Joint Fires Training


The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) sought a simulation system capable of providing collaborative virtual exercises between all members of Joint Fires Support Teams as well as with combat units. The Joint Fire Support Team (JFST) is the connecting element between troops on the ground and fire support from the air, land and sea.

One of the biggest advantages of leveraging VBS3 and VBS IG for the system is that it is quite open and easy for us to adapt to the customers’ specific needs by enriching the built-in simulation models and behaviors.
Achim Vogt, ESG Project Manager

The Bundeswehr selected ESG DEFENCE + PUBLIC SECURITY to deliver this capability at the Artillery School in Idar-Oberstein. The simulator consists of an action trainer, a process trainer, a joint command and evaluation center, and a briefing and debriefing area. It is flexible and can be configured to accommodate trainees of different skill levels. By integrating replica optics, displays and simulated hardware, the system offers realistic training, enabling enhanced readiness for live exercises. It has also proven to be very cost-effective because of its reduced need for administrative staff and the ability to provide different exercises in parallel.

ESG leveraged BISim’s VBS3 and VBS IG products as the simulation and visualization backbone of the system. ESG also used TerraTools (from BISim’s sister company TerraSim) to create several geo-specific and geo-typical terrains, modelled after landscapes used for artillery and combat training by the Bundeswehr.

“A benefit of using ESG’s JFST Trainer is that it’s very cost-effective when compared to training with real aircraft. It also allows the Bundeswehr to rerun the training without the time needed to reset as soldiers would in live training,” said Achim Vogt, ESG Project Manager. “The JFSTT makes it possible to conduct different simulations for low-level training tasks or scale up and combine them all into one big exercise. For instance, three joint fire support teams can train in one mission supporting up to a battalion against an enemy mechanized brigade.”

Within the trainer, the Joint Terminal Attack Controller as part of the JFST can rehearse calls for air support from a position at the front of the virtual battlespace, coordinating with the pilot and calling for direct fire against targets. With one of the pilot stations in the simulator, aircraft can be flown manually or close air support can be planned and carried out automatically using artificial intelligence in VBS3.

The Joint Fire Support Team Trainer enables all relevant JFST procedures to be trained for dismounted as well as mounted forces on the German Army’s armed reconnaissance vehicle Fennek. In the simulation combat area, the driver maneuvers the vehicle through virtual terrain and the crew measures targets with realistic simulations of their equipment. Through a hatch, trainees immerse themselves in the virtual world using a head-mounted display with 360-degree panoramic view.

In dismounted operations, the air-to-ground team makes realistic use of replica devices on a 220-degree dome display with visuals provided by BISim’s image generator software. The JFST Trainer is prepared to connect with other national and international training facilities and will be used for multinational training courses. The part of the simulation system representing the air-ground component of the JFST is also capable of NATO-standardized Forward Air Controller certification.

“One of the biggest advantages of leveraging VBS3 and VBS IG for the system is that it is quite open and easy for us to adapt to the customers’ specific needs by enriching the built-in simulation models and behaviors,” Achim Vogt said. “The other advantage is that VBS brings a lot of content and functionality with it.”

ESG is working to integrate additional C2 systems and exploring how augmented reality will enhance the joint fires support team trainer.


Tools Used

Customer Profile

The development, integration and in-service support of operationally ready systems brings with it many complex challenges of a technical and logistical nature. Components from differing manufacturers must be able to work together effectively.

For 50 years ESG DEFENCE + PUBLIC SECURITY has always been passionate about meeting the demanding technical and operational requirements of our German government customers: Vendor neutrality and customer loyalty are extremely important criteria for us in providing the right solution. Proactive, forward-looking, we create operational innovation to focus on meeting the future challenges in internal and external security.


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Founded in 2001, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), a wholly-owned subsidiary of BAE Systems, Inc., is a global software company at the forefront of simulation and training solutions for defense and civilian organizations. Globally, many hundreds of thousands of military personnel are trained every year using BISim’s high-fidelity VBS software products. More than 60 NATO and NATO-friendly countries, and over 300 integrators/prime contractors use VBS technology, many making significant funding commitments to extend VBS product capabilities. BISim’s customers include the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Canadian Armed Forces, French Army, Bundeswehr, Swedish Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, New Zealand Defence Force and many major system integrators.