have demonstrated the second generation battlelab (pictured below) of their Battlespace Transformation Capability (BTC) project for managing and making best use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).
In an industry first, the battlelab at Thales’ Manor Royal site, Crawley, has been used by UK forces, providing training in Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems and mission rehearsals. UAV specialists and commanders from Three Commando and 12 Mechanised Brigade were prepared for action in Afghanistan by presenting them with realistic simulations of the terrain and situations they may find themselves in.
Simulations were run to allow them to experience the full range of systems, training which is not available in the UK with UAVs due to airspace restrictions. The simulations also allowed commanders to manage information coming from the ISTAR systems and were designed to represent ‘everything but the heat’ in the theater of war.
The area being simulated is displayed using a graphic representation. This allows commanders to see exactly what is going on and react accordingly. It uses software, including some developed by the games industry, to create a simulation of the environment using maps and digital data from the area. Peter Wright, business development executive for Information Superiority at Thales, said he was confident that a simulation of anywhere in the world could be completed from scratch in four weeks.
BTC brings together feeds from resources on the ground and is designed to help units take full advantage of UAV capabilities. According to Thales it provides a central hub for operational analysis. This helps commanders experiment with concepts reliably and at low cost.
‘Commanders have complained of too much information from new sources,’ said Wright. ‘The battlelab is designed to help manage this deluge of information and allow units to be used to their full potential.’
The simulation has added realism because a person with knowledge of the theater and fighting strategies of the enemy can ensure that commanders in training are tested to their full potential.
Thales are planning a third generation battlelab which will improve on the current systems and will be constructed as the Manor Royal site is renovated.