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Simulator Based Training In Indian Army Information Technology Essay

A Revolution in Military Affairs occurs when a nations military seizes an opportunity to transform its strategy, military doctrine, training, education, organisation, equipment, operations, & tactics to achieve decisive military results in fundamentally new ways.

- Extract from Chapter 10 of the United States Joint Vision 2010 document

Indian Army’s experience in the various fronts in which it has been deployed in the last two decades, stresses on the need of militarily well trained soldiers who are also capable to respond to rapidly changing situations. In view of the increasing involvement of the Army in its unconventional role of Counter Terrorist Operations, there is a necessity of not only the traditional rigorous military training in handling the individual weapons along with field craft, but also how to quickly adapt to evolving situations, react to them & shape the local conditions to create the best results without causing any collateral damage to life, sentiments & property of local civilian population. Keeping in view philosophy of simulator based training, management of scarce resource, the need for enhancing combat effectiveness & based on the levels of training requirements discussed earlier the suitable areas & methodology for employment of Simulators for military training is discussed in following paragraphs [1] .

Skill & Crew Trainers. It would primarily be for individual skill training of equipment that a particular category of soldier handles e.g. for almost all the soldiers, especially for infantry, handling & firing from their basic personal weapon (INSAS 5.56 mm rifle) would come under this category, a gunnery part-task trainer simulator for a gunner & driving of his A or B vehicle, etc for a driver. This will form the basic building

block from where simulated training will start.

Task & Tactical Trainers. After achieving basic skills, the soldiers need to graduate from individual skill to working as a team. While individual skill remains important here also, what is equally important would the impact of individual soldiers in the overall outcome of the team’s result. Here the soldiers are to be trained to do their task as a small team/crew. It would be imperative for them to understand other team member’s role & responsibilities. The skill & coordination between each & every members of the team would influence the final output. Such simulators build up the small team qualities required to carry out various military tasks. Training of the entire crew on an air defence gun or a tank would come under this category. These are used to meet the needs of tactical training & to provide greater tactical realism in the field training & consist of two basic components as follows:-

Combined Arms Tactical Trainer. The primary purpose of this trainer is to allow tactical training conducted indoor at platoon/troop, company/squadron & battalion/combat group level. It permits all battle group assets & their capabilities to be manoeuvred, coordinated & orchestrated in a manner that is generally impossible in the field because of safety & training area restrictions. This trainer provides sub units & units with the capability of reaching maintaining better levels of tactical training so that when they get the opportunity for field training, they can commence at a much higher standard.

Tactical Engagement Simulation (TES). TES training reinforces the lesson that success in war comes to those who can outwit, out manoeuvre & out fight any enemy & provide a highly efficient use of training resources. By creating greater tactical realism & awareness through more intensive & exacting rules, units are able to reach & maintain a higher standard in a shorter period of time [2] . These include Direct Fire Weapon Effects Simulators (DFWES), Area Weapon Effects Simulators (AWES) & the Instrumentation Systems needed to record & analyse the outcome of battle. These simulators can be better utilized in Combined Arms Training Facility (CATF).

Mission, Command & Staff Trainers This level of simulators would allow a large team or a formation to practice their tactics & battle skills at a much higher echelon. The simulator being manned by the small team/crew would appear as a single entity at the abstract level. The various entities can fight a simulated battle against each other. The participating soldiers will be exercised on their individual skills while the crew as a team shows its combined task capabilities & the commanders’ exercise in their roles as military leaders. These trainers consist of computer assisted & computerised war-games primarily meant for training of commanders & staff in decision making & conduct of battles. Project SHATRANJ developed by War-Games Development Centre (WARDEC) in conjunction with Institute of System Studies Analysis (ISSA) & Defence & Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) is an example of this.

As discussed above some of the simulators which should be employed for effective training in the various Arms & Services are as follows:-

Small Arms Firing.

Anti Tank Weapon Firing.

Grenade Firing.

Mine Simulator.

Light Vehicle Driving.

Heavy Vehicle Driving.

Tank Gunnery.

Tank Driving.

Tank Navigation.

ICV Driving.

Missiles Firing.

AD Gun Firing.

Radar Early Warning.

Aircraft Recognition.

Observation & Control of Fire.

Laying & Firing of Arty Guns.

Surveillance & Target Acquisition.

Flight simulator

Bridging Simulator.

Communication Simulator.

Electronic Warfare Simulator.

Logistics Simulator.

Fault Diagnosis & Repair Simulator.

Present Status

Modern simulation is capable of delivering cost effective training for most of the equipment & scenarios, from routine to most complex situations, to the combatants both individually & collectively [3] . However in India, the exploitation of such a powerful & efficient tool had not been very encouraging. Only lately, its potential use has been recognised & some efforts have been made for the development & use of simulation models for training purposes in all the three Services. Slower recognition of simulation technology & potential benefits than the expectation has been partly because of lack of funds & also lack of awareness [4] .

The proliferation of simulators & war gaming in Indian Army has been coordinated under ARTRAC & executed by War gaming Development Centre (WARDEC), New Delhi & Simulator Development Division (SDD), Secunderabad. WARDEC in collaboration with DRDO has developed a few computerised war gaming packages like Shatranj (a two-sided, free-play, real-time and dynamic computer war-game model having six workstations in a network) for training battalion commanders & staff, Mechanised Forces War Game (MFWG) a PC based software package for training on regiment level armour warfare & Infantry Commander's Tactical Trainer (INFCOTT) for training commanders at the sub-unit level in the deployment of an infantry company. Sabre war game package for armour warfare developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Pune, is also being used by the Indian Army, to train armoured corps officers. The Indian Navy has been using analog tactical trainers for quite a long time for ship/submarine manoeuvring. Computer war-games, viz., MINTAG, Manthan and Sagar developed by DRDO have also been inducted into the Indian Navy for integrated training. Manthan includes ships, submarines and aircraft as platforms with different types of weapons and sensors. It is configured with three workstations and three PCs in a local area network [5] .

