• Credit: CAE Australia
    Credit: CAE Australia

Australia should optimise crew preparedness and mobilisation to meet emerging regional security challenges by immediately investing in individual and mission-ready training. Australia should accelerate its training transformation initiatives and prioritise expenditure on innovative training and simulation as a matter of national importance.

The augmented capabilities of the Australian Defence Force are increasing in potency, interoperability, and complexity. Over the next decade, the Australian Government will invest an additional $1.7B to sharpen its maritime fleet and advance its combat capability.

To fulfil this capability, we frequently associate a surge and scale with the acquisition of new equipment. However, as this capability builds, so too does the demand for more highly skilled personnel – in an increasingly competitive and challenging talent market.

Investing in the skilling and training of the workforce, the ADF’s greatest asset, is fundamental to the successful implementation and delivery of these capabilities. With regional security challenges, rising recruitment targets, and new capabilities also driving change, it is essential for Australia to optimise training approaches ahead of time. New capabilities will require trained crew to maximise the return on the investment. This requires a well-planned and carefully executed training solution that systematically addresses technical, operational, and organisational priorities in advance.

From basic skilling to advanced pilot training programs, defence industry is available to help generate speed to proficiency, improve student retention, and reduce overall risk and costs - all while uplifting defence capability and mastery across all battlespace domains.

Invest in personnel, from initial training to mission rehearsal

The growth and development of a skilled force underpins the priorities laid out in the recent 2024 Defence Industry Development Strategy (DIDS). From enhancement to sustainment, delivering an integrated capability focused on protecting Australia’s national interests resides in the hands of our sovereign workforce – a collaborative partnership between industry and Defence.

However, the task to increase the quality of training, resilience, and throughput of skilled defence personnel responsible for these capabilities was not explicitly addressed; the key component to successfully 'raise, train, [and] sustain' a stronger, more secure Force.

Optimising the ADF’s training approaches to meet the breadth of new operational demands does not require a complex overhaul but can be transformed through an iterative adoption of innovative technologies and approaches to learning. A systematic training approach that leverages common environments and existing infrastructure, can effectively identify needs, define issues, and offer insights for continuous improvement across all levels of proficiency.

In the context of Distributed Mission Training, an integrated training environment will push the limits of traditional, standalone training methods to allow for greater scenarios that would be too complex, risky, and expensive for pilots to perform with live assets.

Supporting large-scale training using readily available and digitally networked devices from various physical locations can significantly help the ADF meet the requirements to prepare, mobilise, and surge combat capability in shortened periods of time.

If we look towards the future, interoperability, and the use of data in cyber-hardened networks will form the foundation of defence operations across all battlespace domains. Whether it be growing pilot capability in resident Operational Conversion Units (OCUs) or leveraging offshore distributed mission training opportunities with allied partners; data and interoperability will enable the ADF to effectively monitor and improve performance of crews as they move from individual and team tasks, towards advanced missions and joint exercises.

To build the skill, resilience, and proficiency of all crews, an investment in integrated training approaches is required, to unlock the potential for Australia to achieve a truly interoperable and enhanced mission-ready Force.

Unlocking enhanced training capability for the Australian Defence Force

Optimised distributed mission training has been strategically implemented on a global scale to ensure that defence forces can fulfil organisational outcomes faster, better, and more effectively. Crucially, modern defence forces also need to tackle a contemporary challenge: adapting to the changing demands and standards of modern, digitally native learners.

For this reason, defence forces globally collaborate with CAE to re-evaluate training approaches and adopt the tools and techniques required to scale and surge. For over 75 years, CAE has delivered the data, integration, and immersive technology to optimise training systems and produced training environments with extraordinary realism and the quality needed to create the complex scenarios for war fighters to become mission ready.

Providing a powerful tool to help individuals, teams, and units master operational capability in the virtual world, CAE helps defence forces implement modern training through an integrated data-informed network of tools and techniques leveraging innovative learning science practices. Focusing on the end-to-end digitisation of systems, the CAE Integrated Learning Environment (ILE) is designed to provide access to self-paced learning, virtual coaching, and remote instruction.

For modern defence forces, a primary goal is to reduce the load on instructors and empower them to focus their efforts where they can provide the most value. Through the ILE, machine learning and artificial intelligence offers a force-multiplier for instructors; saving time with automated, real-time, objective scoring to improve student’s decision-making and situational awareness in complex training scenarios.

While technology, data, and integration continue to shape the way the Australian Defence Force operates, training systems and approaches must also meet the changes in operational requirements and the learning needs of personnel.

Investing in enhanced training approaches to meet the ADF’s vision, supported by industry experts in training, will deliver the proficiency and capability required for an effective surge and scale in operational capability.

As an experienced training systems integrator, CAE can design, build, and operate sovereign integrated training systems and distributed mission centres, creating a virtual battlefield for the Australian Defence Force and allied partners to advance in any conflict.

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