The Belgian Armed Forces’ first year of exercises with SWORD
In a relatively short time-frame, the Land Component of the Belgian Armed Forces has fully customized its constructive simulation MASA SWORD with its own units, doctrine, equipment, terrains and terminology.
“Although it was an intensive period, we were able to achieve this in a short period of time, because all the ingredients, like a generic database, NATO doctrine, a terrain generator and an after action review module are already part of the MASA SWORD standard”, commented Major Kurt Vanderheyden, Commander of the Centre for Simulations (CSim) in Leopoldsburg in the northern province Limburg of the country.
“From now on, the commanders of battalions, companies and battle groups can go through a series of tactical exercise scenarios without setting foot on the ground. This is not like the classic war games, with staff maps and tables. The Command Staff Trainer (CST) offers the higher echelons a complete, digital battlefield where they can perform defensive and offensive activities” said Major Vanderheyden.
MASA SWORD offers the possibility to build up solid experience. Commanders and their staff need a realistic working environment, combined with the right decision options. Training based on simulation provides them with much-needed opportunities to practice taking better and faster decisions. Virtual training systems provide an environment in which they learn to visualize the combat space and make tactical decisions.
During the first year after acquiring MASA SWORD a number of exercises were performed on battle group and company level. These exercises are not only in a training environment but also for the education of future company commanders and battle group S3’s.
In the upcoming year, a start will also be made with exercises with movements of logistical and medical units, controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) or by persons. If, for example, a certain vehicle is selected, MASA SWORD takes into account the maximum speed at day or night, forest or meadow, concrete road or dirt road and so on. The database contains all these data for aircrafts, armored vehicles, combat troops, tanks and other vehicles. Holistic experience and realism prevail.
At the end of every exercise a thorough After Action Review takes place. MASA SWORD is integrated with PITCH Live Virtual Constructive (LVC) radio, which allows also communication and the use of communication means to be replayed in the After Action Review.
Thanks to the Pitch Live Virtual Constructive Radio Connector the real tactical radio system in use can be deployed in the field or vehicles. It is allowing the users to be trained in the use of their communication system but also to take into account how to deploy it.
All together the Belgian Armed Forces are benefiting from the use of their new Command and Staff trainers which allows them to Train-as-they-fight.
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