British Army’s UBVT keeps social distancing soldiers sharp

The British Army’s Unit Based Virtual Training (UBVT) has been used to combat the conundrum of effectively sharpening soldiering skills while adhering to strict social distancing measures.

Delivered as a managed service by training and simulation specialist NSC, the technology allowed personnel from 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment to train collectively despite the constraints of operating during the coronavirus crisis.
Run on a network of laptop computers with exercising troops communicating via headsets, the all-arms system negates the need for the close proximity and physical contact commonly associated with traditional field training and other fixed simulation capabilities.
UBVT, which immerses troops in a high-fidelity synthetic environment, was deployed to 1 YORKS base at Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster for a three-week period and saw the Armoured Infantry Battalion’s platoons rotate through a series of virtual exercises without having to travel.
In addition to physically separating participants and the use of personal protective equipment where necessary, a remote exercise control setup was among a raft of safeguarding measures introduced by the Army’s chain of command and NSC to ensure the health of soldiers and directing staff was not put at risk.
“We have rapidly evolved the system’s delivery to enable troops to return to training with confidence during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained UBVT project manager Nick Brown. “Current events highlight the benefits afforded by a means of training that can be delivered at a commander’s point of need and has a minimal logistical burden.
“One of UBVT’s great advantages is that units can rehearse tactics, techniques and procedures without constraints such as the availability of vehicles, training estate or ammunition and concerns over safety, and in this case its flexibility helped to enable collective training that would not otherwise be possible.
“The system can be used at scale – as demonstrated during Exercise Virtual Eagle last year, which saw the largest single deployment of the MoD’s Defence Virtual Simulation to date – but also tailored to service small groups and minimise physical contact.” 
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