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This year’s European International Training Equipment Conference (ITEC) was held in Stockholm with the theme “Interoperability – Connecting People, Technology and Nations”.

The Keynote Speaker was Major General Karl Engelbrektson, Swedish Army Chief of Staff, who noted that two panel members were from the civil area and that both military and civil authorities are involved in crisis management and it is essential that they operate together. Continuing the theme of military/civil interaction, Rear Admiral Simon Williams of ITEC organisers Clarion Defence noted that many civil personnel were attending the conference. Other members of the Keynote Panel were Dr Frank DiGiovanni, US Navy Warfare Division; Hans Lindgren, Saab Training & Simulation, and the two civilians were Dan Eliasson, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, and Dr Raed Arafat, Head of Romania’s Department of Emergency Situations.

On numbers attending, the ITEC web site says that there were “more than 2,000 attendees from 45 countries”. This is the lowest number of ITEC attenders for many years. A survey on ITEC by the European Training and Simulation Association (ETSA) showed that 67% of responders thought that the exhibition was not as good as previous years, and its size may have become less than the “critical mass” for such an international event. Key companies not attending included Airbus training, Barco, Boeing training, L-3 Technologies, Meggitt, QinetiQ, Rheinmetall and RUAG. Responders also expressed a preference for the event to be held in London. This will happen next year at the Excel exhibition centre near London City Airport from 28 to 30 April 2020, preceded on 27 April by the usual seminar of the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO), currently planned at the Royal Aeronautical Society headquarters in central London. ITEC has a tradition of moving from place to place rather than staying at one venue like its much larger American counterpart that stabilised in Orlando many years ago and quickly increased in size. It might be better to stabilise future ITECs at one or two popular venues, such as London, Cologne, or perhaps Stuttgart where the conference centre is in the airport complex itself and no extra travel is needed if you stay at one of the many hotels near the airport.

Recent Projects

In the review below, in addition to conventional training devices, there is a portable containerised system, mixed reality systems that combine real and synthetic worlds, a VR headset that can be used in the field, an Air Control trainer, a hypoxia (lack of oxygen) trainer based on an aircraft cockpit, a trainer for cyber events, and training devices for UAVs. Countries receiving new training devices include Argentina, Bangladesh, Latvia, Qatar, and the UAE, showing increased world awareness of the cost-effectiveness of modern simulation and training technology.

CAE has upgraded the UAE Presidential Guard’s Joint Fires Training Simulator (JFTS) with the latest version of MetaVR’s Virtual Reality Scene Generator. (Photo: CAE)

Fixed Wing Aircraft

Argentina: TRU Simulation + Training, headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, is to deliver an operational flight trainer (OFT) for the Beechcraft T-6 TEXAN II turboprop trainer for the Argentine Air Force. It will have a visual display from Redifun Simulation with 270 by 80 degree view in a 10-foot radius dome.

Qatar: Boeing Defense Training Systems and Services, headquartered in St. Louis, has a US$500M contract for F-15QA aircrew and maintenance training for the Qatar Emiri Air Force for completion in 2026.

Spain: Indra Sistemas, headquartered in Madrid and the iAltitude company have supplied a new type of hypoxia flight trainer to the Spanish Air Force Aviation Medicine Training Center in Madrid. This models the cockpit of a C101 jet trainer and enables a realistic mission to be simulated including hypoxia incidents and how to deal with them. Previously, hypoxia was trained in a so-called “hypobaric” chamber in which atmospheric pressure can be reduced, but without a realistic cockpit environment. In the new Indra cockpit model, the atmospheric pressure is normal but different ratios of oxygen and nitrogen are supplied through the pilot’s face mask. This allows controlled symptoms of hypoxia to be experienced in a realistic cockpit environment.

UAE: SoftekSim of Riga, Latvia, is to supply a Flight and Navigation Procedures Trainer (FNPTII) for Multi Crew Coordination (MCC) to Fujairah Aviation Academy in Oman. Fujairah trains pilots and engineers including for flying using Night Vision Goggles (NVG).
UK. Thales UK and UK training aircraft manufacturer Aeralis are to develop training systems for the UK TEMPEST future fighter programme. This includes simulator systems for basic training through to lead-in fighter training, courseware, data on student performance and aircraft utilisation.

UK: BAE Systems is to deliver the SCEPTRE computerised mission planning system for Royal Air Force TYPHOON fighters. SCEPTRE combines cockpit views, flight and performance data, potential hazards and conflict detection, real time weather, intelligence, and other data. It is for mission rehearsal and can be used on tablets, computers and interactive touch tables such as those used for briefing and de-briefing.

