Exercise Virtual Scout 2017

The Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle’s (TAPV) engine roared in the headset of its driver. The TAPV is a new type of 20 ton armoured car that just entered service in the Canadian Army. The TAPV is crewed by three soldiers: driver, gunner, and crew commander, and can transport an additional 3 soldiers.  It is armed with automatic grenade launcher that can accurately fire grenades out to 1.5 kilometers at a rate of 350 per minute.

But at Mewata Armoury during the weekend of January 14-15, 2017, the roar of the engine was a virtual simulation being played out on a network of computers in downtown  Calgary. Exercise VIRTUAL SCOUT 2017 was the first training exercise of the new year for the King’s Own Calgary Regiment.  The King’s Own used the Virtual Battle Simulator 3 (VBS 3) software by Bohemia Interactive Simulations as part of their workup training for armoured vehicle crews. VBS 3 is the military-grade simulator the ARMA 3 computer wargame was derived from. The system is designed to allow soldiers to practice their crew battle drills in a virtual environment before going to the field to practice in real vehicles. VBS 3 challenges individual drivers and gunners up to squadron commanders to apply the skills they have been taught or be defeated by the simulated enemy.

VBS 3 is versatile, implementing realistic world effects and physics to bring about a more immersive and polished simulator that encompasses aspects from training that would have normally occurred in the field. The application enables troops to practice drills before applying them in real world conditions. The simulator is also cost-effective as it allows gunners to become experts at their drills without wasting real ammunition, and crews to become effective teams before live training exercises and future deployments.

After familiarizing themselves with the mechanics of the simulator, 1 Troop ‘A’ Squadron King’s Own conducted zone and route reconnaissance operations in the simulator. The Troop scouted several virtual bridges and villages that were vital to the larger Canadian Battle Group’s plans. Along the way, the simulation tested the Troop’s battle drills against enemy armoured reconnaissance and tanks. The Troop reported to the Squadron Headquarters on key terrain features, obstacles, potential routes, and the enemy’s locations, so the virtual Canadian Battle Group could adapt its plans based on current information. ‘A’ Squadron also practiced operating jointly with other armoured forces in executing a guard operation against an opposing battle group. The task allowed members of the King’s Own to practice how to effectively employ anti-armour missile vehicles in combat operations, emphasizing fundamentals such as manoeuvre and mutual fire support.

Exercise VIRTUAL SCOUT provided a realistic foundation to the Regiment’s armoured crew training, but it doesn’t replace field training, it just helps crews to be better and able to take on more complex tasks when they take their real armoured vehicles to the field. The King’s Own Calgary Regiment is recruiting part-time soldiers. If our training interests you, visit our recruiting web page.  We have a seat for you!