• What will the simulated environment look like for Land 400?
    What will the simulated environment look like for Land 400?

Will the simulation requirements for Land 400, and its promise to introduce a mounted close combat capability as a major component of the Combined Arms Fighting System (CAFS), meet Army’s aspirations for an all-embracing synthetic environment?

As first pass looms somewhat uncertainly for Land 400, industry must now be assessing opportunities not only for the provision of the Land Combat Vehicle System (LCVS) platform requirements, including the locally manufactured/assembled and supported vehicle options that are envisaged, but also for opportunities to support the delivery of the required capability in its various physical and other guises.

Here simulation has a major role. The ADF, in particular the Army, has become a leader in the use of simulation systems for training, operational planning, decision making, concept evaluation, and modelling for options assessment. And due to the sheer cost-effectiveness of simulation in many of its potentialities, Land 400 looks to become a leading example of this take-up of simulation, paving the way to that single Gen 3 synthetic environment espoused by Major General John Caligari.

According to the concept of operations (CONOPS) Land 400 is to develop the simulation system for the LCVS, which will be the foundation of future CAFS simulation requirements, operating within the

Defence Simulation Environment (DSE) being established by JP3035.

The LCVS will be utilised within the context of a combat force capable of amphibious, expeditionary operations, capable of being projected for sustained operations against an adaptive enemy in complex terrain. In this respect the initial focus of the DSE, which will be on the provision of products to support operational planning for amphibious operations, is directly relevant to Land 400. It will also apply to the type of vehicle appropriate to amphibious transport and of course to ensure that the carriage of combined arms teams (CATS), in joint or coalition operations, achieves the over-match in an amphibious entry that RADM (Rtd) James Goldrick warns as vital.

This, he says in a July post in ASPI’s The Strategist, will demand mastery of high intensity and closely coordinated operational amphibious techniques. It is this land-sea interface and the integration of the amphibious ships with their embarked forces that will require the management of a steep learning curve and which needs the ADF’s close and continuing attention.

Indeed, Land 400’s Ship to Manoeuvre (STOM) plan aims to balance high impact with a smaller footprint to achieve surprise and maintain tempo. STOM sees the insertion of two company groups by air in two waves and the concurrent insertion of another two company groups by surface means in multiple waves. Surely there is a ready-made role here for constructive simulation by some of the locally resident big guns in the industry.

The Land 400 CONOPS itself will be further refined by wargaming and experimentation, capability solution experimentation and rapid prototype demonstrations. Here DSTO’s Land Operations Division has already undertaken various experiments related to the combined arms fighting concept, including close combat focused on combat teams at the platoon level through two series of experiments, a light infantry series, and a mechanised series based on survivability of various vehicle options. This work and other wargaming provide important records for future capability analysis.

The Land 400 CONOPS states clearly that individual and collective training is to maximise the use of simulation (including immersive and virtual training areas) and decentralised training, with LCVS integration and training, tested and enhanced through the use of simulation. LCVS platforms should also be able to operate directly with the synthetic environment to allow in-field, pre-deployment, planning and mission rehearsal training to occur.

Vehicle models will be required to build scenarios with friendly force vehicles (including selected coalition vehicles) and enemy vehicles. In addition there is the requirement for civilian vehicles to assist in generating representation of the complex operating environment, asymmetric threat, as well as creating a pattern of life (POL), as a backdrop for an asymmetric exercise. This will enable soldiers to be exercised in making decisions on the legitimacy of targets.

Models of people will be required to replicate own forces and a conventional regular enemy force. In addition an asymmetric force and civilians will be required.

The training system will also require the ability to insert inanimate objects onto the terrain database in order to build an exercise. These could include such ephemera as trenches, bunkers, obstacles, bridges, minefields, IEDs and so on.

Land 400 will require a training system to support the force generation and sustainment of the LCVS capability. This will focus upon the requirements of individual and crew collective training to operate and support the vehicle. And it appears that the training audience will be extensive, ranging across vehicle commanders, gunners and drivers, LCVS troop commanders, dismounted close combatants within the multi-role manoeuvre brigade, mounted fire teams, combat engineers and so on. This training system will form a major pillar of the overall support system for Land 400.

Constructive simulation

While Australian use of constructive simulations has a long history its use has been limited due to resource constraints and small development teams. Nevertheless there has been considerable experience with CombatSIM, Janus, JSAF and others. These have been overtaken by the simulation software development tool OneSAF (One Semi-Automated Forces).

OneSAF supports constructive and virtual training, computer-generated forces, and mission rehearsal designed for brigade-and-below, combat, and non-combat operations. Early versions were initially evaluated for their applicability to Australian requirements including its potential in training, land combat analysis, and integration with C2 systems and other software tools. It was also assessed for its ability to develop terrain databases to cover training areas and deployment areas of operations.

OneSAF has been identified as the Army’s primary constructive simulation for a range of activities including capability development, training for command teams, support to operational decision making, and as a Semi-Automated Force subsystem for future virtual simulators. However its initial focus is on the capability development domain, in particular Army’s experimentation program, which is testing Army’s employment concepts for future systems, including Land 400.

