Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 4 2011 Contents 30 DEFENCE MAGAZINE
The future of computer-
based simulation in the
Australian Defence Force is in
the clouds – and the experts
say that is a good thing.
The cloud, in IT terminology, is a virtual
ser ver that gives approved users access to
up-to-date information, intelligence and
applications from a network of sources
outside the limits of a normal database.
Ideally, this would allow all Defence’s
simulation activities to coexist within a
‘synthetic environment’ (a realistically
artificial world) sustained by constantly
updated data from across the entire
Australian Defence Organisation, and
In a presentation to the United
Ser vices Institute of the ACT in
Canberra in June, Adolfo Klassen, the
chief technology officer and vice-
president of CAE (a major provider of
simulation and modelling technologies
to defence forces around the world),
talked about the growth of synthetic
environments and the steps towards a
future of “in-the-cloud storage”.
First, there were the individual
weapons platforms, such as flight
Then came the idea of building
a larger synthetic world to “wrap
around the machine to replicate the
environment in which it operates”.
For instance, a Black Hawk pilot could
train or prepare in the same virtual
ecosystem (replicating every detail, from
terrain and weather to enemy threats) as
an Abrams tank driver, a Navy officer on
the bridge of a warship or even a signals
officer working on communications.
Mr Klassen says companies such
as CAE are already using ‘open-
specification’ technology, called a
Common Database, to overcome the
problem of ‘proprietary constraints’
in staging complex mission rehearsals
involving many individual simulators
and multi-channels of information. The
next step is the virtual cloud, providing
almost unlimited storage capacity.
He says the ADF has been quick to
recognise the value of networking its
simulation activities. Its next objective
is to define the rules of engagement for
the IT industry.
The framework for those rules of
engagement is set out in the Defence
Simulation Strategy and Roadmap 2011,
which the Australian Defence Simulation
Office (ADSO) is using to navigate
the organisation through a brave new
The office’s Director-General
Simulation, Dr Mike Brennan, says the
common synthetic environment is a
pivotal part of the evolution of Defence
He likens it to an inter-library lending
“If your library doesn’t have the book
you want, you can request it be sourced
from another library.”
Dr Brennan says the Army’s Head of
Modernisation and Strategic Planning,
Major General John Caligari, in a speech
to SimTecT (the SimulationTechnology
and Training Conference) in late
May, referred to Defence’s extensive
“collection of simulation islands”.
“What we seek to do is join up these
islands,” Dr Brennan says.
“Say we need to create a simulation to
support preparedness for counter-IED
operations. Instead of going to a company
and specifying exactly what we need in
a closed-project sense, we will be able
to dip into our resources and assemble a
simulation from those pieces.”
Just as the WorldWideWeb has
evolved around the ability of users to
share and assemble web applets, he
envisages Defence simulation evolving
around ‘sim applets’.
“Whether or not this occurs within
the JP3028 [an acquisition program
for Defence simulation] timeframe is a
matter for conjecture,” he admits. “But
that’s the direction the world is heading.”
Dr Brennan says Defence’s existing
simulation activities are concentrated
in training and preparedness, and in
research and development.
The most recognisable simulators are
the individual systems used for training
all operators, such as pilots, drivers
and gunners.There are also simulations
for collective training, such as mission
More recent examples of collective
training simulations include the Joint
and CombinedTraining Centre (linked
with the US) and the CombatTraining
Centre – Live Instrumented System.
Individual platforms include simulators
for ASLAVs and Armed Reconnaissance
Helicopters, aWedgetail flight trainer
a C-17 aircrew training system and
advances in Navy’s Bridge trainers.
The Defence Science and Technology
Clear skies ahead
Cloud’s the limit for future simulation
By Fiona van der Platt
The Director General Simulation, Dr Mike Brennan.
Above: BradWalton from Joint CommandTraining Capability watches over the simulated UAV feeds that are transmitted to the MentoringTask Force –3 Commander during a
mission rehearsal exercise. Photo: Corporal Raymond Vance. Opposite page: Members of HMAS Melbourne’s ship’s company hone their collective skills for High End War-Fighting
at HMAS Watson’s simulation facilities.The training highlighted the benefits and cost-effectiveness of Navy simulation.
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