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AI and Drones Increasingly Incorporated into Military Training Simulations

by Pieter Werner

Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) is at the forefront of creating some of the most advanced and realistic military training simulations in the world. In a recent interview with Nextgov, BISim Chief Product Officer Pete Morrison discussed how the company’s simulation software has evolved over the past two years, including new capabilities that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) such as drones.

BISim’s primary product is the Virtual Battlespace (VBS) software, a whole-earth visual and constructive simulation that allows military personnel to conduct collective training, rehearse missions, and experiment with various tactics and strategies across land, air, and sea domains. The software has rapidly evolved with user feedback and funding, including improved support for gamepads, streamlined in-game interactions, and physics-based algorithms for sensor simulation that provide the most photo-realistic sensor representation on the market.

BISim has invested heavily in a new terrain platform called Mantle ETM (Enterprise Terrain Management) that provides a high-fidelity digital twin of planet Earth for ingestion into VBS and other connected simulations. Many premier military organizations are also rolling out Mantle ETM to replace their legacy terrain generation processes. BISim is working with industry leaders like Blackshark.ai to deliver the highest possible 3D terrain for simulation, ensuring a realistic environment to support training and mission rehearsal.

BISim’s VBS software products are used for training by hundreds of thousands of military personnel from over 60 NATO and NATO-friendly countries, including the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Canadian Armed Forces, French Army, Bundeswehr, Swedish Armed Forces, Australian Defense Force, and the New Zealand Defense Force. BISim serves and supports a diverse range of military training and simulation use cases, including close air support procedures, driver and gunnery training, and mission rehearsals.

As drones become a standard part of warfare, BISim has been adding new unmanned aerial systems capabilities to VBS based on videos from the war in Ukraine. Tactical drones that can be launched on or just behind the frontline represent a step-change in military tactics that will be as significant as the advent of the modern battle tank or attack helicopter. BISim has added anti-drone weapons and built a range of example scenarios and videos, making VBS the perfect platform to experiment with and train for drone offense and defense.

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