Australia-US computer training capability gets $40 million upgrade

Simulations blend virtual and real world scenarios

The Australian Defence Force has linked its computer simulated training capabilities with the United States strengthening interoperability between the two countries.

The new $40 million training capability has been used for the first time in Exercise Talisman Saber 07 at Shoalwater BayTraining Area, Central Queensland.

It gives Australian and United States defence personnel an advanced training system to better prepare for joint (Navy, Army, Air Force) combined (Australia and US) operations in increasingly complex environments.

In a statement released today the ADF said: "It will help to make the Australian Defence Force better able to meet the full spectrum of future security challenges from war-fighting to peace monitoring and humanitarian relief."

The Joint Combined Training Capability (JCTC) links Australian and US exercise headquarters, units and training areas to combine live training action with computer-generated simulations and platform simulators throughout the world.

It creates unified high-quality training scenarios in a blend of the virtual and real world.

The linking of simulation and command systems enables real and virtual ships, aircraft and troops to be integrated into complex scenarios with a very high degree of realism for training participants. Comprehensive analysis can be undertaken taken during 'after action review'.

This provides a state-of-the-art learning experience in military training.

According to the ADF statement: "Training is critical to the operational effectiveness of our troops. Training with a high degree of fidelity is substantially more effective and enables troops to 'hit the ground running'. While delivering better training, the JCTC also will produce efficiencies by reducing operating costs, wear and tear on people and equipment and our footprint on the environment."

The JCTC has been developed jointly with the US following a 2004 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation (AUSMIN agreement.

The US has invested over $11 million in technology research, development, test and evaluation and has enabled significant technology transfer.

Australia has invested just over $29 million, mainly in information technology communications and the enhancement of facilities at Shoalwater Bay Training Area - the Exercise Control Building and the Urban Operations Training Facility.

The JCTC is undergoing evaluation during the Talisman Saber excercise for future development.

Further information on the JCTC is available at www.defence.gov.au/capability/jctc.

Earlier this month, the ADF announced it will invest $101.3 million redeveloping its School of Signals in Victoria which is used to train staff in communications and information systems.

The massive upgrade, which will commence in early 2008, will be undertaken at the Defence Force School of Signals at Simpson Barracks in Watsonia, Victoria.

Simpson Barracks is a crucial part of defence infrastructure and work is expected to reach completion in late 2009.

The ADF is struggling with a serious ICT skills shortage and will spend $215 million in training and support over the next decade.

The department will need 12,000 new employees during this time with 25 percent coming from an engineering background.

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