Simulators indispensable for the military

Simulators indispensable for the military

Lt Gen AKS Chandele
Lt Gen (Dr) AKS Chandele PVSM, AVSM (Retd)
Managing Editor
[email protected]

Modelling and simulation (words often used interchangeably) is the artificial recreation of a real-life process or activity and the analysis of the system behaviour with changing variables. This may be resorted to when a real-life system is not accessible, cannot be or is too dangerous to engage or is still being designed. The accuracy of results depends on the fidelity and validity of the model. Modelling and simulation has applications in practically every sphere of human activity – be it training, safety engineering, medicine, construction, education, video games, disaster response – the list is endless.

Defence forces across the globe are increasingly relying on simulators for training. Their use prevents wear and tear and damage to costly operational equipment and ensures safety of personnel while enhancing their skill levels. Simulators are cost-effective and have been developed for individual as well as collective military training and war-gaming. Individual training simulators include weapon training simulators for various weapons such as grenades, small arms, anti tank guided missiles, anti aircraft and gunnery. Driving simulators are available for the full range of wheeled and tracked vehicles and for varying conditions of terrain, weather and visibility.

Geographical information available to field commanders today is not just limited to 2D maps. As armed forces globally graduate towards net-centricity, high-end graphics, multimedia and GIS with customised software act as potent tools to commanders for creating a virtual battlefield in the form of 3D Digital Sand Room.

Flight simulators for both manned civil and military aircraft (fixed wing and helicopters) as well as UAVs, are essential for training of pilots, to avoid risk to life or damage to the aircraft. They are usually provided by the respective aircraft manufacturers and though quite expensive initially, prove extremely economical in the long run.

War-gaming today is a computer based application of modelling and simulation used by the military for testing existing tactics, strategy and doctrines and developing new ones. It involves the creation of a variety of war-like scenarios and then ‘gaming’ them based on artificial intelligence at practically no extra cost.

Appreciating the importance of simulators, the Indian Army established the Simulator Development Division (SDD) two decades ago to design and develop simulators. SDD developed a range of useful small arms, gunnery, driving and some other simulators, tailor-made for the requirements of the armed forces, which have been introduced into service. Considering the scope and large requirements of simulators for the military and the resultant benefit that will accrue, it is necessary that private industry be involved to a greater degree for their development and procurement.