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New doctrine puts pressure on air defence; to achieve its objective of fighting wars without incurring casualties, the United States has come to rely upon air power to cripple an enemy to the point where surrender becomes the preferred option. This new doctrine was clearly followed in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan but the conduct of the American-led Nato conflict over Kosovo revealed similar thinking. (Simulation Approach).

That is not to say that all future warfare will be fought by other countries in this way, but it does suggest that increased pressure will be placed upon armoured units to mount an effective defence against air attack. Thus turreted air defence has become a priority in simulation and training. It is indeed one to which several companies have developed solutions, among them the Raydon Corporation, which was awarded a $2.3 million US Army contract last year to build fifteen Linebacker trainers.

Based on the M2A2 Bradley but mounting a turreted Stinger and 25 mm chain gun, the Linebacker is the air defence variant designed to provide Abrams tanks and other AFVs with the air cover needed on a battlefield. Used to train gunners and commanders to detect, acquire, identify and shoot down enemy aircraft, the new full fidelity trainers will save the US Army millions of dollars every year, since `virtual missiles' can be fired at minimal cost.

Contract options will enable Raydon to upgrade the trainers to allow Linebacker crews to train on virtual battlefields in conjunction with infantry, armour and artillery units. The company is unique in being able to supply classroom, appended, desktop and embedded trainers that can be networked together because they make use of common components and software.

Within the Inguard direct fire training systems' range, CAE's Military Simulation & Training division produces a vehicle-mounted detachment engagement trainer. This is appended to the Alvis Stormer AFV equipped with the Thales Starstreak air defence missile, to enable under-armour training to be carried out at any location worldwide.

The vehicle commander employs an alerting sight, which slaves the turret towards the threat, and a visual display system that injects the target into the gunner's sight together with a realistic background as well as full weather and environmental effects. The British Army has taken delivery of 135 Stormers, and the training system, which is being delivered for entry into service in 2002, includes 3D articulated target models that provide highly convincing engagement scenarios.

"Train as you fight" is the slogan these days and for more than fifteen years the Roland classroom combat trainer has been produced and supported by Eads Dornier. Employing controls, displays and other equipment identical to that of the weapon system, the training system simulates target types and routes, electronic countermeasures and the environment.

It also models the radar system while generating the representation of a simulated scenario on radar scopes and optical sights.

The creation of Eads has brought together the disparate simulation and training capabilities of French and German industry, so the direct fire weapon effects simulator originally developed by GDI is now marketed under the Eads banner. Fully interoperable with other simulators in the company's range, the STC CM makes use of a Class 1 laser to enable under-armour turreted air defence gunners to engage appropriately equipped attack helicopters.

Now also gathered into the Eads range, the Maessaa real-time scenario simulation system developed by Aerospatiale Matra Missiles provides an indoor exercise facility for commanders and missile operators of dedicated air defence armoured fighting vehicles. It is in use with the 53rd and 54th air artillery regiments of the French Army.

For several years, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann has been the source for Gepard and Cheetah Spaag crew air defence gunnery and combat simulators. Uniquely combining visual, laser and radar simulations, these simulators train both commanders and gunners. Up to seven cabins can now be networked together and controlled simultaneously for platoon combat training.

New Uses for Western Trainers?

In the post Cold War situation in which former Warsaw pact countries are joining Nato, it is likely that some Roland and Gepard turreted air defence systems will find their way into the service of other armies. Clearly appropriate simulation support would be required, as the cabins recreate the armoured vehicle's battle stations in a highly realistic manner.

C.O.E.L. has been recently awarded a contract for the supply of 23 laser transceivers that will upgrade Gepard simulators so that they may operate with Miles, Cosim and other systems. Gepard Spaag vehicles thus equipped will be better configured to train with forces of other countries, simulating single or rapid fire on airborne targets within a range of around 4500 metres. C.O.E.L. seeks further orders from operators of 20 mm or 40 mm air defence cannon.

Equipment of former Soviet origin will remain in service for years to come around the world and this offers an opportunity for Sintro Electronics to market its BMP3 gunner trainers. These have been in service with the United Arab Emirates armed forces for several years; the low cost and simple devices being available in desktop, classroom and shelter versions to provide high levels of realism.

Supporting Remotely Controlled Systems

Turreted 20 mm Vulcan systems as well as remotely controlled 12.7 mm weapons under armour can also be supported by simulators, as evidenced by Simworks, who produces a Vulcan system that has sold to South Korea. Configurable to various remotely controlled weapon systems Rafael's Electronic Systems division has developed an embedded trainer. This PC-based trainer may be used in networked systems via HLA and web modes.

In an effort to support US Army Avenger fire units, Nichols Research has produced a selection of tabletop, conduct of fire and embedded troop proficiency trainers. The tabletop trainer is man-portable and therefore it can be easily transported from site to site. Using a control unit that has the look and feel of the real system, the gunner is trained through interaction with realistic scenarios, environments and threats.

Up to six student stations can receive real-time instruction with the institutional conduct of fire trainer (Icoft) which provides a free play training environment. Icoft is a cost-effective alternative to live tracking and live fire exercises but although produced in prototype form it has yet to be put into series production.
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Author:Walters, Brian
Publication:Armada International
Date:Feb 1, 2002
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