The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 15 February that it has achieved savings of £125 million through use of a turret trainer for the army’s AS90 155mm self-propelled howitzer.
The AS90, manufactured by BAE Systems, entered British Army service in 1992 although the BRAVEHEART version, which features upgrades for effective desert operations and a 52-calibre barrel, has only been in use since 2007. The trainer, installed at Tidworth Garrison in 2005, provides training for the three-man turret crew – commander, gunner and loader. Based on an actual AS90 turret, the trainer replicates the complete firing cycle, the weight and mass of rounds and the noise and movement in the turret on firing.
Over 8,500 soldiers have used the trainer since installation, generating better safety awareness and empowering more advanced training scenarios when they progress to live fire exercises. Over the 12 years of use, the simulator has ‘fired’ 50,000 rounds, representing a saving of at least £125 million
“This equipment provides high quality training for the British Army that is also cost efficient. As live firing events are extremely expensive and can be logistically challenging, using the AS90 turret trainer is a great alternative. It also offers immersive training that prepares users for live firing both in practice and on the battlefield,” observed Minister for Defence Equipment & Support, Guto Bebb.