Guardiaris, a highly innovative high-tech Slovenian company, is specialized in the production of custom-designed training solutions. After developing training systems on behalf of Dynamit Nobel Defence, for whom they still exclusively produce simulations, Guardiaris was launched as an OEM company in 2006 with a request from the Slovenian Army for an indoor tank simulator. To date, they have developed and fielded bespoke training systems for ground troops. This small group of exceptionally motivated and skilled experts became a trendsetter in the field of simulator trainers.

First-ever Laser-less Simulator Trainers

The patented SAS Module, a small device, mounted on the Picatinny rail of any modified real weapon or weapon replica, is enabling the first laser-less solution on the market. The SAS module gathers shooter data at an incredible level of efficiency and accuracy based on exact and constant tracking of all movements of weapon and helmet simultaneously. At the same time, it introduces cordless training that enables full freedom of movement of trainees within theatre without any additional gear needed.

The New AAR: Cognitive Load Assessment

Beside detailed data on weapon positioning and orientation, shooter’s movements, shot and recoil detection, and exact ballistics on long distances, The SAS Module enables the users with another interesting feature. Guardiaris has implemented a unique methodology for training and assessing ground-based soldiers involving capture of trainee behavior and stress levels during an exercise. To do so, the simulation system is tracking movements and eye-gaze time, so the instructor gets full information about trainees’ skills.

“What is the laser? A point on the wall,”not information that an instructor or trainee can use for better understanding of its skills, said Radovan Sernec, Head of R&D at Guardiaris. “A camera is reading where you hit, and this is it. So, we decided several years ago to bypass the era of lasers, and we put a lot of research into the IR development. We project on a screen an invisible pattern based on which we know exactly where the soldier’s focus is, how his weapon is moving, and its orientation.”

The trainee-centered data is all fed into what Guardiaris calls the “ultimate After-Action Review,” including options for instant analysis and personalization of training plans. “Training and learning methods should follow characteristics of each generation. Today, young conscripts’ learning is triggered by kinaesthetic and visual stimulus. That’s why we created cutting-edge game engine visual simulation, biometrics data capture, and cognitive load analysis to ‘train the brain’ of these new-age warriors. When you are able to show them actual video replay of their mistakes, they will immediately perceive the message. Much, much faster, than with words. That’s why the advanced AAR is so important to us. It shortens the learning cycle immensely,“ explained Primož Peterca, Guardiaris CEO.

GUARD Game Engine with AI

The simulation scenarios are driven by GUARD, the company’s own 3D game engine, developed in-house. It enables extremely fast terrain data integration, using standardized real-world DEM (digital elevation models). The game engine also features accurate weapon ballistics and vehicle operation, as well as dynamic weather and time-of-day lighting and incorporates artificial intelligence and full High Level Architecture (HLA) interoperability.

A Suite of Trainers for Soldier Readiness

Throughout the years, Guardiaris created a whole set of trainers for the optimum marksmanship or tactical training:

SATT – Small Arms Tactical Trainer – This easy-to-construct indoor trainer can form a projection wall up to 300o using standalone and curved screens. The visual feedback is augmented with aural cues from a special sound floor which emulates physical ‘shock’ factors of battlefield conditions. Synthetic environments provide weapon and projectile feedback for marksmanship and tactical training. SATT can also be integrated with other Guardiaris simulators such as MVTT, IMOT, AFOT and MATS to support exercises.

MATS – MANPATS Trainer – This lightweight, transportable trainer can simulate any man-portable anti-tank system and control station, including RGW90, RGW60, PZF3, RPG-7, and RR84. It enables training of target identification and elimination at various

distances and visibility, simulation of customer-specific combat tactics, procedures and techniques, and exact ballistics and damage effects based on type of warhead (HH, HE, HEAT, ASM, LRMP, etc.) and target hit. MATS also has a smart model switching mechanism, enabling different and multiple weapon models to be used in one system.

MMVT – Multipurpose Military Vehicle Trainer – Featuring exact replicas of a vehicle crew’s working environment, drivers, gunners and commanders are immersed in a 360o synthetic environment, which mirrors real-world and battlefield conditions. Controls, switches and gauges are physically replicated to ensure development of proper muscle memory for trainees. Realistic vehicle movement over various terrain surfaces and vibration is produced by a 3DoF/6DoF motion platform. RWS-agnostic, the MMVT can be customized for any type of 4x4, 6x6, 8x8 wheeled vehicle or Remote Weapon Station type.

AFOT – Artillery Forward Observer Trainer – This portable indoor or outdoor trainer is designed for interactive training in target detection, fire requests, fire organization and fire direction activities based on STANAG 2934 and 2484. Realistic synthetic environments include meteorological and day/night parameters affecting visibility and ballistics calculation. The AFOT trains up to three soldiers per session at company level, with scalability up to FSE battalion level with JFO for naval and air support.

IMOT – Indoor Mortar Trainer – Simulation of real ammunition (size, balance, weight, color, fuse type), communication, and handling procedures (fuse setting, propellant ring setting) trains the entire firing cycle. In addition to mortar crew training (possibly scaling up to battery), AFOT and Fire Direction Center training can be performed simultaneously.

MAAT – MANPADS and Aircrew Trainer – A digital twin of real man-portable air-defense systems is Guardiaris’ only outdoor trainer and consists of a faithful physical, mechanical, functional and procedural digital replica of the real weapon. It can be designed as a model of SA-24 or FIM-92 Stinger or other similar systems and is designed for outdoor operation. In addition to the ground operated shooter, aircraft and electronic countermeasures crews (MAWS-equipped aircraft with UV sensors) can be trained to detect and respond to missile alarms triggered by the same MAAT. MAAT was fully tested on a several NATO joint helicopter exercises all over Europe.

New Breakthrough: the FIIST Project

There are numerous large companies which offer small arms simulation training systems; however, when the European Defense Industry Development Program sought a team to develop the innovative Future Integrated Indoor Soldier Training (FIIST) project, they selected a Guardiaris-led consortium of small enterprises with fewer than 500 employees across the four companies

Guardiaris project partners are Instalaza (Zaragoza, Spain), which specializes in anti-tank weapons; audio systems specialists ITEC Tontechnik (Gleisdorf, Austria); and Madritsch Weapon Technology which specializes in machined parts for small arms

(Villach, Austria). They are about 30% of the way through the two-year, almost 2M€ project, awarded the end of June 2021.

The uniqueness of FIIST is that it will train a soldier squad using multiple types of ground-based weapons, including small arms and shoulder-launched weapons, infantry fighting vehicles and remotely operated weaponized system, in the same battle scenario – using digitized simulation weapons replicas. The objective is troop and motorized crew readiness (multi-role, squad-level, and tactical) with user-defined training scenarios while also lowering costs. The prototype project will also yield a qualification procedure for similar simulator systems and FIIST interoperation based on the HLA distributed simulation framework. The Slovenian and Austrian Ministries of Defence will contribute tactics, performance assessment and after-action review metrics.

A Tribe for Warriors

In their social media, Guardiaris refers to their team as a ‘tribe’, showing their great team connectedness and values. The Guardiaris tribe is rapidly growing. Currently, there are about 70 employees, which includes about 20 who have joined in the past year or so. Their vision is to train next-gen soldiers to lead and protect like the ‘native warriors’ of past generations who observed their fathers and steadfastly focused their minds on their singular mission.

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