With the growing risk worldwide of chemical and radiological threat within both military and civilian settings, there is an increasing need for a high quality and cost-effective means of incorporating support for CBRN and HazMat Hazards into existing training systems.
While in some cases, CBRN Hazard capability can be achieved by standalone technology (such as the wide-area, instrumented training system PlumeSIM,) in other situations it can be helpful for users to be able to simulate a scenario that replicates a combination of hazards that includes, but is not necessarily limited to, specific CBRN threats. In such circumstances too, it can also be preferable for users to be able to incorporate any additional CBRN hazard capability into their own existing simulation system.
This was the exciting opportunity facing Argon and independent software developer eSim Games, the creators of the vehicle-centric combined arms combat simulation and crew procedure training tool Steel Beasts Pro, when an existing Steel Beasts Pro user expressed a desire to incorporate Argon's CBRN simulation capability within exercises and a wish to see a concept demonstrator.
Steel Beasts Pro, currently used by the military in over 10 countries, is a collective military training system that integrates with battlefield management systems,containerised crew simulators and real combat vehicles.eSim Games' and Argons' goal was to be able to incorporate a range of CBRN hazards, including chemical and radiological threats, into the existing Steel Beasts Pro environment.
Recognising this need, and acknowledging that it is not also practical for individual organisations to develop such systems, Argon Electronics created the PlumeSIM API (Application Programme Interface.)
Argon's PlumeSIM API is a software component that enables the PlumeSIM training system to be interfaced to a third party, Live and Virtual simulation system and to import and display CBRN plumes in real-time.
This added capability means trainees using Steel Beasts Pro can, with further development, recognise and respond to CBRN hazards, with all of the information presented in a compatible and seamless format within their own in-service simulation system.
Because the PlumeSIM API interface is bidirectional, there is the potential for the plumes to be able to respond to any specific meteorological condition that is applied within the Steel Beasts Pro simulation. Similarly too, it would also possible to determine a participant's current and cumulative exposure to the hazards, based upon their position and route. The exposure can then be reported to Steel Beasts Pro which can apply a suitable Damaged/Disabled status and display an animated response within the simulation.
Nils Hinrichsen, Director of eSim Games commented “(We are) excited to see this expansion of functionality. We have always been interested in cooperation with industry partners, and this looks like a perfect example where both partners and our customers will gain a lot through cooperation. The market is eager for a quality solution at an affordable price tag which exposes combat troops in their scenarios to incidents involving chemical and radiological threats. We have just demonstrated that we are ready to deliver such a solution.”
Argon has also used the PlumeSIM API as a core component in the development of a fully compliant High Level Architecture/Distributed Interactive Simulator (HLA/DIS) interface, which is a standard for communication between simulation systems hosted on multiple platforms.
As Argon founder Steven Pike explained, “This was an interesting project and once again demonstrated the flexibility of PlumeSIM and our ability to cooperate with third party vendors to provide customers with an effective training capability.
This integration will enable further CBRN/HazMat training capabilities to be developed for Steel Beasts in both the virtual reality and by interfacing physical Argon’s simulator and augmented reality environment,” he said.