want gaming company to develop digital twin of Britain to test resilience. Improbable’s virtual reality technology can simulate highly detailed conflict scenarios without troops having to take part in war games.
UK defence chiefs are seeking to fast-track new virtual reality technology developed by a British gaming company to create a digital replica of the country, arguing this would help test resilience to future pandemics, natural disasters and attacks by hostile states. The Ministry of Defence has already spent more than £25m on contracts with software developer Improbable — which has pioneered the technology — to investigate its potential. Insiders say the government’s difficulties in co-ordinating national data and responses during the coronavirus crisis have persuaded ministers of the benefits of the system, known as a “single synthetic environment”, which is now likely to be accelerated in autumn’s integrated defence and security review. The technology works by generating a virtual “twin” of any location by layering maps of geographical terrain and critical infrastructure with details of fuel, power and water supplies as well as telecoms networks, supermarket distribution systems and weather patterns. This can be combined with locations of where people are, based on phone signals, and what they’re thinking about, gleaned from social media.
The final product uses artificial intelligence to simulate future scenarios and allows operators to “war game” their responses. Herman Narula, chief executive of Improbable, has in the past jokingly compared this to “building the Matrix”, in reference to the science fiction film in which humans exist inside a simulated reality. Real-world uses could range from forecasting the damage from natural disasters such as floods to calculating the effect of a cyber attack against a power station or presenting simulated hostage rescue scenarios to the government’s Cobra emergency committee. If you want to simulate societal meltdown as a result of coronavirus, it’s not enough to have the software, you have to have the details on what would happen Elisabeth Braw, the Royal United Services Institute “This would have been really useful in understanding the spread of the pandemic, measuring the effect of measures taken to inhibit it and improving public communications — a key enabler to doing a better job of managing the crisis,” said Richard Barrons, former head of Britain’s joint forces command. “We still need one for whatever [crisis] happens next.”
Sir Richard, who is affiliated with both Improbable and CAE, a Canadian company that provides simulation technology for the system, added it would “dramatically improve” the ability of UK military chiefs to “solve complex problems in real time, take better decisions and conduct more decisive and efficient operations”. “It would also make a lot of training far more challenging and much cheaper than trying to replicate conflict situations in the real world,” he said. The idea gained currency with senior figures in Downing Street including Mark Sedwill, the outgoing cabinet secretary and national security adviser, and Michael Gove, Cabinet Office minister, at the height of the pandemic when the government’s Covid-19 response unit was struggling to bring together the information it needed from across the UK. The concept is viewed favourably by Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief of staff, who wants to use the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy — due to report in November — as an opportunity to boost investment in innovative technologies instead of traditional military hardware. Two different images of a single synthetic environment created by Improbable: a network resilience level and a tactical training simulation © Improbable The MoD’s eventual aim would be to build simulations of likely conflict zones — such as the Baltic nations bordering Russia — and Improbable’s prototype is based on one of the Baltic countries as a proof of concept. However, the pandemic has focused minds on boosting resilience at a national level, and insiders say the immediate priority will be building a “digital twin” of the UK.
Joe Robinson, chief executive of Improbable’s defence arm, described the technology as a “what-if machine”, which would allow military chiefs to run “thousands” of complex simulations over and over again, refining the parameters each time. “What we’re aiming for in the longer term is . . . to enable governments to test ideas and test choices of action in a virtual world before implementing them in the real world,” he said. Improbable, which is backed by SoftBank, has also pitched its single synthetic environment to senior Nato commanders. The US military is developing similar augmented reality war gaming technology. But Elisabeth Braw, director of the modern deterrence programme at London-based defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute, warned against getting “prematurely excited” by the idea of the single synthetic environment, saying its success would rely on accessing high quality data to train the algorithm. Recommended Helen Warrell From the archive: Defence industry in retreat as coronavirus attacks “The real test is whether this assimilates real life,” Ms Braw said. “If you want to simulate societal meltdown as a result of coronavirus, it’s not enough to have the software, you have to have the details on what would happen, the data inputs. Clearly you can’t have perfect knowledge beforehand of what would happen in a crisis but you have to have lots of details which would give you the closest approximation of what would then happen,” she said. The project also presents a potential security risk: Sir Richard admitted that a digital simulation of the UK, or any country, would be an obvious target for “criminals, and hostile powers, and indeed, just competitors”, so would have to be subject to stringent cyber protection to ensure it could not be hacked. UK Strategic Command’s first contract with Improbable was worth £11.9m in 2019 and the company was granted another £11.5m this year. The British Army also has a smaller £2.3m deal with Improbable and is involved in testing the synthetic environment software. The MoD said it was “working closely with private sector partners to ensure our armed forces benefit from the latest technology as we respond to the threats brought by a rapidly changing world”. (Source: FT.com)
19 Aug 20. P-8 Poseidon simulator delivered to RAF Lossiemouth on Antonov AN-124. A giant Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft delivered a new Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) for RAF Lossiemouth to Glasgow Prestwick this Monday. It forms part of a new £132m strategic facility that Boeing Defence UK (BDUK) and local construction partner Robertson have built over the past two years.
