Simulation training for 4 SAI
As part of preparation for continental peace support deployments, SA Army infantry units undergo specialist jungle training at a thickly forested location near Port St Johns. This is enhanced by the use of simulation equipment, which ensures better mission preparation. Speaking after 4 SA Infantry Battalion’s most recent training deployment to the Eastern Cape training area, Colonel Wouter Meiring of the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) Joint Operations Division said the Gamer Manpack system, supplied by Saab, had again proven its value. The system allows for scalable and flexible training including “force-on-force” effects, soldier tracking, performance data analysis and an exercise control centre. Accurate and speedy feedback during and following a training exercise prevents bad lessons being learnt and taken into actual deployments. Meiring reports the officer and instructor contingent from 4 SAI made good use of all the Gamer’s features with speedy feedback providing them with valuable information to pass on to soldiers before any bad habits can become entrenched. This point is also stressed by Saab in its promotional literature for the product..
“Accurate and timely feedback both during and after a training exercise is crucial to prevent false lessons being learnt and to ensure the soldier receives maximum training benefit.” The simulation training is part of a syllabus which included practical aspects such as river crossings, awareness of booby traps, section drills and house and building clearing. The Gamer manpack system can, according to Saab, support up to 80 instrumented players and has radio coverage of up to six kilometres, depending on terrain. Its 15 minute set-up time allows for speedy presentation of drills to be exercised. The complete package comprises the Gamer manpack, personal protection device (PPD) and small arms transmitter (SAT). The manpack is a real time command and control system with the PPD a body and head harness to provide feedback and measurement with the SAT the simulator for assault rifles, machine guns, crew-served weapons and sniper rifles. It has a patented laser lobe design giving high precision simulation which requires accurate aiming to be successful. On completion of training at Port St Johns, 4 SAI moved to the De Brug training area outside Bloemfontein for mission readiness training. Part of this saw the constructive simulation team deploy BattleTek and its associated software as final preparation ahead of deployment. The unit will be deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the United Nations’ MONUSCO mission there.