Simulation Seminar, Digitising the African Landward Battle Space, 26 to 27 October 2017

Article by Themba Katsambe, SA Army Headquarters Corporate Communication Intern
Photographs by Themba Katsambe, SA Army Headquarters Corporate Communication Intern

The first SA Army Simulation Symposium was hosted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s building 44 Lynnwood, Pretoria. The 2 day sessions ( 26th -27th )  were organised by Colonel L. Olivier, Senior Staff Officer SA Army Strategy partnering with Ms Miriam Molekoa, Research Group Leader for Modelling and Simulation Based Decision Support at CSIR.

The simulation included Live, Virtual, Constructive and Serious Gaming technologies that not only enhances the quality and impact of training in the SA Army but also provides the realistic experience of combat. “The assumption that virtual reality (simulation) is only utilised in training and the need to standardise simulation brought about the need for this symposium”, said Colonel L. Olivier.  

During the symposium opening, the Deputy Chief of the SA Army Major General R. Smith mentioned that simulation experimentation is key in the army’s decision making processes, whilst integrating the dimensions within the organisation. “This seminar bridges the gap between training and realistic experience, between industry (service provider) and the SA Army as consumer- the slit amongst joint training and interoperability”, added the General.    

Major General R. Smith established his support for simulation by highlighting the cost-effective ways to end users through the networked blended learning force preparation capability. “Simulation creates a non-threatening training environment at a cheap cost and saves the SA Army money in the process.  In simulation one can practice crew drills, procedures and commands without using diesel or ammunition.  Simulation shortens the actual training period.” concluded the General.     

These Battlelabs will serve as the SA Army’s network portals by providing programmes and systems optimally suited to meet the training requirements of the modern African soldier.  The labs will also be developed as research facilities for concept and doctrine development, technical weapons verification as well as modeling and simulation.

The integrated distributed exercise and training support capability will have the battlelabs focusing on training at the tactical level of warfare and compromise of a balanced mix of Information Communication Technology supported training methodologies.    

Lastly, the SA Army’s portal into space and cyberspace will be used as innovation hubs for capability development for the cyber and space domains in terms of new concepts, doctrine and equipment.    

The SAAB is the main supplier of Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence to the South African Army who developed the serious war gaming “BattleTek IV” that was showcased at the seminar.   

The CSIR has had more than ten years in supporting the South African ground-based Air Defence System which the framework was on display as well. Funded by the Department of Defence through Armscor, the structure included stimulating the battlefield, integrating systems and simulations, building applications and tools, deploying everywhere and experimenting anywhere.

The applications included the Mission Control Concept Evaluation Centre, Fighter Mission Simulation Framework, Ground-Based Air Defence Simulator, 35mm Anti-Aircraft Autonomous Gun Model, Data Link Processor, Gripen LinkZA C2 Ground Station, Low – Cost ADS and AIS Sensors, Multi-Sensor Track Fusion Algorithm Test-Bed and Air-to-surface warfare concepts test-bed.

“The positive aspect about the seminar is that it had first-hand demonstrations, not just papers”, expressed Major General R. Smith describing the seminar.

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Mirriam Molekoa, Research Group Leader at CSIR delivers her vote of thanks speech at the closing ceremony of the seminar 

Colonel (Dr) Laetitia Olivier, Senior Staff Officer SA Army Strategy delivers her vote of thanks speech at the closing ceremony of the seminar on Friday afternoon 27 October 2017 

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Dr Francois Maasdorp CSIR Engineer explains Passive Radar Research of Electronic Warfare Application

Lakanya Zimba, CSIR Technical Researcher explaining the “,,,,,,” system to SA Army personnel 

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SA Army member used volunteers to be used for demonstration during the seminar