The simulators will provide the necessary training for the pilots who will operate the Poseidon MRA Mk1 fleet. RAF Lossiemouth will house all nine Poseidon aircraft by the end of 2021.
The Poseidon aircraft will fill the UK’s aerial maritime patrol role and are designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) as well as surveillance, search and reconnaissance operations.
Simulators generate emergency situations that are uncommon in real life and allow pilots to practice complex procedures to avoid threats in the air or from the ground.
An Antonov-124 cargo aircraft transported the first of two simulators to RAF Lossiemouth on Tuesday morning from Orlando, Florida. Due to the width and height of the simulator, the Antonov is one of only a few aircraft in the world large enough to transport it.
Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) Project Manager for Training in the Poseidon delivery team Mark Cordon said: “These simulators have the compatibility to link up with the mission simulators used by the rear crew, allowing them to train together.
“It’s an essential part of making sure the pilots are fully prepared to operate the new fleet of aircraft.”
This arrival of the simulator comes amid major renovations at RAF Lossiemouth. The simulators and new facility form part of £470m UK Government investment in the base.
As of Autumn 2020, Lossiemouth will be the headquarters of the UK’s P-8 Poseidon fleet.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “The new Poseidon fleet will reassert the UK in the maritime patrol arena. It will play an invaluable role in our national security for decades to come.”
The 33,000 square metre facility includes a three-bay hangar, accommodation for two squadrons, plus state-of-the-art training equipment and facilities for those working on the fleet of Poseidon aircraft. It will employ 470 additional military and civilian personnel.
On 23 July 2020 Boeing handed over the Poseidon facility to the Ministry of Defence. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Aug 20. UK to lead maritime training initiative to boost Ukrainian Navy. The UK’s Ministry of Defence has announced that it will spearhead a multinational Maritime Training Initiative for the Ukrainian Navy.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said that this initiative is expected to boost the navy’s ability to fight threats in the Black Sea.
In a visit to Kyiv to meet the Ukrainian partners, Wallace added that the UK will deploy Royal Navy ships to the region later for training with the Ukrainian Navy.
Wallace said: “We have already assisted thousands of Ukrainian personnel in a plethora of skills ranging from basic first aid to operational planning, all of which defends their territorial integrity from Russian-backed separatists.
“Now, the Maritime Training Initiative will enable even closer collaboration with the Nato alliance and armed forces around the world and allows us to build on Ukraine’s new Nato Enhanced Opportunities Partner status.”
The ministry plans to increase support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) as part of the coordination of the international maritime training programme, which will share the experience of the Royal Navy and its partners starting next month.
The Royal Navy, along with navy personnel from Sweden, Canada and Denmark, will deliver courses in navigation, operational planning, military diving, sea surveillance, fire-fighting and damage control.
More countries are expected to join the initiative in the near future.
The Maritime Training Initiative will allow the Ukrainian Navy to work closely with international partners to jointly defend the Black Sea region.
Following the mandatory suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this new initiative will follow the re-launch of UK’s ‘Operation Orbital’ training mission to Ukraine.
Since the launch of the training mission in 2015, the British Army has trained over 18,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF).
In 2018, the UK’s then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a range of forthcoming maritime training deployments in Ukraine that would help intensify the defence cooperation between the two nations. (Source: naval-technology.com)
17 Aug 20. Exercise Between Germany and Israel Commences. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) today started a joint exercise with the German Air Force. This comes after the latter announced in a press release that its commander had invited the IAF to participate in the exercise during his previous visit to Israel, with the exercises to be carried out in the west of the country. Relations between the two air forces are part of a growing cooperation between the IAF and other “Regional” and European airforces including those of Greece and Italy.
While this cooperation may be based on the need to learn from each other, sources point to the fact that the German Air Force has been part of the coalition that helped the U.S forces in Syria to fight the last strongholds of the so-called Islamic State organisation. Those who claim that the cooperation between the air forces is not just for “mutual learning”, say there are two reasons for the buildup of these coalitions, the threat posed by Iran and the fact that Turkey is building broader relations with Russia and China.
Moscow and Ankara are among the main power brokers in Libya’s conflict while supporting opposing sides. Russia backs the eastern-based forces of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, while Turkey has helped the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) repel Haftar’s attempt to storm the capital. Turkey continues to violate the arms embargo on Libya by sending arms and mercenaries to support the Government of National Accord despite international warnings. According to Italy’s ItaMilRadar website, which specialises in tracking military flights over the Mediterranean, a Turkish Air Force Lockheed C-130B left al-Watiya Air Base for Turkey earlier this month and two days later departed from Libya to return to Turkey. According to the Asharq Al- Awsat newspaper, reports have stated that the new shipment included four drones and advanced medium and light weapons, including M4 rifles.
