Transformation and reequipping the Brazilian armed forces, following the publication of the National Defense Strategy in 2008, has led to the rationalization of the training process and encouraged the use of simulators in training the military. Colonel Paulo Eduardo and Lieutenant Colonel Sérgio Simas Lopes Peres describe the situation.
According to the World Bank, Brazil is the world´s seventh wealthiest economy, and has the potential to grow. It has the fifth largest territorial extension and the fifth largest population, and the country is blessed with huge mineral reserves, including high-value products for technological development, such as niobium, uranium and oil, besides iron ore and a great ability to produce food, especially soybeans and beef, among other products. In 2008 the National Defense Strategy (END), recognised that Brazil, with its political and economic stability, enjoyed a “distinguished position in the international scenario” and required a new posture in terms of Defense.
The END focuses on middle and long term strategic actions, and aims at modernizing the national defense structure, acting upon three structuring axes: reorganization of the Armed Forces, the restructuring of the Brazilian defense industry, and the troop requirements policy for the Armed Forces.
To meet restructuring needs, new products were created such as the defense VBTP-MR Guarani, the EC725 helicopter, new ocean patrol boats and aircrafts, and the aircraft KC 390 – all with training requirements. In addition, the participation of Brazilian troops in missions under the aegis of the United Nations, among which stand out MINUSTAH and UNIFIL, both under the command of Brazilian officials, stressed the importance of training for the efficient fulfillment of their duties.
In 2009, the Ministry of Defense structured a working group to extend and standardize the use of simulators in the Armed Forces. In 2010, this group standardized the process of integrating simulators, encouraging the exchange of experiences between the military working with simulators. As a practical consequence, rules have been defined for the acquisition of some types of simulators that can have common use, especially shooting simulators, driving simulators, helicopter simulators, tactical engagement simulators, antiaircraft guns simulators and others, creating a market demand for the simulators suppliers.
The Brazilian military participation in international fairs and conferences, such as I/ITSEC, ITEC, LAAD and FIDAE, besides visits to simulation centers in various countries, has allowed Brazilians to access new technologies and simulation methods, and seek to apply such tools in training scenarios.
The Brazilian Army uses simulators made in Brazil in training its helicopter pilots at the Army Aviation Training Center, possessing reconnaissance and maneuver aircraft simulators. The Center is finishing the development of the new “full flight simulator” for reconnaissance helicopters.
The acquisition of tanks Leopard 1 A5 from Germany included the entire training system for drivers, gunners and mechanics using simulators, besides the equipment for vehicle dueling simulation.
Since 1990, the Brazilian Army has employed different constructive simulation systems with national development in the training of commanders and their staffs and, since 1995, engagement simulation systems have been used at the Evaluation Training Center, maintaining the readiness and deterrence of the Strategic Action Forces.
The use of simulators for rocket artillery and engineering units training is done in their respective instruction centers. The simulation is managed by the Ground Operations Command, in charge of the preparation and use of Brazilian Ground Force.
More recently, the Brazilian Army transformation process has encouraged the debate about the use of simulation including the implementation of the Simulation and Military Technology Workshop in 2011 and 2012 in Brasília-DF, with an exhibition of Brazilian and foreign simulation companies and a conference with several experts. The event allowed the military and the decision makers to know in detail the possibilities of the use of simulation in training and its contribution to the troop’s preparation.
The Brazilian Navy has developed simulators for the training of ships crews, enabling them to carry out all necessary activities for the operation of warships. The constructive naval warfare simulator is employed in the training and instruction of the captains and senior officers at the Naval War College. The Marine Corps has live and virtual simulators for crews and has a constructive simulator for the training of commanders and staffs. Most of the Navy´s simulators were developed by the Naval Systems Analysis Center (CASNAV) and the Instruction Center Admiral Sylvio de Camargo (CIASC), alone or in partnership with Brazilian research centers.
The Brazilian Navy is also acquiring new vessels, as ocean patrol vessels, frigates and support ships to retool its surface force. The nuclear submarine project (PROSUB) is another important project that is being developed.
According to Rear Admiral Almir Garnier Santos, director of Brazil’s Center for Naval Analysis, the biggest simulation challenge faced by the Brazilian Navy stems from the country’s nuclear submarine program, which plans to launch its first operational nuclear submarine around 2021.
“We have conquered the phases of uranium producing and all the fuel needs that we will have, but we still have major challenges in the construction area and on the training of the crew,” The admiral said “That’s because a nuclear power plant is very serious business and you can’t train people on the real thing. So we really need to develop good simulators for something we have not been able to experience before.”
The greatest challenge to the Brazilian Navy is to develop the submarine and on parallel to develop the tools that will train the sailors that will handle the ship he said. Other simulation applications are being envisioned to help the Brazilian Navy in its myriad riverine and ocean mission scenarios, as well as operations related to protecting the country’s coast and conducting search and rescue operations and coordinating oil spill response operations over large areas.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has flight simulators for pilots training, as well as for the Super Tucano´s fighters, A1 and F5. These simulators were developed by Brazilian and foreign companies, and the FAB has ability to change and develop scenarios for these synthetic simulators.
Military simulation in Brazil is booming. New devices are being purchased and three training centers are being created by the Army. These centers will encompass the fields of education, tactical training simulation, virtual simulators for armored vehicles, constructive simulation centers for commanders and staffs training, and the new virtual simulator for Artillery units being developed by a Spanish company in partnership with the Brazilian Army.
