It's like World of Tanks on steroids - computer-generated tank warfare realistically recreated for the Singapore Army's armoured forces to sharpen their fighting skills repeatedly, cost-effectively and under close professional supervision.
Headquarters Armour is expanding its range of driving, gunnery and combat simulators to create the capacity needed for the Armour Training Institute (ATI) to achieve a 50:50 balance between training on simulators and live training on AFVs outfield in Singapore and overseas.
Hosting ACCORD members and a visit by employers to HQ Armour on Friday 24 April'15, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Armour Formation updated visitors on the type and features of military simulators at ATI that will spearhead a revamped training programme.
Simulation technology builds on experience running the Armour Simulator Centre's Armour Tactical Trainer (ATT), which used Compu-Scene IV visual simulation technology from GE Aerospace to provide networked simulation training for SM1 tank crew. The Compu-Scene IV visual system and instructional system was state-of-the-art back in 1987. These systems were anchored on the Encore 32/9705 software development computer and provided simulated training in tank tactics up to platoon level.
Things have since moved on at ATI under Project S******.
New AFV simulators
Taking pride of place at ATI are a number of new indoor simulators that offer motion in six degrees of freedom ( Six DOF). Simply put, a trainee can experience movement such as pitch, roll, heave, yaw, sway and surge while sitting in an air-conditioned cabin that replicates driving controls, driving performance and fields of vision of AFVs such as the Bionix 2 infantry fighting vehicle and Bronco all-terrain tracked carrier.
The idea is for armoured vehicle drivers to know their vehicle better in a safe, controlled training environment. Simulator training done indoors allows HQ Armour instructors to inject varying driving conditions, lighting (day/night driving), weather states (rain, haze, sunshine and more) and terrain (local or customised) at the press of a button. Such scenarios can be repeated as many times as needed.
The new 6DOF simulators ensure trainees achieve the required level of proficiency without wearing out or damaging real vehicles, and have zero impact on the tracks/roads (that may need repair/maintenance) or vegetation (that may need replanting after an AFV bashes through).
Simulators are also used to prepare, evaluate and benchmark active and NS units in the Singapore Armoured Regiment (SAR) orbat to keep these SARs at a high level of mission readiness.
The ability to customise terrain options allows operational mission rehearsals so that drivers and vehicle commanders can better appreciate their assigned area of operation (AO) before actually stepping foot in the AO.
Furthermore, simulations done indoors as well as simulated firing engagements done using the Tactical Engagement System allow SARs to strengthen their operational skills in a realistic threat environment against an intelligent and evasive Opposing Force. Such simulations allow Leopard tank and BX crew to practice operating as a coordinated and cohesive fighting force to maximise their destructive potential.
The Singapore Army and HQ Armour are to be commended for the investments in simulation technology. Such training assets reduce wear and tear on AFVs, especially as driving conditions in Singapore's humid climate and the stop/go motion experienced by A vehicles in confined terrain in Singapore places undue stress on the vehicles.
The enthusiasm, confidence and professionalism among HQ Armour personnel when showcasing what the simulators can do was palpable. One could sense that the ATI instructors were eager that the takeaways from the visit were positive ones.
Many thanks for reacquainting interested visitors to developments within SAF Armour. Manoeuvres by personnel from 41 SAR Falcon COY and Glory COY, 48 SAR, HQ Guards, Motorised Infantry Training Institute during the firepower display were well executed and much appreciated by the visitors.
Am particularly thankful to the ATI and 48 SAR instructors who took time to acquaint me with the Leopard 2SG driving simulator. Sliding into the driver's station and strapping on the Leo2 before the driving experience left a positive impression of the Armour Family's professionalism and esprit that I will long cherish.
It's been awhile since I had the opportunity to see HQ Armour firsthand. The visit provided a useful opportunity for comparing what had been seen and experienced in the past with the present day situation.