The official statement from the IAF said that as part of the exercise, six IAF F-16 C aircraft will land at the Norvenich base in western Germany, alongside two Boeing 707 aerial refuelling aircraft and two special mission G-550 aircraft. During the exercise, dozens of planes will simulate scenarios of air-to-air and air-ground missions.
According the IAF, the training is an opportunity to perform a joint tactical exercise that simulates a wide range of threats, combining advanced technology as well as performing quality aerial training in an unfamiliar arena. “The training is high quality and very unique because we train in an unknown area and in an unfamiliar terrain route,” Lt. Col. E.is quoted in the official release “We will fly in different areas than those of the State of Israel, in front of different flight platforms and with different laws.”
“The flights are conducted according to NATO’s combat doctrine and not according to our combat doctrine, which produces challenging training for the cockpit pilot and navigator,” Lt. Col. E. continues. “The exercise is reminiscent of war due to uncertainty and difference compared to training in the State of Israel.” (Source: ESD Spotlight)
18 Aug 20. Maiden flight of first EMD Red Hawk jet slated for September 2021. The US Air Force (USAF) has slated September 2021 for the maiden flight of the first of five engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft, Janes has learned.
With production of the EMD aircraft set to shortly begin at Boeing’s St Louis facility in Missouri and Saab’s Linköping facility in Sweden, a USAF official told Janes on 18 August that the hitherto undisclosed date for the first EMD flight has now been set.
“Saab has released all EMD aircraft ‘build-to-packages’ to support build and manufacturing preparation. The EMD [aft] fuselages (five in total) are currently planned for build at Saab’s factory in Sweden with delivery [to St Louis] no later than April 2021. Production is expected to begin with jig load [this] August at Boeing in St Louis. Boeing currently plans for assembly to be complete in June 2021, with the first EMD flight expected in September 2021,” the USAF said.
Prior to this disclosure, both Boeing and Saab had declined to comment on the timetable for the first EMD flight, noting only that “this is very sensitive information for the USAF”.
With two production-representative jets (PRJs) currently flying, the present EMD phase of the contract covers the five further aircraft and seven simulators. (Source: Jane’s)
18 Aug 20. US PACAF completes RED FLAG-Alaska exercise. The Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), a major command of the US Air Force (USAF), has completed RED FLAG-Alaska 20-3 exercise. As part of the exercise, the participants conducted approximately 560 sorties, completing nearly 1,500 flying hours. The exercise was designed to help the pilots hone their skills and boost combat confidence.
353rd Combat Training Squadron commander Lt Col Gregory Hunger said: “The exercise went amazing. We had a lot of challenges, the biggest one being Covid-19, but we were able to overcome that.
“We were able to reduce the footprint of Covid-19 without sacrificing the training and the high-end combat capability that participants will walk away with.”
RED FLAG-Alaska is a series of PACAF-directed field training exercises that involves providing counter-air, interdiction, close air support and large force employment training to the forces in a simulated combat environment.
Usually, the planning of RED FLAG-Alaska begins eight months before the exercise. However, this time, the forces had a shorter time period to prepare.
Hunger added: “For this exercise, it was six weeks prior when we were given the ‘go-ahead’ and what the units were going to be doing.
“The team at the 353rd CTS and the whole 354th Fighter Wing pitched in to make it happen.”
In the two-week-long exercise, the participating aircraft included of F-35A Lightning IIs from Eielson, Hill AFB from Utah and F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Additionally, B-1 Lancers and KC-135 Stratotankers supported combat scenarios in the exercise. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Aug 20. Royal Australian Navy vessels arrive at Hawaii for Exercise RIMPAC. The Australian Department of Defence has announced that four Royal Navy vessels and around 700 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have arrived in Hawaii for Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2020 (RIMPAC).
RIMPAC is a biennial maritime exercise scheduled to take place on 17-31 August in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands in the US. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the exercise will be an at-sea-only event.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “As outlined in the recent 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan, the government recognises the importance of our maritime forces as a vital element of our defence strategy, and exercises such as this are key to further enhancing our capabilities.
“Ranging from multinational anti-submarine warfare to supporting joint humanitarian operations, by working with others bilaterally, regionally and multilaterally, Australia can contribute to a more secure, stable Indo-Pacific region.”
The vessels that will be a part of the RIMPAC 2020 are the HMA Ships Hobart, Stuart, Arunta, and Sirius.
These ships were part of a deployment of ships and associated forces in the Indo-Pacific region as part of preparations for the RIMPAC exercise.
This marks the first instance where Hobart-class guided missile destroyers participated in RIMPAC.
