Cybicom Atlas Defence (CAD) unveiled its Ship’s Bridge Simulator advanced concept demonstrator at a South African Navy/industry simulator symposium earlier this month.
Dave Viljoen, Managing Director of CAD, said the simulator would not replace those at the civilian South African Maritime Training Academy (Samtra), also based in Simon’s Town.
“Samtra is a ship keeping simulator with very high fidelity ship models. This is not designed for that, this is for the combat guys,” Viljoen said.
The bridge simulator developed by CAD is an advanced concept demonstrator with a number of advanced features.
The simulator includes the latest version of the CAD Compact Tactical Aid (CTA), a simplified Command and Control system. The CTA is designed to facilitate the overall control and situational awareness of Navy boats in patrol, boarding, hydrographic, mine countermeasures, marine/riverine, commando, torpedo recovery, diver support and search and rescue roles. It allows for boat movement, boat track and event reporting back to the ship or HQ concerned. Basic own force information updates can also be provided to the boat’s commander. The CTA can also be fitted with an optional proprietary Data Link, and can be LINK ZA and SANDF CNIS compatible where possible and appropriate.
A simulated Propulsion Display reflects the propulsion system parameters in real time as supplied by the Bridge Simulator ship model. The Propulsion Display can be upgraded to include the full set of Integrated Platform Management System controls.
The simulated Conning Display presents various navigation and sensor data necessary for command of the ship. The Conning Display can be customised to include a large variety of sensor information.
A bespoke, simulated Radar Display includes zoom and azimuth speed adjustment with upgradable options to import and overlay bitmap images of the terrain and geospatial data from shape files.
The simulator is driven from an instructor station using Presagis Stage as a core for the modelling. Viljoen explained this allows for powerful scenario simulation for multiple land, sea and air targets. Each platform has the effective ranges and detection probabilities for the various sensors and effectors calculated in real time.
CAD is not new to supplying the SA Navy with simulators. A submarine combat information centre (incorporating a Periscope Simulator) and engineering test bed was officially handed over to the Navy in April this year.
Captain (SAN) Chris Manig, a member of the SAN Simulation Workgroup, noted the use of simulators was gaining increased importance within the Navy. During his presentation to the symposium, Manig noted that acquisition of a Bridge Simulator had been given a high priority.
The Bridge Simulator integrates with the latest version of the Periscope Simulator, the Helicopter Flight Deck Trainer Simulator and the Helicopter Flight Simulator already developed by CAD. The major advantage of using a common tool set for multiple simulators is that terrain data and detailed models can be re-used for every simulator. When new updates or enhancements are made they are filtered through to every simulator at no additional cost.
The concept demonstrator was completed in less than three months, which includes the design and construction of the consoles and bridge controls. The intention of the demonstrator is for both the South African Navy and CAD to learn and enhance the final requirements for an integrated bridge simulator.
Both the simulated Propulsion Display and Conning Display was developed using Presagis VAPS XT, a software package marketed by Cybicom (Africa) Technologies, joint owner of Cybicom Atlas Defence with Atlas Elektronik of Germany.
The bridge simulator can be integrated with the Thales Command Team Trainer (CTT), which uses an older version of the Presagis Stage tool. The South African Navy already owns the tools (purchased during the Periscope Simulator acquisition) required to generate models and terrain data.