A number of technology developments in live ground training were in evidence at the 2016 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) exhibition in Orlando, Florida, including alternatives to blank ammunition and lasers, and new exercise control (ExCon) software.
Norwegian company Eblanks, together with sole distributor INOVEX, showcased its innovative system for simulating the firing of small-arms ammunition with recoil, sound, and muzzle flash but without the use of blank rounds. The E-blank system consists of recoil and trigger modules, which include a laser pointer, installed in a weapon's bolt slide, with the trigger module connected to the trigger and safety catch. The magazine is replaced with a module of identical form and fit which contains a battery, sound device, and integrated electronics.
A muzzle flash reflector is fitted to the end of the barrel. When the weapon is "fired" the system generates a shot sound, recoil, and a muzzle flash from the laser pointer. A weapon can be converted in a claimed two minutes, there is no change to its outward appearance or the weight and balance, and handling procedures are unchanged. INOVEX claims that E-blanks can be customised "for all weapon types".
The number of rounds per magazine can be set and magazines are reloaded by pushing a button on the side to replicate inserting individual rounds, giving a realistic time period. The volume level can also be controlled. Each magazine has an estimated lifespan of 150,000 rounds and INOVEX claims that the system provides significant savings on blank ammunition and on weapon wear and tear.
The system is compatible with existing laser-based Tactical Engagement Simulation (TES) systems, and can be used in situations where conventional blank ammunition is forbidden. Mark Moutarde, business development director for INOVEX told IHS Jane's that a small quantity of E-blanks had been procured by the Netherlands for testing and trials and that it had been tested and integrated with RUAG Defence's Gladiator system.
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