France has reason to cheer: for soldiers of the Belgian army, the preparation phase for operational engagement has just become French, at least in part. This phase involves command exercises at company and brigade level, and to carry them out the Land Forces component has chosen SWORD, a constructive simulation software package, designed and produced by MASA Group, an SME based in Paris.

SWORD

Shown above is an example of one of the infinite number of views that SWORD offers.

SWORD is now an integral part of the Simulation Center within the Land Forces Center, which is based at the Major Libbrecht Headquarters in Leopoldsburg, Limburg (north-east Belgium). In a recent press release MASA announced that in February, Belgian military personnel received initial training sessions to prepare them for the first round of exercises, scheduled for later this year.

With a cutting–edge, MASA-developed artificial intelligence engine at its heart, SWORD improves the quality of training, analysis, and decision making of commanding officers, by guiding them through a broad range of realistic tactical scenarios, such as high-intensity conflicts, stabilization missions, and complex maneuvers in urban terrains. Furthermore, the open structure of SWORD allows for complete interoperability with VBS3, Virtual Battlespace 3, acquired in 2015 by Belgium army for 600 000€.

Over the next decade, the increasing sophistication of training tools will bring with it a drastic reduction in personnel working in the competence development sector of the Belgian Ministry of Defense. The number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) in this branch will decrease by a third, and is projected to reach 2698 in 2030 (compared to 3800 as of January 1, 2016), while the Land Forces equivalent is expected to shed 25% of its staff, leveling off at 484 FTEs.

A true exporter success story, SWORD has already been adopted by New Zealand, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, and Bangladesh. Moreover, this product is also, if not first and foremost, a key training component for the Land Forces of the French Army.  In 2006, in the context of the SCIPIO project, it became a key component at the training center for command posts (CEPC) at Mailly-le-Camp (Aube).  It is also deployed at the Center of Expertise Info-valuation and SIMULATION (CEISIM) of the STAT, and the Defense Technico-Operational Analysis Center (CATOD), both French Army run organizations.

 What if SWORD was one of the first – small – steps toward the Franco-Belgian rapprochement envisaged by the CAMO program? This is because “Scorpion belge” plans to go far beyond the renewal of the Land Forces fleet and specifies that “education, training, and logistic support will be organized jointly”, said the Belgian Defense Minister, Steven Vandeput, June 22, 2017. Indeed his « strategic vision » states that « a possible collaboration with France represents an important opportunity to efficiently ensure support (most notably in terms of training, doctrine, maintenance, logistic support) for our inter-arm capacity ». The development of a Belgian inter-arm motorized capacity is therefore consistent with « a long-term strategic cooperation » in which « our motorized brigade will be integrated in the global command structures of our strategic nation partner(s) », he added.

 

Translated by MASA Group from http://forcesoperations.com/simulation-made-in-france-pour-larmee-belge/

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