New Zealand is the first Commonwealth country to use MASA SWORD, exclusively demonstrated during a large scale international training exercise
Armed Forces from five countries took part in the annual ‘SUMAN Warrior’ training exercise last month in New Zealand, using MASA’s flagship SWORD constructive simulation software for the first time.
Held at the Linton Military Camp at Palmerston North, on New Zealand’s North Island, SUMAN Warrior is a land-based tactical-level Command Post Exercise (CPX) which is carried out between the nations within the Commonwealth’s Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) Singapore, United-Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia and New-Zealand (SUMAN).
Participants from the Commonwealth gathered for the annual SUMAN Warrior Exercise in New Zealand last month
The exercise focused on planning, with military officers from each FPDA nation forming a battle group headquarters to respond to a fictitious security situation, and is designed to test and improve the way FPDA nations operate with each other while confronting such threats. Speaking of the purpose of the FPDA, the longest-standing multilateral security arrangement in South East Asia, Commander of the Australian Contingent, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Conroy said « it is in all of our interests to ensure we are able to work effectively together as a single group, should the need arise« .
An estimated 180 military personnel from the FPDA nations took part in the brigade-level exercise, using a combination of SWORD and Systematic’s SitaWare C2 technology. Considered to be a great success, the exercise included 100 virtual units as well as insurgents embedded within a 200 km² field – demonstrating the advanced artificial-intelligence capabilities offered by SWORD. Additional benefits for the FPDA of using the new combination of SWORD and Sitaware provides CPX users with an increasingly realistic and streamlined ‘train as you fight’ environment. It also enables system animators to dynamically update and modify the scenarios.
The New Zealand Army’s Mission Command Training School (MCTS) has been using SWORD for less than a year, but in that time has adapted the technology to perform a variety of internal and international activities. Explaining why SWORD was selected, Major Michael Chivers, Chief Instructor, Mission Command Training School of New Zealand praised its ease of use: « Using the SWORD simulation system we have made part-time personnel savings of about 50 per cent and significant savings in the amount of computer hardware needed to support this activity. It has also enabled us to complete training activity in hours which previously had taken weeks. The simplicity of constructing scenarios, its ability to integrate the GIS information and its rich graphical interface make it a very easy tool to work with, recognizing that the manpower and computer power required are kept to a minimum« .
Major Chivers continued « the real plus for this school has been the ability to take SWORD and integrate it into the developmental C2 suite currently being used by the Army – this process has been relatively simple but effective due to the standards-based approach of SWORD and the C2 system. The support provided by MASA has been exceptional and has gone a long way to having the product valued by the staff and users alike« .
Enrico Raue, who is responsible for New Markets Development at MASA added: « The ease at which SWORD can be integrated into military training systems and exercises has been highlighted by SUMAN Warrior. It has taken only one month after the initial five-day training programme on SWORD for the New Zealand army to utilise the system for a brigade-level command post exercise. We are delighted to be working with the partner nations of SUMAN warrior and to have contributed to the success of the exercise« .