Written by Steven Pike, Argon Electronics
The use of simulators and simulations to deliver CBRNe training is recognised as being a highly effective way to immerse trainees in environments that are as close as possible to those that they will experience in real life.
Simulator training provides a safe way for CBRNe personnel to test their knowledge and skills in the context of real-world examples.
Crucially too, trainees are able to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes, without risk to their own personal health, the environment or infrastructure.
As the threat posed by CBRNe materials continues to expand and evolve, the demand for hyper-realistic live-training capability is ever-growing.
The technology that underpins the provision of simulator training is also constantly expanding, as CBRNe instructors demand an even deeper level of authenticity.
In this blog post we explore some of the newest capabilities that are transforming the CBRNe training landscape.
The highly practical nature of live-training offers benefits across a wide array of CBRNe disciplines – from Special Forces and border security to civilian emergency preparedness, the provision of medical services and law enforcement.
Gaining familiarity with CBRNe materials and their respective properties – and understanding the measures that must be taken to protect oneself and others – are core elements of CBRNe general awareness.
Building confidence in the handling of detection technologies is also crucial – whether it be to better understand the capabilities or limitations of currently available detection equipment, to explore newly emerging detector technologies or to put that equipment to the test in realistic, hands-on detection exercises.
Live-training provides the opportunity to develop and apply a broad range of CBRNe incident response practices under the most realistically challenging conditions possible.
Till recently, however, the practicalities of offering live-training have been limited by the need to comply with a host of essential safety, environmental, regulatory and administrative considerations.
One new training system that has taken on the live-training challenge is the Saab Gamer CBRN interface which integrates Saab’s Gamer live firing capability with Argon’s PlumeSIM technology.
The newly enhanced PlumeSIM system supports the simulation of chemical and radiological agents and enables the use of simulated portable survey meters such as the Mirion / CanberraAN/VDR-2,AN/PDR-77/RDS100 and simulated personal dosimeters such as the Mirion / Canberra UDR13 and UDR14.
For trainees there is the advantage of being able to experience the full functionality of their equipment and their PPE in highly realistic environments. While for trainers, there is the benefit of retaining full control of every aspect of the exercise from set-up to After Action Review (AAR.)
Integration with actual detector equipment
Working with real detector equipment can be invaluable in helping trainees gain greater confidence in the operation of their devices, and a deeper level of trust in the reliability of the measurements that they obtain.
At the same time though, it is important that any training that includes the use of actual equipment can be done without compromising operational readiness. Avoiding costly and time-consuming routine maintenance, calibration, running repairs or replacement of damaged items is key.
Recently however there have been developments in the technology that underpins radiological training which makes it possible for CBRNe instructors to deliver highly realistic radiation exercises that use actual detector equipment but with zero risk to the functionality or the integrity of those devices.
One such example is the Radiation Field Training Simulator (RaFTS).
At the heart of the RaFTS patented technology is an intelligent external device that is mounted directly onto a trainee’s own radiological detection system and that interacts directly with the detector’s internal circuitry.
The highly-realistic output, the quality of the data and the level statistical randomness is as life-like as it gets – enabling trainees to test their knowledge and skills in identifying a radioactive source, measuring its intensity and determining its location.
Crucially too, RaFTS universal capability can be applied across a diverse range of hazards and instrument types – including chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and explosives – making it possible for instructors to deliver an all-in-one CBRNe training solution for multiple devices.
About the Author
Steven Pike is the Founder and Managing Director of Argon Electronics, a leader in the development and manufacture of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) and hazardous material (HazMat) detector simulators. He is interested in liaising with CBRN professionals and detector manufacturers to develop training simulators as well as CBRN trainers and exercise planners to enhance their capability and improve the quality of CBRN and Hazmat training.