Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) announced that its Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3) and VBS Fires FST have been selected for use in the US Air Force (USAF) Academy’s Military Strategic Studies course on remotely piloted aircraft and air operations.
VBS3, developed by BISim, enables trainers and users to conduct virtual exercises for land, air, maritime and shoreline operations in highly immersive environments. It offers realistic physics that can be selected from an extensive content library to create models and populate scenarios. A game-based desktop simulation for tactical training and mission rehearsal, it was conceived with military training in mind and offers unique features that allow users to customise the training, including avatars programmed with realistic fatigue systems as well as the possibility to modify scenarios offline or in real-time to mimic real-world uncertainty. To facilitate education and training, it is also complete with after-action review.
VBS3 includes more than 40 unmanned systems and provides a generic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) interface for operation system payload sensors and weapons. UAV models also feature a variety of camera modes including Electro-Optical and Infrared (EO/IR) views.
“What we are trying to do is expose cadets to how the USAF employs air power at the operational level,” said Lt.Col. Casey Tidgewell, who leads, directs, and manages all USAF Academy Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) education, training, and operations. “The course is designed to help cadets understand and develop airmanship skills as well as understand different career paths available to them in the Air Force.” Tidgewell adds that roughly 250 cadets a year will gain exposure to RPA and air power operations training through the course.
Prior to using VBS3, the USAF Academy introduced cadets to remotely piloted aircraft operations through live training using the RQ-11 Raven a lightweight, hand-launched unmanned aerial system commonly used for low-altitude surveillance and reconnaissance intelligence.
VBS Fire FST is an immersive call-for-fire and Close Air Support training simulation systems that combines the key visual features of VBS3 with a close air support simulation system, realistic FO and JTAC workflow, and an artificial intelligence engine pilot that controls the aircraft freeing the instructor from concentrating on flying an aircraft and allowing them to focus on training. VBS Fire FST also supports a wide array of munitions, fuse types and firing platforms.
The two systems allow cadets to conduct basic tasks such as tracking an individual using the virtual UAV to more challenging missions, designed to test a team’s ability to take commander’s intent to support a complex special operations night-time mission. Cadets use mIRC chat and voice-over IP to simulate interactions over satellite communications with instructors playing different roles. VBS3 also connects to the Academy’s RPA simulator.
“We needed a simulation that was easy to use and user-friendly for college students, and VBS3 provided that,” said Lt. Col. Tidgewell. Michael “Ski” Golembesky, the instructor for the USAFA RPA Programme who incorporated VBS3 into the curriculum, added that ease of use enables cadets to take on more of a mentor and leadership role, which will in turn assist him in training and operating the simulation.