Chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incidents, by their very nature, are deliberate and malicious acts designed to invoke harm or fear through an intentional attack or threat.
While such events remain thankfully rare, when they do occur there is the vital need for a robust and decisive response.
The continued development of chemical and biological weapons, the re-emergence of Novichok nerve agents and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are all placing unprecedented pressure on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) response capability worldwide.
Effective chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threat detection relies on ensuring that response personnel are fully confident in the use of their operational equipment before they step foot into a real-life hazardous situation.
While essential knowledge can of course be gradually acquired through exposure to live incidents, the ability to handle vital CBRN detection equipment, and to interpret the readings that are obtained, is not something that can simply be 'picked up on the job.'
Preparing for the possibility of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack on British soil is something that has taken a back seat over the last couple of decades, with the UK's military efforts being largely focused on CBRN concerns in the Arab Gulf and Syria.
But as David Oliver outlined in an article for the Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Warfare magazine CBNW earlier this year, that focus had to be rapidly redirected in March 2018 in response to the Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
As the world continues to grapple with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussion has inevitably turned to the threat to global military capability, both in the short-term and further down the line.
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, we saw the scaling back, the postponement and the temporary suspension of a number of military operations - including the cancellation of joint exercises, a reduction in provision of basic training and the repositioning of troops into a larger number of smaller bases.
Military organisations worldwide face the ongoing challenge of training against a multitude of emerging, complex and increasingly unpredictable chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.
Effective and cohesive CBRN response relies on substantial planning and preparation that takes into account the wide variety of detection, response and recovery phases of an incident.
Argon Electronics will be among the global CBRNe and HazMat professionals at the eleventh annual CBRNe Convergence which takes place in Orlando, Florida, from November 6th to 8th, 2018.
This year's event brings together leading world experts in the fields of WMD, chemical attacks, biological weapons and HazMat - with the programme of activities tying together on the theme of the merging of military and civilian response to CBRNe and IED threats.
With the increasing prevalence of the use of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) in conflicts, the need for hands-on training in the use of detector equipment is even more crucial in ensuring that military personnel are able to respond quickly, safely and effectively to live incidents.
An ideal way to achieve operational readiness is to provide realistic training exercises that use detector simulators and software to demonstrate the nature, challenges and unpredictability of the threats and the environments that soldiers may be exposed to.
The primary task of a CBRN reconnaissance vehicle crew is to confirm the presence of a potential chemical warfare agent (CWA) and to report that information to their command structure for analysis.
The intelligence that a crew provides to its Cell Controller is crucial in enabling senior officers to make mission-critical decisions on where, or where not, to deploy their forces within a battle space.
A CBRN reconnaissance vehicle creates a cocoon of relative 'safety' for its crew. But it is also a challenging environment in which to operate.
The vehicles can be cramped and uncomfortable, there is the risk of exposure to toxic hazards, the danger of direct attack by enemy forces, and the potential for the malfunctioning of the vehicle's Collective Protection (COLPRO) system.
For these reasons, simulator training for CBRN reconnaissance vehicles can have a vital role to play in providing CBRN personnel with the most realistic - and safe - training experiences possible.
In this blog post we explore the role of simulators in CBRN reconnaissance vehicle field training and we discuss the features of the four primary simulator training options currently available.