Saab launches new version of its BattleTek simulation training system


Saab Grintek Defence has launched the latest version of its command and control simulation training system, BattleTek 5, at the International Forum for the Military Simulation, Training and Education Community (ITEC) in the Netherlands.

Saab said the latest version was launched at the event in Rotterdam on 16 May. “BattleTek 5 is a constructive simulation system designed to make the work of military commanders and civil security leaders more efficient and effective,” the company said. Constructive simulation is one of three major types of simulation, the others being live simulation and virtual simulation.

It combines constructive simulation and virtual-view technology to train and rehearse complex defence and security scenarios – in any environment – at the fraction of the cost of a regular training exercise.
“This unmatched technology will significantly reduce the costs of battle training simulation. Saab can achieve a higher level of training for as little as one to two percent of the cost of live training exercises,” said JC van Schalkwyk, executive manager of Product Unit Training and Simulation at Saab Grintek Defence.
“BattleTek 5 significantly cuts down what can usually be a ten-day mission to a fraction of the time. Trainees not only gain applied experience in a virtual environment, but also build confidence in particular situations,” says van Schalkwyk.

The commander can direct simulated forces and view the virtual representation using Oculus Rift virtual glasses. Existing constructive simulation platforms do not have this ability to view the virtual battle field, hence the cumbersome exercise of deploying real live troops, Saab said.

While the previous version of the system only allowed for viewing of assets by means of tactical map symbols, BattleTek 5 offers a more realistic, visible experience than before, by using hologram technology, amongst others, and allowing the integration of any command and control systems, such as Saab’s Chaka. BattleTek generates the opposing force which is controlled by a couple of operators.

Other simulation systems can also be incorporated into BattleTek, such as such as Bohemia Interactive Systems’ Virtual Battle Space 3 (VBS 3).
“It is important to note that the system is not only designed for military use,” van Schalkwyk added. “We have used it successfully in preparation for events where civil security is needed, for example a major sporting event, where multi-departmental emergency scenarios needed to be planned and exercised.”

Saab Grintek Defence has developed the PeaceTek and EventTek derivatives, which simulate peacekeeping and military operations other than war respectively. EventTek has been used in support of sporting events such as the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and allows police, firefighters, emergency services etc. to participate.

BattleTek was developed originally for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in 1995, and has been continuously upgraded since. It can be integrated with other simulation systems across the world, as long as they are both High Level Architecture (HLA) compatible.

The South African Army is using BattleTek IV, which has been used to support multinational command exercises in South Africa. A BattleLab trial in South Africa in 2014-15 saw the integration of BattleTek IV, Virtual Battlespace 3, Chaka and Saab’s laser-based Gamer live training system. Training was carried at the School of Infantry at Oudtshoorn, the School of Armour at Bloemfontein, and the Army College in Pretoria.

BattleTek has been exported – for instance the Malaysian Army received the system in 2011.