Driving into the future

Driving into the future

Young soldiers’ computer skills are paying off for members of 7th Combat Service Support Battalion, whose battle simulation system (BSS) has paid dividends in training drivers how to safely operate protected mobility vehicles in an artificial environment. 

From the safety of Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, the troop commander uploaded a driving scenario that included all the complexities of operating in the Middle East – civilian pedestrians, animals, threat forces and the possibility of encountering an improvised explosive device. 

The BSS provides the battalion with a means to visualise logistical patrols, conduct drills, practise intra-vehicle communications and respond to orders. 

The simulators also deliver cost savings on operating heavy military vehicles and allow for the replay of events for enhanced learning.

Through the immersive system, the user feels closer to a real-world environment, proving to be effective in honing driver skills in a safe and efficient way. 

Corporal John Goodwin said the system had great advantages. 

“While there’s no substitute for real driving, it makes people visualise their training in a realistic scenario so they can practise their communication between vehicles and hone their drills,” Corporal Goodwin said. 

“It also eliminates all the admin work of booking a range - being in the heart of Brisbane we don’t have immediate access to large training areas.”

Corporal Goodwin highlighted the positive reaction from the new generation of soldiers posting into the battalion. 

“Soldiers have responded well to the training as it gets them out of the transport yard and into a relaxed environment to practise,” Corporal Goodwin said.

“Newer soldiers in particular are more familiar with computer games so it resonates with them.”

Information Technician Signaller David Locke had significant involvement in setting up the existing systems, and was looking forward to newer versions arriving in the near future. 

“There’s a project to replace the current driver simulator,” Signaller Locke said. 

“The new system will have a gun ring on the back of it and will run training for the Bushmaster, HX77 trucks and the Hawkei vehicles.

“As we go forward we expect the simulations to become more realistic, where users will feel more like they’re inside the vehicle.”