New simulator policy seeks to cut defence training costs, preserve military gear
The defence ministry on Thursday came out with a policy for enhanced utilisation of simulators by armed forces to impart safe and cost-effective realistic training while preserving expensive equipment.
The policy seeks to reduce live equipment utilisation, ensure capability plans cater for phased induction of simulators, factor in the requirement of simulators when procurements are planned and create a coordination mechanism among various agencies for a combined purchase of simulators, the ministry said in a statement.
The use of simulation is expected to reduce defence spending when military budgets are under pressure because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.
From infantry weapons to air defence systems and tanks to fighter jets, simulators play a critical role in providing training to military personnel in realistic scenarios without exposing them to operational equipment.
Welcoming the new policy, former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd) said simulators are an effective way to analyse the prowess of trainees and keep honing their skills without resorting to heavy expenditure on complex operational equipment.
“Factoring in that the availability of firing ranges, along with other training infrastructure, is shrinking, men should be trained on simulators and practical on-ground training can follow. All-weather training is the biggest advantage of simulators,” Jaswal said.
He added that while simulators have their own benefits, they cannot offset training on actual platforms.
The ministry’s statement said the aim of the policy is to transform to simulation-based training across all military domains to achieve cost-effective, safe and smart training. “The emphasis will be indigenous design and development of simulators, with outsourcing of operation and maintenance of simulators by Indian companies,” the statement said.
It added that the plan was to switch to simulation-based training across all domains for combatants, leaders, maintainers, administrators, life science experts and, procurement and financial agencies.
A detailed action plan with assigned responsibilities will soon be issued to all the constituents of the defence ministry and industrial associations for adequate use of simulators by the three services and the coast guard.
The Indian agencies involved in the development, production and maintenance of simulators will be engaged by the armed forces to ensure the highest level of indigenisation in the production, deployment and maintenance of the equipment, officials familiar with the matter said.
“The policy will be applicable to all types of simulators in use/to be procured. Avenues of application of simulation technology will be constantly explored to achieve a high level of operational preparedness while reducing expenditure on training and preserving the life of equipment,” the ministry said.