Similarly, SDD has developed a number of Level 1 individual skill trainers in collaboration with the industry in a highly collapsed timeframe aligned to the processes & peculiar needs of our Army. The significant ones being DRONA firing simulator, Armoured (T-72) & Mechanised Infantry (BMP-II) driving & gunnery simulators, L-70 layer trainer & Tanguska missile & driving simulators for the Army Air Defence, ATGM simulator, light vehicle driving simulators, ALS & Kolos Tatra driving simulator etc.

The progress on the M&S front in India has been rather slow and the potential benefits that M&S as a tool can deliver in all areas of application has not been fully appreciated by the various stakeholders. As a result, guidelines from the government / MoD / Service HQs are absent. Whatever efforts have been put in by different communities (researchers, defence labs and R&D organisations, academia, industry, services etc) have been ‘silos’ efforts. The barriers of limited financial powers & prolonged induction processes have posed serious challenges in unleashing the full potential of SDD/ WARDEC for developing feature-enriched, greater fidelity, higher functionality world class simulators & in effect it has restricted Indian Army to graduate from individual skill & crew trainers to tactical trainers & Mission trainers as also has restricted large scale army-wide inductions to exploit the benefits of simulator based training. Some of these barriers have been lowered through defence procurement procedure 2008 but these are not enough. There is much more desired to meet the demand, aspirations & training objectives. Shrunk obsolescence cycles, stretched deployments, reduced availability of training time & space, rapidly changing threat perceptions, associated tactics, & ongoing modernisation accentuate the problems [6] .

Strategy for Simulator Based Training

The conflicting requirements of intensive training, conserving the life of costly equipment/ weapon systems by limiting their employment in peace time & to achieve the required level of proficiency at an affordable cost are the challenges being faced by Indian Army. Simulators are powerful tool to develop, perfect - training, technology & doctrine to achieve breakthroughs. Battle field simulation allows creation of current or future battle scenarios by substituting software for forces not present, linking dispersed forces, reducing weapons systems wear & tear, enhancing training familiarity & adds consistently the “reality” edge – of what can be expected [7] .

However, high technology alone cannot guarantee victory or assure low casualties. While this statement is axiomatic, a very significant lesson from US has been their modelling of the scenarios to help reduce losses & casualties. Simulation technology is an integral part of conventional force planning & US defence policy. War gaming future battle scenarios require tremendous familiarity with computer simulation technology & deep understanding of how simulations can transform conventional force planning. The recent developments in simulator technology can be exploited to significantly enhance the efficacy of training, to ensure smooth technological transition & to ensure comprehensive modernisation of Indian Army. It is however imperative that a correct strategy is formulated for development, validation & induction of simulators. The relevant issues to be kept in mind while evolving the strategy are as follows [8] :-

Creating an Environment. All the defence establishments / institutions associated with the development and/or usage of simulation models should come together and form a forum with an objective to create a common simulation environment for the promotion of simulation activities in India. The forum should periodically conduct discussions, seminars, etc. on simulation activities.

Identification of the Strategic Gap. Identification of the strategic gap between the training standards needed & the standards that would be attained by following the present method of training.

Identification of Requirement. Analysing & identifying the requirement of simulators by various arms & services to bridge the gap. The respective line directorates have a major role to play in this analysis.

Requirement of Nodal Agency. There is a requirement of a nodal agency responsible for the subsequent analysis & decision making.

Development of Expertise. Development of expertise to coordinate & manage the development of simulators & their validation against user requirements.

Policy Formulation. Laying down a policy for development of

simulator like low cost simulators to be developed using Systems Prototype Method, whereas complex & costly simulators to be developed following the Systems development Life Cycle Method.

Evolving a Framework for Induction of Simulators. Like any technology based program, fast-tracking of simulator based training capabilities of Indian Army by leveraging the benefits of industry needs to be correctly managed. It is thus necessary to evolve a robust & sustainable framework that would facilitate induction while safeguarding long term organisational interests.

Latest Simulation Technologies. Studying contemporary simulation technologies available worldwide; comparing these for effect, cost, utility, ease of handling, infrastructure, updates, stability, maintenance etc with an aim to help users acquire the best simulators & make suitable recommendations to the user directorates.

Evolve a Systematic Approach to Incorporate Simulators for Training at All Levels in Indian Army. Identify areas where simulators can be employed for training at various levels (e.g. basic, crew, mission training, command & staff trainers etc), how resources could be centralized for training at various institutes & propose a plan for various arms & services to procure simulators to achieve quantified results in training at various levels.

Public Private Partnership. To formulate procedure for induction of simulators ex-trade highlighting the role of a nodal agency at various stages of induction such that nodal agency becomes an interface with industry for any specific requirement of simulator to be developed ex-trade & formulation of MOUs with all safeguards.

Utilisation of Simulators Used by World Armies. Evolving suitable recommendations for user directorates after studying the types of simulators are being used by world Armies, their employment & percentage of training being conducted, their effectiveness, advantages, limitations & cost benefit analysis.

The challenges being faced by world armies in implementing their technology based learning programs including simulators & war games clearly indicate that cultural changes (people issues) & credible data are a pre-requisite to heavy investments. Setting up a “Simulations & Modelling Directorate” & bringing all functions including development & acquisitions of war games & simulators under it would give the much desired impetus to simulation based training & will help in moving to other areas of simulation like Simulation based Acquisition (SBA) [9] .

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