The project of the new 6x6 armoured vehicle VBTP-MR Guarani, scheduled to enter in service by 2015, includes the acquisition of simulators for each version of the vehicle: drivers, commanders, gunners, personnel carrier, reconnaissance, ambulance, workshop, among others. These simulators will be installed at the 33 mechanized units and training centers. The Instruction Center of Armored Vehicles shall receive virtual simulators to train companies and battalions.
The Army is modernizing the use of constructive simulation and, to do so, has purchased a new constructive system with artificial intelligence and adaptive to the Brazilian military doctrine for use in defense, assessment, crisis management and public safety, aiming the country´s preparation for hosting major sporting events, such as FIFA World Cup and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The demand for training simulators for the military and big Brazilian companies as Petrobras, Vale, Embraer and others, has allowed companies to allocate time and money to the development of simulation equipment in recent decades.
Brazil had difficulty in the procurement process for the acquisition of simulators caused by the fact that the military did not know what the companies could provide and because companies did not know the Armed Forces needs. This lack of communication and knowledge hindered the development of high-tech products in the field of simulation.
The integration between these actors has allowed some progress so that the Brazilian Simulation Industry grows and become known to potential buyers. The dialog among the companies and the military ensured the participation of Brazil with two booths at I/ITSEC 2012 with entrepreneurs who were unaware of the event and its importance to the simulation market, but at the end of the event everyone has recognized the importance of being seen by the world as alternative providers of simulation systems, know the technologies in use and aggregate that knowledge into their products. In order to facilitate the growth of the Brazilian simulation industrial base, simulation companies have created the Simulation and Technology Committee (CSTA) linked to the Brazilian Association of Industries of Material Security and Defense (ABIMDE).
The military, universities and companies are expanding the use of simulators in the training of their staff, especially once the moment is favorable for the development and acquisition of new equipment for this market. Brazil seeks the empowerment of individuals and companies so the country does not become just a systems buyer, but a reputable business partner in the international simulation market.
About the Authors
Colonel Paulo Eduardo is Head of Combat Simulation Division, Land Operations Command, Brazilian Army and Lieutenant Colonel Sérgio Simas Lopes Peres is a member of the Combat Simulation Division.
Brazilian Simulation & Training Companies
This list of companies that are involved in the development and/or the production of S&T hardware and software is neither complete nor fully exhaustive. There are many Brazilian companies that have the technological capabilities and creativity to supply products and services, but so far they have done so only on a domestic level. Much of what has been achieved in the field of S&T up to now was done under the direct supervision and control of the armed forces. The Brazilian Forces are still the most important driver of new initiatives and the implementation of new products or cooperation, including the involvement of non-Brazilian companies.
Adventure Tech focuses on technological solutions for the immersion, interaction and projection of events of all types.
ANACOM offers simulators and software for trainers and simulation systems.
ATECH, a strategic partner of Embraer Defence and Security, develops flight control software for complex systems.
DECATRON specialises in the design, supply, implementation, management and optimisation of most advanced IT environments.
EBTS (Empresa Brasileira de Treinamento e Simulação) develops “low-cost/high-fidelity” simulators for defence, public safety and private security. It claims to have the technology and capability to develop any kind of simulator.
E-Fly has considerable experience in developing CBT and complete flight simulators. The company developed and produced the CBT for the Embraer Super Tucano aircraft as well as the simulators for the aircraft.
Eurosoft develops electronic communication programs and provides e-Fly, software for the training of aircraft pilots.
LatinMedia International develops simulators and provides solutions for the integration of C2 systems.
ONIRIA develops high-fidelity visualisation and simulation software, and has produced virtual training for leading Brazilian companies, e.g. PETROBRAS, the biggest Brazilian energy company.
OPENCADD is the sole distributor of MathWorks products in Brazil.
Spectra, a company that focuses on the automotive sector, has developed a Full-Flight Simulator for the T-28A Fennec together with the Brazilian Army.
TECNOBIT BRASIL, a subsidiary of the Spanish TECNOBIT, offers a wide range of training solutions for aeronautical, naval and terrestrial platforms.
Only recently the French MASA Group announced that the Brazilian Army had signed a contract for the acquisition of the company’s SWORD constructive simulation software. An essential criterion in choosing SWORD was its capability of easily being customized and adapted to the Brazilian military doctrine. Another important aspect was the software’s ability to train emergency preparedness within the context of large-scale events such as the FIFA Football World Cup or the Olympic Games. MASA’s domestic partner is DECATRON.
The Swedish Saab Training & Simulation is firmly established in Brazil, where it is delivering live training systems. Saab is a trusted partner of the Brazilian Army and Navy and the company has provided instrumented simulation systems for infantry training. On top of a contract for combat training for the Brazilian Army, at the end of 2007 and in 2012 Saab delivered antitank weapons and additional infantry training capabilities, including hand grenades and booby traps. In April 2013, Saab signed an MOU with ANACOM to evaluate and support activities regarding the supply of Virtual Training and Simulation Systems for Brazilian customers.
However, as welcome as foreign companies are in Brazil, nothing can be achieved without a Brazilian partner. “We just want to be certain that we always get products and services - particularly during times of crisis,” says Colonel Paulo Eduardo, Head of the Brazilian Army’s Combat Simulation Division within the Comando de OperaçõesTerrestres (COTER). – Walter F. Ullrich