Rotary Wing

Australia: Thales Australia has achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for their Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) for the Australia Defence Force (ADF). Thales has delivered three Level B Reality H Full Flight Simulators; trainers for rear-crew; part task trainers and classrooms with desktop trainers, plus devices for the Joint Helicopter School.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE: Collins Aerospace Simulation & Training Solutions has a US$30.95M contract for a Transportable BLACK HAWK Operations Simulator (T-BOS) for the National Guard of Saudi Arabia. Other customers include Bahrain and the UAE. T-BOS is containerised and can be deployed to Forward Operating Bases (FOB).

Greece: Pinnacle Solutions is to maintain OH-58D KIOWA helicopters and Training Aids, Devices, Simulators and Simulations (TADSS) for the Hellenic Army Aviation Command.

UK: Inzpire Ltd. has upgraded its Targeted Fidelity Simulator (TFS) with higher fidelity instruments and displays. It models an EC135 helicopter and uses Bohemia Interactive Simulations software. Rear cabin crew use VR headsets with 360-degree view for weapon and winch operator training.

USA: CAE USA of Tampa, Florida and Leonardo Helicopter Division, headquartered in Rome have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to collaborate in helicopter training packages in the USA and for Foreign Military Sales (FMS). The companies will provide aircraft and training centres including simulators, other training devices, and courseware.

Air Control System

UK: QuantaDyn Corporation is to upgrade the UK version of its QFires Joint Fires Mobile Trainer (JFMT) with VBS Blue IG by Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim). The JFMT is a self-contained mobile classroom to train JTACs, FACs, and JFOs, produced under the Close Air Simulation and Support System (CAS&S) contract with Elbit Systems as prime contractor. QuantaDyn provides the trailer-based training system and Elbit UK provides training and logistics. A four-person brief area has a large screen display and the main trainer has a 1.8m diameter dome with 220 x 58-degree view.

UAVs

UK: The Top Cover Solutions (TCS) Consortium is to provide simulator support for the Royal Air Force MQ-9 REAPER UAV. TCS includes 3SDL and Eagle Eye Innovations. It will interact with the MALET-JSIL Aircrew Trainer (MJAT) based at RAF Waddington, UK, and the RAF’s 39 Squadron at Creech Air Force Base (USA).

Cyber Systems

Spain: Indra Sistemas, headquartered in Madrid, has supplied its Cyber Range system to the Joint Cyber-Defence Command of the Spanish Army.

Kongsberg’s Rigid Inflatable Boat Gun Simulator (Photo: via author)

Land Systems

Austria: Calytrix Technologies is to supply its TITAN real-world terrain modelling system to the Austrian Army. TITAN will be used in school houses and have combined arms capabilities with its integration with eSim Games Steel Beasts.

Bangladesh: MASA Group, headquartered in Paris, has a contract with the Bangladesh Army for its MASA SWORD war gaming system at the Bangladesh Army War Game Center (AWGC). AWGC uses SWORD for command post training from Battalion to Division levels.

Finland: Saab has a €9M contract to supply simulators for marksmanship and combat training to the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command. This will include Saab’s Ground Combat Indoor Trainer (GC IDT) system.

Germany: Systematic A/S has supplied the German Army with an e-learning programme for the SITAWARE training product for army HQ staff.

Germany – US Army: Raytheon has a US$159M contract to support training exercises at the US Army Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Hohenfels and other US forces in Europe. This includes the Raytheon Mobile Instrumentation System for distributed training.

Latvia: Cubic Defense Systems has supplied their Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement Simulation system (MILES) to the Latvian Armed Forces in a €2.7M contract. MILES can be attached to military equipment, weapons or vehicles, and records engagement, firing and casualty data. Indo-Pacific Region. Cubic has US$150M contracts from various customers in the Indo-Pacific (IPAC) region. This is for Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation (ACMI), training support for Combat Training Centres, upgrades and maintenance services for live fire ranges. This includes Cubic’s Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement Systems (MILES) and range maintenance.

UAE: Close Air Solutions (CAS) has upgraded the UAE Presidential Guard (PG) Joint Fires Training Simulator (JFTS) with the latest version of MetaVR’s Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG). 49 VRSG licenses were renewed and two new licenses were purchased. The upgrade also includes MACE software from Battlespace Simulations, and a new classroom with a 4-projector 8m display from Immersive Display Solutions. The RG-31 AGRAB 4-wheel vehicle mortar simulator can be used with JFTS so that AGRAB Fire Teams can train with joint forward observers (JFO) and joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC).

