Synthetic training simulates real world experience

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author), LSIS Christopher Szumlanski (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Watson, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Watson, Exercise VIKING RAIDER

Commanding Officer HMAS Parramatta Commander Troy Van Tienhoven (left); Commander Surface Force Commodore Stephen Hughes (second left); Captain Sea Training Captain David Landon (centre); Flight Commander HMAS Parramatta Lieutenant Commander Damian Liberale (second right) and Head of Maritime Warfare Commander Anthony Nagle during the Exercise VIKING RAIDER 2019 warfare simulation held at HMAS Watson, NSW. (photo: LSIS Chris Szumlanski)
Commanding Officer HMAS Parramatta Commander Troy Van Tienhoven (left); Commander Surface Force Commodore Stephen Hughes (second left); Captain Sea Training Captain David Landon (centre); Flight Commander HMAS Parramatta Lieutenant Commander Damian Liberale (second right) and Head of Maritime Warfare Commander Anthony Nagle during the Exercise VIKING RAIDER 2019 warfare simulation held at HMAS Watson, NSW.

An important aspect of training to fight and win at sea is the ability for Navy units and personnel to develop skills and test process in a simulated environment without the restrictions of the real world.

For the second time this year, the Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy have conducted a synthetic warfighting exercise, this one known as Exercise VIKING RAIDER 2019.

The objective of the exercise was for ships and personnel to train against an adversary in a realistic threat situation.

VIKING RAIDER 19 was a week-long exercise conducted at the Navy Synthetic Warfighting Centre at HMAS Watson in Sydney.

Units included the Combat Operations team from HMAS Parramatta, working with similar teams from the Guided Missile Cruiser USS Shiloh and the Guided Missile Destroyer USS Benfold, which is home-ported in Japan.

For the first time, a US Navy MH-60R helicopter simulator also contributed to the exercise, linked in from Naval Air Station Atsugi in Japan.

Captain Pete Bartlett, Director of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Force Generation Division, said the inclusion was valuable. 

“It allowed operators to train with air assets in the virtual space, increasing the realism of the service provided by the helicopter,” he said.

Commanding Officer HMAS Parramatta Commander Troy Van Tienhoven (left); Commander Surface Force Commodore Stephen Hughes (second left); Captain Sea Training Captain David Landon (centre); Flight Commander HMAS Parramatta Lieutenant Commander Damian Liberale (second right); and Head of Maritime Warfare Commander Anthony Nagle during the Exercise VIKING RAIDER warfare simulation held at HMAS Watson, NSW.

Commanding Officer HMAS Parramatta Commander Troy Van Tienhoven (left); Commander Surface Force Commodore Stephen Hughes (second left); Captain Sea Training Captain David Landon (centre); Flight Commander HMAS Parramatta Lieutenant Commander Damian Liberale (second right); and Head of Maritime Warfare Commander Anthony Nagle during the Exercise VIKING RAIDER warfare simulation held at HMAS Watson, NSW.

The exercise aims to prepare the teams for high tempo operations covering all facets of planning, command and control, force manoeuvring, surface to air coordination, anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike and interdiction.

These scenarios are designed to improve Royal Australian Navy to US Navy interoperability and the ability to conduct Surface Action Group level operations.

Captain Bartlett said synthetic training was an important enabler for the Navy’s warfighting capability.

“And, it’s one we will continue to develop and build upon,” he said. 

Through the Viking Series of exercises, the Royal Australian Navy continues to develop its ability to integrate simulated Australian air and surface assets with its US Navy partners in a complex virtual warfighting environment.