Cubic has begun delivering its new Artillery Mission Training System to the British Army for use with its L118 105mm light gun, which the company says fills a much-needed gap in this type of training that previously lacked an instrumented capability.
Following a 14-month development, the system was contracted in August 2018 with deliveries beginning just one month later. All systems are expected to be delivered to the Royal School of Artillery at Larkhill in Salisbury, UK by the end of the year.
The system instruments an operational artillery system to carry out simulated testing, a capability that did not previously exist, Alastair Parkinson, project manager for LVC at Cubic Defence UK, told MS&T on a visit to Salisbury.
Prior to this, personnel training on artillery systems would mime the procedure of loading the gun and setting the fuse, before moving straight on to live firing training, Parkinson explained. There is more likelihood of there being a training accident that way, he added, leading to more safety training measures being introduced, which in turn make the live firing element less realistic.
Also, miming the procedure is unrealistic: “There were two sides of training, and all of the risk was in the middle,” Parkinson noted.
The system uses an instrumented firing box that fits the same form factor as the operational one. This incorporates wireless long-term evolution (LTE) communications onboard, and the classified live ballistic element is removed during training.
Instrumented charges and training fuses and rounds are used within the system, and a replica sight receives the UK MoD’s VBS software picture.
Parkinson said he is unaware of any other system that can offer this capability, which can be applied to a number of weapons, although the British Army contract currently covers only the light gun: “We wanted to develop a system that was applique to in-service kit, but one that did not impact in-service safety systems,” he said.
The Artillery Mission Training System has also been demonstrated to Australia and Japan; the former has expressed an interest in Cubic’s synthetic wrap system, a contract for which is expected to be signed soon.
Cubic explained that the development of the Artillery Mission Training System is part of its initiative to introduce more of what it dubs “consequential training,” providing operators the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them during simulated events, rather than during live operations when the effects of making a mistake may cause injury or be fatal. - Beth Stevenson