Denel Land Systems has begun receiving high-fidelity training simulators for the South African Army’s new Badger Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV). The SA Army is set to receive 244 Badgers in different variants over the next few years and from the outset, simulator based training has formed an essential component of its mission system.
Durban-based ThoroughTec Simulation has spent several years developing and testing the latest evolution of its CYBERWAR range of Tactical Training Simulators, with the first production units now being delivered to Denel Land System’s Lyttelton facility where Badger assembly takes place. In due course, these will be deployed to the SA Army’s mechanised infantry training units.
Ultimately, ThoroughTec will deliver 28 Badger Training Simulator Systems, comprising both driver and turret crew training simulators, all of which are 100% locally designed and developed. Simulator variants for the Command, Missile, Mortar and Section variants of the Badger will be delivered, each replicating their unique capabilities and all designed to interact in a vast 1500 square kilometre virtual world.
The Badger simulators integrate vehicle, weapon and sensor performance models with ultra-realistic physical instruments and controls, so as to authentically replicate the Badger operational experience and completely immerse vehicle crews in the simulated training experience, ThoroughTec said.
“The training requirement for Badger crew members to successfully master their new mounts will be significantly higher than we’ve seen with older vehicles. Simulators are the natural choice to cost-effectively bridge this gap”, said David Cooke, Vice President: Military at ThoroughTec.
“These simulators represent the culmination of more than two decades of simulator use by the South African Army,” said Cooke. “In spite of the present focus on low-intensity, infantry-focused peace support operations, the SA Army is committed to maintaining a conventional, mechanised warfare capability. They have long recognised that simulation offers a cost effective and highly efficient means of keeping our armoured soldier’s skills honed in the complex and costly art of high-mobility mechanised operations.
“The Badger Simulators will place trainees in a ‘world’ where they need to apply all of their equipment knowledge and tactical skills in order to ‘survive’, let alone win. The AI-Enemy is pretty unforgiving, so the guys really need to know their stuff and function as a cohesive team if they want any hope of getting through the exercises in one piece,” noted Cooke.
“Considering the cost, risk and therefore limitations of traditional, live-fire training methods, our simulators will enhance both the efficiency and effectiveness of the SA Army’s Badger operator training programmes, delivering highly proficient operators at a fraction of the cost of traditional training methods.”
ThoroughTec has supplied tactical training systems for the SA Army’s entire fleet of combat vehicles as well as systems for several foreign militaries. The company’s headquarters and R&D and production facility are in Durban, South Africa, with global sales and support offices in Australia, Chile, Russia, Canada and the US.
Denel Land Systems is on track to deliver the first 88 Badger Infantry Combat Vehicles to the South African Army by May 2019. More than 15 vehicles have been produced and transfer of technology from Finland has concluded. In the 2017/18 financial year the plan is to produce 59 turrets and deliver twenty completed systems. Deliveries of all Badgers is set to conclude in 2022.
There are five main Badger variants for the South African Army: the Section variant with 30 mm CamGun; the Mortar variant with a 60 mm, 6 kilometre range breech-loading mortar developed locally by DLS; the Fire Support variant with 30 mm CamGun, the Anti-tank variant with Ingwe missiles, and the Command Variant which enables Command and Control from company level.
There will also be five new variants for joint operations (the Joint Task Force), including Ambulance, Signals, Basic Artillery Observation System (BAOS), Command and Logistics.
On the ammunition side, all the 30x173 mm ammunition and all the 60 mm mortar bombs have been delivered and accepted into the South African Army’s stores. The 60 mm mortars were supplied by Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) while Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP) supplied most of the 30 mm ammunition, except for some specialised rounds such as sabot rounds, which were acquired overseas. RDM delivered the final batch of ammunition in March 2017.
The Badger is a modified version of the Patria 8x8 vehicle, which was selected as an existing design since the South African Army’s order did not justify designing a completely new vehicle. The flat bottom mine resistant floor was developed locally by Land Mobility Technologies. Other changes include local add-on armour, a new door, revised interior and fresh water tank, amongst others.