Naval Systems

Australia: Kongsberg Digital of Norway is to deliver two K-Sim full mission bridge simulators to the Royal Australian Navy Watson Bridge Simulator Facility in Sydney. Also, ship-handling and engine room simulators will be delivered to training facilities across the country. This includes training for ARAFURA class offshore patrol vessels, the new HUNTER class anti-submarine Future Frigates, and Supply Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessels.

Canada: CAE has a contract from Lockheed Martin Canada in the programme for the future Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) ship. CAE will provide Training Needs Analysis (TNA), engineering, and other services. The CSC ship design is based on BAE Systems Global Combat Ship and will include the CMS 330 combat management system developed by LM Canada.

Greece: VSTEP B.V. of Rotterdam, Netherlands is to provide three of its NAUTIS Console simulators for the Greek Navy training facility in Piraeus, Athens. They will have three screens with a 120-degree view, and 15 types of vessels will be modelled.

Sweden: CAE is to upgrade the Naval Warfare Training System (NWTS) at the Swedish Naval Warfare Centre (NWC) in Karlskrona. NWTS was originally developed by CAE in 2016 and has 52 student stations and 13 instructor stations. It trains for sensor operations and Command, Control, Communications, and Computing (C4). Upgrades include sonar and electronic warfare training, and improved training scenarios. CAE will also add friendly and enemy Computer-Generated Forces (CGF).

UK: QinetiQ Group plc has a contract with the Royal Navy for the POINTER data analysis and measurement system. Developed together with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), also at Farnborough, POINTER links Command and Control functions with weapon operators for training to counter threats from Fast In-shore Attack Craft (FIAC) including swarms of craft. It will be used in exercises on a range of platforms under the Royal Navy Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST). Weapon-mounted laser rangefinders are used, and position and state of weapon systems is recorded together with GPS-tracked threats. Weapon effects are calculated, and results are displayed in real time.

UK: Saab is to supply its AUV62-AT underwater vehicle for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training to the Royal Navy. USA. Cervus Defence Ltd UK and its US partner Stucan Solutions has a contract for Risk-Reduction Prototyping of the US Marine Corps Wargaming Capability Center. This will include post-game analysis using the STUCAN-HIVE system.

QuantaDyn`s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Simulation System (Photo: via author)

Simulation and Training Systems

Belgium: Barco NV has developed its XT LED system. The LED displays are accessible from the front and have a shallow depth, convenient for wall-mounting. An Assisted Module Extraction feature allows tiles to be removed for maintenance or replacement.

Czech Republic: Bohemia Interactive has introduced the VBS3 Bundle, bringing together VBS Control Behaviour Pack 1, VBS Chalkboard Pro, VBS Radio Pro, and Terrain Pack. This adds features to its VBS3 system, including Artificial Intelligence, behaviours, simulated radio, expanded connectivity, and more content.

Finland: Varjo Technologies of Helsinki has developed the XR-1 headset with imagery and eye-tracking. This adds a front plate to the earlier Varjo VR-1 device that includes two 12 mpx cameras.

France: Antycip Simulation has developed The Open Reality Experience (TORE). This is a 4 x 8 x 8 metre visualisation system on two-floors of a training building, and uses curved screens rather than the flat screens of a cube-shaped Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE). TORE has been developed for the University of Lille and is located at the so-called “Imaginarium” in Tourcoing.

Spain: Indra Sistemas has developed a VR headset that can be used by soldiers when training with real equipment. The headset adds a virtual environment and is part of the iVictrix marksmanship simulator, related to some 40Victrix simulators used by the Spanish Army.

Conclusion

This article lists recent training devices supplied to organisations in 19 nations by 28 different suppliers based in 15 countries. Subject areas include land, sea and air equipment, UAVs, multi-role systems, and cyber. It also points out that the 2019 European ITEC exhibition in Sweden has been assessed as less than the “critical mass” for such a potentially major event. Perhaps it could be rescued by changing the ITEC habit of going to a different place each year, and stabilising at one, perhaps two, popular European exhibition locations. See you in 2020 at ITEC in London and later at the really big event, I/ITSEC in Orlando, which anyone with an interest in state-of-the-art cost-effective training and simulation systems, should plan to attend.

William Carter