For the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry (SNIY), operating under COVID-19 restrictions has opened their eyes to the potential of distributed virtual training. The SNIY is the British Army’s newest combat Regiment. Their main role is as light cavalry using the Jackal light armoured vehicle.
“We’ve been aware of VBS3 as DVS and how the British Army uses it, but we only really started using it because of COVID-19 restrictions,” says Captain Gregor Deeming of E Squadron.
The SNIY recently conducted their first distributed training exercise over the internet via VPN from their homes with soldiers joining from Northern Ireland, Scotland, London and Canada using the UK MOD’s Defence Virtual Simulation (DVS) system (which leverages the power of BISim’s VBS3). Up to 40 soldiers logged on to take part in distributed virtual exercises over the weekend of May 15-17 2020 with 18 of those with VBS-capable systems using DVS and the remainder viewing via live stream. Captain Deeming says that the group worked on individual training as well as Troop Level training on the geotypical Europe map in VBS3.
Many soldiers in the unit were already familiar with first-person shooter games, so picking up DVS (VBS3) for virtual training was an easy transition.
“When we dived into it, we found it was a lot like Arma but so many things are more suited to our roles and easier to replicate in VBS like artillery strikes and close air support,” Captain Deeming says. “The models are very accurate and the range of models is huge, allowing us to effectively go in and learn to work with other multinational forces or do training tasks like vehicle recognition.”
Captain Deeming notes that as a Reserve unit, training virtually with DVS allows members of the unit to practice with equipment that’s harder to train with regularly in field exercises.
“It allows you to do things in training you can’t do regularly in live training like having an operation with artillery or close air support. We can’t replicate that on a regular training night. It also allows the troops to see the effects of a fire mission,” says Captain Deeming. “ It’s a very good complement to live field training and for reservists with limited time.”
Captain Deeming said that the response from troops has been positive: “The troops have really embraced virtual simulation and each lesson we run using DVS we learn more about the benefits it can bring to training. We’re looking at how we can introduce it into more training and are planning more exercises for next month.”
Captain Deeming says that the unit has been “very grateful for the support from Bohemia. The company was very approachable and within hours we were able to get licenses to start getting into DVS.”
BISim is offering free 90-day licenses to customers who are working remotely during COVID-19 restrictions and will support other users looking to conduct distributed virtual simulation training using VBS. For more information contact, [email protected].