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Dutch army develops long-term simulation plan

The RE-liON Blacksuit immersive virtual training system provides small unit tactical training. (Netherlands MoD)

The Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA) has initiated a four-pronged plan to improve its simulation capability by 2030, focusing particularly on expanding virtual simulation.

Speaking at the 2023 Defence Simulation Education and Training conference (DSET 23) in Bristol, Lieutenant Colonel Marcel Wassenaar, head of the RNLA Simulation Centre for Land Operations (SIMCEN Land) at Amersfoort, said that in 2020 the RNLA commander directed that by 2030 more than 50% of training was to use simulation.

At present the force has six simulation systems, including the Saab-supplied mobile combat training centre (MCTC) for live training, a constructive simulation command and staff trainer from Elbit Systems, the RE-liON Blacksuit immersive virtual trainer, and the virtual simulation combined arms Tactical Indoor Simulator (TACTIS) from Thales.

Lt Col Wassenaar said the improvement plan has been developed through a three-step study programme. In 2022 it examined what simulation in 2030 would be desirable, technologically achievable, and organisationally possible. The study resulted in the four programme themes – increased use of virtual simulation; enhanced live simulation; operational use of simulation systems; and exploitation of data-analytics.

In 2023 the second stage of the study programme concluded that SIMCEN Land should be strengthened to give it an increased grip on RNLA simulation. Lt Col Wassenaar said the 2024 study would address the organisation of simulation within the RNLA, its total capacity, and the allocation of roles and responsibilities.

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