Virtual training, real benefits

Customers across the Asia Pacific region are beginning to see the very real benefits of Saab’s range of virtual training systems. As well as reducing costs, the systems can provide a breadth of experience not feasible with conventional training. 

Comprehensive training is vital for mission readiness, whether personnel are being deployed for force-on-force combat, peace keeping, or anti-insurgency duties.

Unfortunately, ever-tightening global defence budgets mean that the opportunity to provide troops with the arms, munitions and other resources required to hone their skills is decreasing.

This is where Saab’s range of virtual training systems can provide invaluable assistance to the world’s armed forces. By accurately and realistically simulating a wide range of scenarios involving various weapons, vehicles and environments, they can maintain and develop skills for a fraction of the cost of conventional training.

Neil Patrick is Saab Asia Pacific’s Director of Marketing & Sales – Land Systems, and is based in Bangkok, Thailand.  “Military commanders are expected to maintain the same level of operational readiness and combat effectiveness with a budget that is diminished or, at best, at status quo,” he says. “Utilising simulators is the most cost-effective means of maintaining capability while remaining in budget.”

Patrick explains that the lower cost of virtual training systems also means more personnel can be trained on specialist weapon platforms which normal budgets would constrain due to ammunition and range costs.

“Technology advancements, meanwhile, mean that personnel can be totally immersed in the simulated training environment and in-depth data and statistical feedback of individual and collective performance delivered. And virtual simulators reduce risk in situations such as during initial driver training and advanced driver training with dangerous cargos.”

Patrick says Saab’s virtual training portfolio encompasses land, sea and air domains. “We can deliver civil requirements such as driving, aviation, machinery and air traffic control simulation requests, and military capabilities incorporating a diverse scope of ground combat weapons, missile systems, joint fires and armoured- and specialist-vehicle requirements.”

The broad range of virtual training systems will be the centrepiece of the company’s stand at the DSA 2016 defence services fair in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between April 18 and 21. “We are keen to display and demonstrate products such as the Ground Combat Virtual Trainer, now encompassing both small arms and support weapons, which will be the focal point of our capability,” says Patrick. “Also on display will be our unique 60mm Indoor Mortar Simulator, Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon and Carl Gustaf weapon platform simulators, and the Battletek 4 Constructive Simulation capability. All of this will be augmented with our Live Simulation equipment.”

Patrick says customers in the Asia Pacific region are increasingly seeing the value of Saab virtual training systems, with the company recently delivering a capability to Japan. “As with most global regions, the APAC market is in a state of maturing into the full utility of the simulation world,” he says. “Saab is currently in discussions with numerous regional customers across a diversity of platforms in the civil and military domains.”