Support: The Simulators Of The Queen

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July 12, 2011: The British Army has developed a computer-aided training facility (Sennelager Training Center) for combat troops headed to Afghanistan. Costing half a billion dollars, the center uses several different high-tech training systems. One uses commercial grade FPS (First Person Shooter) game technology, to train troops on how to plan and carry out patrols inside the FPS game, which has terrain identical to the area, in Helmand province, where they will be operating. There are also vehicle simulators (Combined Arms Tactical Trainer), with video going to the viewing blocks (small, bulletproof, window), periscopes and weapons sights showing what is outside the vehicle as they "drive" through Helmand province. There are also Afghans, dressed and trained to provide people to speak to if the vehicle stops and the troops want to speak with one of the locals. Dozens of these vehicle simulators can be used at once, to replicate convoy or combat operations.

For commanders and staff personnel, there is a realistic field headquarters, with realistic information and video coming in, and a computerized simulation of combat situations. All of these simulations are based on the experience of British battalions who have been there, especially the ones that the units undergoing the training will replace.

American Army and Marine troops have been using similar simulations, and it has enabled the combat troops to arrive and get right to work, already familiar with the terrain and the local situation. That last bit was obtained from the unit being replaced, that used email, video conferencing and phone calls to keep their replacements informed about what is happening, has happened and is likely to happen once they arrive. All this makes arrival in a combat zone a lot less stressful, and effectiveness usually high from the first days.

 


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