OneSAF gives Army the ability to integrate with C2 systems through controlled interfaces based on standard communications protocols. Calytrix Technologies (Australia) has been selected to deliver ongoing OneSAF technical development support, while the Swinburne R&D group has undertaken entity behaviours and OneSAF testing regimes.

Calytrix CEO Shawn Parr anticipates simulation to play a key enabling role in all facets of the Land 400 concept development, including delivery, training and sustainment project life-cycles and suggests it would be reasonable to expect OneSAF to a play a role in this early stage of Land 400 project definition.

“OneSAF can be used for a wide variety of capability development analysis tasks,” Parr explained to ADM. “For example, by using different vehicle characteristics and capabilities, all elements of force capability can be assessed. OneSAF can assist in analysing the impact that differing vehicle characteristics may have on force structure and doctrine.

“The key element in gaining accurate data from OneSAF modelling and experimentation is ensuring the entities are built to the correct specifications and truly reflect the attributes of the vehicle’s capability.

“While OneSAF provides a platform for large-scale force structure experimentation there are many other types of simulation that will support Land 400 development, for example DSTO has already conducted some human factors experimentation using Virtual Battlespace 2 (VBS2). In this regard OneSAF will simply be one simulation tool used in the broader experimentation and training activities related to Land 400.

“We would anticipate that the Project Office will expect simulation to be a key component of Land 400’s individual and collective training design,” Parr said. “The use of part-time, multifunction, through to high fidelity simulation systems will all be considered part of the project’s delivery. The use of simulation to support collective training will also be factored. Force-on-force training should be linked with virtual simulators and constructive systems, like OneSAF.

“Only when there is a persistent capability of linking these three elements within the joint environment will Land 400 maximise the training benefit of using simulation in the Joint Live, Virtual and Constructive (JLVC) domain,” Parr said to ADM.

It is anticipated that this project will acquire simulation services, systems and supporting infrastructure from multiple sources, and presumably acquisition strategies for individual elements of the Land 400 LCVS capability will be determined during first and second pass. It is likely that the capability will be realised through a series of COTS, MOTS, and developmental acquisitions with Australian industry in a position to compete for the provision of hardware, software and TLS.

Commercial entities

So who are the big guns whom we suspect will be interested in bidding for a major role in the development of simulation systems for the various potentialities of the Land 400 LCVS, and more importantly in the creation of a high-level synthetic battlespace within the DSE to support coalition, combined, joint and individual training for the CAFS, as well as the testing and evaluation of new approaches to close combat and other missions?

Boeing Australia has strong claims to the experience and expertise to provide the foundation upon which this country’s DSE can be built. It has developed and operates its’ advanced simulation and operations analysis facility—the Systems Analysis Laboratory (SAL)—and has close to 20 years of experience designing and building large distributed simulation systems for militaries worldwide.

Lockheed Martin Australia is also an acknowledged leader in the delivery of world class simulation and training systems. Focusing on fixed wing pilot and aircraft maintainer training through to automated ship control systems, LMA recognises that one size does not fit all, and the company is working to provide scalable and tailored solutions to meet Australia’s current and future simulation and training needs.

BAE Systems Australia boasts a range of integrated simulation and training solutions, including desktop training systems, virtual operational and maintenance trainers, autonomous vehicle modelling, training needs analysis and assessment, 2D/3D graphics, terrain generation, and simulation systems integration. Key customers include the Australian Army, RAN, DSTO and ADSO.

Exploiting its extensive experience of synthetic training environments, Thales

Australia has developed comprehensive set of simulators and training aids for land forces, covering every level of army training requirements. These include individual and crew training for technical skills acquisition, team training for tactical skills acquisition, collective training for on-the-field skills acquisition and combined arms training. The company is a major leader in the area of Synthetic Environment Based Acquisition (SEBA) and Simulation Based Acquisition (SBA).

Newcomer Rheinmetall Simulation Australia, with facilities including those of recently acquired simulation company Sydac, now established in Adelaide, plans to develop strong local capabilities, but draw also on its giant parent Rheinmetall AG, in its bid for platform requirements of Land 121 and Land 400, and the ADF’s broad simulation needs

In the field of ground-forces simulation, Rheinmetall Defence supplies made-to-measure solutions ranging from computer-based training to driving and gunnery simulators for individual and crew training, as well as network-enabled training systems for conducting live and virtual exercises at echelons from platoon to brigade, featuring every form of combat support. Its ELTAM Combined Arms Tactical Trainer enables simulation-supported training of the command and staff elements of an entire combat battalion or battle group in a virtual environment including all supporting elements.

Adrian Smith, chairman of Simulation Australia and former chief executive and co-founder of Sydac, says Rheinmetall is a very serious player

“It’s the biggest supplier of land simulation in the whole of Europe and technically, it probably has the best product,” Smith, who now runs Rhienmetall’s Australian simulation business.

He said that if successful with their LCVS bid the company would likely arrange local assembly and provision of driver and crew training systems for it.

ADM suspects that BAE Systems Australia, GD Land Systems Australia, Thales and others would have very similar thoughts regarding their own LCVS proposals! 

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