Kongsberg’s K-Sim Fast Craft simulator provides coast guard and security force officers with a new training platform for high-speed operations and tactical training.

The duties of coast guard officers and other maritime security and military forces can include high-speed pursuit, interception and boarding of fleeing vessels in volatile sea conditions. In an occupation where hazardous waters and unpredictable situations often go together, there is zero room for hesitation, indecision, errors of judgement or inadequate preparation.

The coast guard’s role has acquired an additional note of urgency with the global escalation of the terrorism threat. Channel News Asia calculated that the Singapore Police Coast Guard (SPCG) checked 22,000 vessels over the course of a mere five-month period, for example.

Norwegian company Kongsberg Digital (KDI) has responded to calls for the development of fast boat training simulators as a vital aid for tutoring officers in high-speed manoeuvring and interception procedures. Training scenarios for the new the K-Sim Fast Craft simulator include basic and advanced vessel-handling, as well as varying levels of confrontation with smugglers or pirates, including weapons firing.

To provide as realistic an operating environment as possible, control and communications equipment are customisable to match the specification and configuration of different craft used by coast guards and security forces. Other adjustable parameters include sea states, wave interaction, visibility, course, speed and sea traffic, with vessels classifiable as friendly or hostile.

The simulator integrates the visual and physical input of hydrodynamic forces caused by wind and sea currents, enabling trainees to react to detailed environmental conditions. The Fast Craft simulator’s cylindrical, low-radius, visual projection system provides an enveloping field of view (up to a complete 360-degree FOV). The motion platform is capable of replicating the rotational and linear motions of patrol craft, even at high-speed. With hydrodynamic modelling capabilities validated by recorded vessel performance data, and taking distinguishing hull-type characteristics into account, the motion platform directly contributes toward an accurate duplication of the team dynamic aboard a high-speed craft in all situations including pursuit mode, so officers can rehearse implementing split-second decisions as their vessels attain speeds of up to 60 knots (111 kmh).

The simulator can integrate real instrumentation such as displays, controllers and indicators. Replications of multiple firearm types can be integrated. With this capability, officers can undergo in-depth tactical training on weapon engagements in an immersive, hyper-realistic environment.

The simulator can accommodate multiple crew members.

“Presenting this level of functionality may have struck some observers as a tall order, on the face of it,” recalls Lars Klemmetsby, Vice President Business Development Defence, Kongsberg Digital, “but with our extensive experience in developing bespoke K-Sim simulator solutions for a broad range of naval, governmental and commercial clients, we were confident that we have built the most advanced and realistic fast-craft simulator available.”

In October 2018, KDI announced a $21.2 million SGD contract with the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs for four K-Sim Fast Craft tactical boat handling and firing simulators to be delivered by Q1 2020. The delivery will also encompass installation, project management, commissioning, testing, a 10-year maintenance agreement and an integrated logistics service.

When installed, the simulators will constitute the core of a dedicated training facility which will also comprise two briefing/debriefing rooms and two Instructor Operator Stations. The K-Sim Fast Craft instructor, monitoring and assessment system will offer a palette of modifiable objectives and provide automatic recording of training exercises so operators can fine-tune subsequent drills and trainees can receive a comprehensively itemized debriefing following each session.

“Coast guard and naval officers not only need to become fully conversant with the techniques and processes required to confidently take charge of their vessels, but also need to be encouraged to think and act efficiently as a team,” adds Klemmetsby. “It’s a tense and challenging job in a highly changeable setting, in which informed discretion has to be applied when, say, apprehending illegal immigrants or boarding vessels to check for contraband or concealed weaponry, so meticulous training is naturally of the utmost consequence to instil competence and minimise risk.”