Anyone looking to find a new global dynamic in international land force developments need look no further than a recent announcement by Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Group that, together with Russian partner JSCo Oboronservis, they had received a contract from the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation – valued at “well over 100 million Euros – including further options” – to build a major army training center in Mulino, Russia. More than just geographically historic, the supporting technologies behind the contract provide a representative example of one of the growing trends and developments emerging to support land forces around the globe.
Simulation and Training Technologies
That particular trend involves the expansion of new simulation and other related technologies to support international military training. The expanded application of simulation reflects not only the development and availability of new computer technologies but also the universal recognition of the cost effectiveness of simulation versus other types of training.
The new Russian Federation army training center provides an excellent example.
“Measuring over 500 square kilometers, the state-of-the-art Russian army training center in Mulino is designed to train a reinforced mechanized infantry or armored brigade,” the announcement explains. “An innovative rotation principle will enable training to take place simultaneously at a variety of stations, with the training system tracking and recording the activities of each participant via an electronic identification badge, helping to assure successful results throughout a training process lasting several weeks.
Preceding the rotation principle, which will be employed in Mulino for the first time, will be an introductory qualification phase involving practical and theoretical objectives whereby the theoretical level of qualification [is] presented in the form of CBT [computer based training] modules. Participants will not be allowed to proceed until they meet this basic qualification, after which they move on to other training stations, including live combat simulation, commander training by state-of-the-art constructive simulation, marksmanship with modern firing ranges as well as other practical training components. Another new feature is the networking of live, virtual and constructive [LVC] simulation elements in an LVC system which promises to set a new standard in military training.
“This contract has special strategic significance for the Rheinmetall Group, representing the German defense industry’s first significant foothold in the Russian market,” it adds. “In light of plans to modernize the equipment of the Russian armed forces, the opportunities for follow-on orders from the Russian Federation are considerable.”
In fact, an emphasis on increasing simulation technology in training centers and supporting training systems as a cost-effective means of maintaining readiness reflects a recent trend not only in the United States but across international land forces as well.
Returning to the Rheinmetall example, the group already operates the Bundeswehr’s Gefechtsübungszentrum Heer, or GÜZ, a high-tech army training center located in the Altmark in central Germany, on which the new facility in Russia will be modeled. Additionally, another customer “from the Middle East” placed an order with Rheinmetall for a comparable facility in 2009.
Elsewhere around the globe, the recently released 2011 Defense White Paper of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces concurs with the growing trend, observing, “Simulation offers an important avenue for testing operational concepts and capability solutions and for the cost effective training of skilled operators. The National Modeling and Simulation Center currently being established will provide a national capacity in this area that can be accessed for defense purposes. That expertise may also contribute to cooperative planning with other regional nations and defense forces.”