Twelve NATO nations, four NATO training institutions and a NATO COE recently met for an ACT facilitated meeting hosted at the Modelling and Simulation Centre of Excellence in Rome. The subject was the advancement of Smart Defence discussions in the multinational use of immersive learning environments.
“We know of at least 19 NATO nations who have spent over 25 million euro’s collectively developing their simulation programs using one program in particular, and with many other nations both NATO and partner looking to develop their capabilities it makes sense to work together.” Stated Paul Thurkettle from Allied Command Transformation Joint Education Training & Exercises sub division, “Immersive Training Environments was selected as a tier 1 Smart Defence programme, and as this technology develops, it is an ideal subject which fits the NATO Secretary General’s idea for nations to work both together and with industry.” He added.
The workshop discussed all areas of immersive learning but concentrated on the product Virtual Battlespace 2 from Bohemia International which is used by over 19 NATO and 11 partner nations. NATO have negotiated a distribution licence allowing NATO nations and partner nations (with approval) to use free of charge the VBS NATO product via their license server. This version although not having all the features of the commercial version allows nations to experiment with this technology and more importantly have a NATO standard model to build from and work together with.
Virtual training is a fast growing area in all nations and the GBR for example, have mandated that over 50% of training will be simulated by 2020. “When we look 5-10 years into the future, live exercise and combined joint training events will be severely reduced both from national budget reductions as well as technology meeting the needs of the warfighter”, said Thurkettle. “This workshop has confirmed the national interest is there and the wish to work together”.
Following the workshop, distributed training sessions will be scheduled to test the software, build skills and look into the possibilities of sharing scenarios and assets between NATO and nations.
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