August 12, 2021 – Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), a developer of advanced military simulation and training software, has today announced that it has been subcontracted by Cole Engineering Services Inc. (CESI) to deliver significant components of the US Army’s next generation of collective training technology.
CESI recently announced it had been awarded a Training Simulation Software/Training Management Tools (TSS/TMT) contract by the US Army. The total value of the TSS/TMT contract awarded to CESI stood at USD $179 million. BISim stated that CESI plans to utilize all three of BISim’s primary immersive simulation and visualization products (VBS4, VBS Blue IG and VBS World Server) as part of the overall TSS/TMT solution.
According to BISim, The US Army’s Synthetic Training Environment (STE), of which TSS/TMT supplies the central software capabilities, will allow units and leaders to conduct “realistic, multi-echelon and multi-domain combined arms maneuver and mission command, live, collective training anywhere in the world.” TSS/TMT will also converge live, virtual and constructive capabilities in a single interface. Military leaders and instructors will be able to set up complex virtual battles, coordinating with thousands of AI-powered allies, and fighting against artificially intelligent or instructor-controlled adversaries, with realistic AI behaviors and at theater-wide scale. Soldiers will also be able to repeat these training missions many times over, facing new challenges that will help them to better prepare for live training and enhance their readiness for operations.
Terrain data will draw from STE’s One World Terrain (OWT) data and soldiers will interact either through PC-based soldier stations or through STE’s Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainers. The STE will facilitate quick set up, comprehensive after action review of exercises and an intelligent tutor capability, and will lead to more realistic, more targeted and ultimately more impactful training and mission rehearsal. The delivered system will be the most advanced and most comprehensive training capability in the military world, encapsulating the ambitious vision of the US Army’s STE Cross Functional Team and combining the talents and software of a number of cutting-edge military-focused companies including CESI and BISim.
Essentially, the STE sounds like an extremely large-scale multi-user combat simulation platform – think something similar to the Arma series of military sim sandbox games perhaps, or the Battlefield FPS game series (only more serious and on steroids).
Funnily enough, the Arma games are actually developed by a studio called ‘Bohemia Interactive‘. however, BISim and Bohemia Interactive are completely separate businesses, and have been since BISim was acquired by Riverside in January 2013 (about eight months before Arma 3 came out). So, it is important to note that this is NOT the US Army sinking millions of dollars into developing a FPS training game – but there certainly appear to be similarities between BISim’s platform and the Arma sandbox series (which are arguably the closest thing that consumers/gamers can get to an actual military simulation program) – at least in style and environment design anyway. However, since publication, a spokesperson for BISim has highlighted that the company has no commercial links or ongoing business relationships with Bohemia Interactive.
Footage from BISim’s VBS4 platform gives some insight into what the US Army’s STE will be able to offer.
BISim states that its whole-earth virtual and constructive VBS simulation capabilities will be integrated with TSS/TMT. The company’s ‘World Server’ technology will be utilized in the Army’s TSS/TMT to ingest OWT format into the TSS/TMT environment, providing soldiers the ability to train and rehearse on realistic virtual terrains. VBS Blue IG, BISim’s 3D whole-earth image generator (IG), is already providing high-fidelity visuals and usage of BISim’s IG will also be expanded to STE through TSS/TMT.
BISim’s VBS Blue IG product has been used to support the STE’s ‘Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Trainer’ (RVCT) Air and Ground efforts and the company’s World Server technology is the core of the cloud-enabled STE World Server (STEWS) middleware used in the Army’s One World Terrain (OWT) project.
“BISim has invested tens of millions of dollars in upgrading and modularizing our technology in anticipation of STE-type requirements, and VBS4 already supports all of the Army’s Games for Training capabilities, representing over one hundred US Army-specific training uses,” said BISim CEO, Arthur Alexion. “We are excited to bring BISim’s products and technical expertise in support of prime contractor CESI to jointly deliver the US Army’s next generation of virtual combat training technology in 2025.”
BISim noted that its involvement with STE has been “substantial and ongoing”, with the TSS/TMT subcontract being the company’s 9th STE-related contract award. For more information on BISim and its virtual training environments, please visit the company’s website.
Image / video credit: BISim / YouTube