RIMPAC 2020 will see participation from ten nations, 22 surface ships, one submarine, multiple aircraft, and approximately 5,300 personnel.
Forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and the US will take part.
The forces will carry out different capabilities, including multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations, and live-fire training events. (Source: naval-technology.com)
17 Aug 20. Elbit Systems Awarded a $27m Contract to Supply Air-to-Air Combat Training Systems to a Navy in South Asia. Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESLT, TASE: ESLT) (“Elbit Systems” or “the Company”) announced today that it was awarded a contract valued at approximately $27m to supply air-to-air combat training systems for the Navy of a South Asian Country. The contract will be performed over a two-year period, to be followed by three years of availability-based maintenance.
The contract calls for the supply of EHUDTM Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (“EHUD ACMI”) systems, to be operated from the Navy’s shore bases as well as onboard aircraft carriers.
EHUD ACMI offers advanced air-to-air combat training capabilities, including features such as real-time hit notification and removal, real-time electronic warfare and air-to-air weapons delivery, simulation and advanced debriefing. The system supports an unlimited number of live networked participants, through Elbit Systems’ data-link protocol that also allows interoperability with existing EHUD ACMI systems operated by the customer. The EHUD ACMI training systems are currently operated by numerous Air Forces across four continents, including several NATO countries.
Yoram Shmuely, General Manager of Elbit Systems’ Aerospace Division commented: “We are proud to supply advanced combat training capabilities to the customer’s Navy, following the successful operation of these systems by its Air Force. Elbit Systems is the Israel Defense Forces’ training and simulation house and our continued investment in this area together with the extensive operational experience we have accumulated, enable us to stay well ahead of the curve, also to the benefit of our international customers.”
Recent reports of Elbit Systems’ activities in the area of training and simulation:
Elbit Systems of America was selected to supply embedded training capabilities to Boeing’s T-7 Red Hawk advanced pilot training aircraft for the United States Air Force.
The Company has recently launched its mobile aircrew EW training & simulation field enabling pilots to effectively and efficiently train against realistic EW threats. The new system is housed in a standard mobile container and incorporates a range of transmitters, sensors, communications, command and control as well as analytical systems to enable full spectrum coverage including Radio Frequency, Infra-Red and Electro-optics providing aircrews with the opportunity to conduct airborne training in a real-life multi-threat EW arena.
The Israeli Defense Forces has just initiated a series of brigade level exercises in Elbit Systems’ new Brigade and Battlegroup Mission Training Center. The new training center immerses commanders, headquarters staff and two subordinate command levels in high-fidelity combat situations in actual battle zone territory. This training center presents commanders and their staff with a realistic operational picture, enables them to operate a range of assets, compels them to respond to real-time changes and requires them to cope with tactical communications that are realistically impacted by various effects.
In September of 2019 Elbit Systems UK subsidiary was awarded an approximately $38m contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to supply comprehensive JFST systems to the British Army. Under this contract, Elbit Systems UK provides both fixed and mobile systems that are comprised of multiple networked simulators set to train mounted and dismounted Joint Fires teams and Joint Fires Cells. JFST systems will also be supporting exercises for reserve forces and teams deployed at sea, such as those onboard the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier.
Meggitt introduces the next generation of immersive training — the FATS® 180MIL.
Delivering 180° high definition projection and 5.1 surround sound, the FATS 180MIL increases training realism, heightening awareness and proper use of force responses. Three borderless screens fit into almost any space with at least a 10’ tall ceiling, providing a 150” X 84” (16:9 aspect ratio) borderless projection surface. It also includes:
- Military Validation – The same high-fidelity ballistic engine validated by the US Army, USMC and other military customers.
o Provides accurate ballistic characteristics in flight.
o Supports and enforces the proper fundamentals of marksmanship.
- Immersive Training – Supports both 3D Marksmanship and Judgmental training.
- Courseware – Delivered with full array of training courseware.
- Hit Detection System – Three digital cameras interface directly with Off-CPU real-time (OCR) processor used by FATS® 100 system for easy upgrade path.
- Projectors – Ultra short throw projectors provide freedom of movement, displaying stunning visuals in 180°environment.
- Low-Light Subsystem (optional) – Practice in simulated low-light conditions with hand-held and weapon-mounted flashlights.
- Rack – Uses same transportable rack as the FATS 100 system.
- Realistic Sounds – Self-powered audio system plays scenarios in 5.1 surround sound. Using directional sound effects board, the instructor can incorporate unsettling sounds from any direction, including barking dog, crying baby, gunshots and more to elevate situational awareness.
- Supports up to 60 simulated weapons, including FATS weapons and ammunition types. Up to 4 simulated weapons can be assigned to a single user.
With the FATS 180MIL, users feel they’re in the action, facing decision-making pressures while maintaining situational awareness.