Industry News


Posted on Mar 11, 2016

Game on, for the Canadian Army!

ADGA, an Ottawa-based engineering and consulting company, opened its new Training and Simulation Engineering Centre (TSEC) in Kingston, Ontario, to extend the support work it carries out for the Canadian Army. The Centre, which currently has 15 technicians, supports training packages for the LAV 6 light armoured vehicle, and for the "Simulation in a Box" technology that provides connectivity between simulations and the Land Command Support System. The current contract has the scope to grow to at least 25 technicians.

Don MacQuarrie, lead architect at the centre, describes key capabilities of the system to attendees from the Canadian Army and ADGA executives.

According to ADGA, the new TSEC addresses the need for the Canadian Army and other branches of the armed forces to meet their training requirements through cost-saving simulations. “We are honoured to deliver cost-effective solutions to the Canadian Army with the launch of the Training and Simulation Engineering Centre,” said Françoise Gagnon, CEO of ADGA. Simulators can help commanders improve tactics and procedures and train vehicle crews before committing equipment in the field. Simulators can help commanders improve tactics and procedures and train vehicle crews before committing equipment in the field.

Referring to the Canadian Army Simulation Strategy (updated in late 2015), Major-General J.M. Lanthier, Commander of the Doctrine and Training Centre Headquarters said, "It articulates a vision that basically describes an environment where everything is integrated, where the boundaries between the real world and the virtual are pretty much transparent, and that is where we need to be."

Describing what the Canadian soldier sees in LAV training for examples, Andre LaFrance, ADGA project manager for modelling and simulation said, "He sees one of the very simple sets of workstations. No need for the expensive full-motion simulator.” The simulation equipment is located within their own lines and it can be set up quickly, without much preparation, he said. “Individuals safely and inexpensively practice the skills of tactical driving, gunnery and crew commanding. ADGA has delivered 80 of these systems, spread across Canadian Army bases."

Under the terms of its five-year contract, ADGA manages current software packages, and has the flexibility to suggest and develop future capability to improve the modules. “Our current proposal is to network an infantry recce platoon's worth of LAV simulators together,” Lafrance said. “Now it gets interesting as the crew commander is challenged to manage not only his own vehicle but the three other vehicles in the platoon." In this simulation, the crew commanders can run their own training to their own satisfaction, and there are no contractors required to run the simulation on the bases.

The “Simulation in a Box” set of services and associated software is designed to enhance decision-making training at a higher level through the use of simulated inputs. Using this system, trainees do not actually interact with the software themselves. “They receive their orders from a higher commander and they issue their orders to lower controllers,” Lafrance explained. “Those controllers are the one who input the information and the orders into the simulation.”

The TSEC’s work involves bringing existing software packages together to create a more realistic picture to the soldier. “Add-ons bring more realism,” Lafrance said. “Many a good commander’s plan has gone awry when it failed to take into consideration hordes of refugees coming down his main supply route and interdicting movement.” The CAN-X module can introduce refugees into the simulated environment, while other modules present other factors like radio traffic and UAV feeds, and  after action report software lets participants review their activities.

Major-General J.M. Lanthier, Commander of the Doctrine and Training Centre Headquarters tries out the LAV6 vehicle simulator system. 

Speaking at the Centre opening, Major-General Lanthier applauded progress to date but made it clear that much more remains to be done in Canadian Army simulations.

“Now I need to link different units with different capabilities across an arm, but I also need to be able to link between the air force, naval gunfire, the U.S. Marine Corps, American jets, the U.S. Special Forces, and other NATO nations,” he said. “We want to be able to integrate live and virtual together, to get that rich and complex environment in which soldiers are called to operate.”

As with any area that involves computing, standards are all-important – can the various pieces of hardware and software actually communicate with each other? “There are a lot of policy issues, Lanthier acknowledged. "Interoperability is a key challenge right now to our mission networks. It is getting a common operating picture that you can share, and it is sharing tactical intelligence information across systems, so we need to develop that road map, and we are doing that.”

While some standards needed to connect with other systems are not yet available, Lanthier says the Army has the tools to be able to integrate live C2 systems within Canadian armed forces and with our key allies. “The goal is a mission network that takes both real, live command and control systems and simulation systems, to make that environment as rich and as  complex as it can be, to replicate the real world.”