Solving Challenges to Realistic Opposed Training : Tactical Engagement Simulator (TacSim®)


  1. The field army always aims to train for cutting edge combat readiness. However, achieving the required level of training faces several challenges; like manpower, time, cost, realism, training infrastructure etc.
  2. Realistic training requires a realistic ‘enemy’ that is fully enabled and stands a fair chance of ‘winning’ every contest. However, traditional training is constrained and the enemy is represented notionally by ‘Umpires’, by few troops, few pyrotechnics and possibly rattlers (which too have almost vanished).  There is a stark lack of a capable opponent who fights out every contest.  This absence of ‘enemy’ places a severe handicap for realistic combat training, resulting in ‘Blue always the winner’.  These measures of depicting enemy are very inadequate and are akin to a boxer training only with on punching bag and never with an opponent. On the other hand, it is not feasible to deliver lethal ammunition on troops under training.  Hence, opposing forces continue to train without the lethal impact of the weapons, means and tactics of either side.

The negative results of such inadequate and one-sided training do not show up during peace time. Sadly, this same lack of two-sided training can prove very costly in real combat and may even lead to failure of operations.

  1. Hence, there is an undeniable case for a realistic means to represent the enemy, especially while training for offensive operations.
  2. The Combat Arms of the Army have very few and largely ineffective means to depict the enemy, to depict the effect of enemy weapons and their fire, their tactics and their will to win.
  3. Operations supported by indirect fire, air support, ground vehicles, modern weapons and means results in a complex combat environment. It is even more challenging to replicate this environment to provide realistic training.
  4. Armies use a small proportion of troops to act as ‘enemy’ in opposed training exercises. However, creating realistic and effective opposition remains a challenge. How to depict live firing of small arms, rocket launchers, artillery, mortars, land mines, hand grenades etc is a challenge.

Exploiting the latest technology of eye-safe coded lasers, capable software, communications, GPS technology and sundry other technologies Zen Tactical Engagement Simulator or TacSim® helps us to exactly meet this requirement of opposed training with complete safety and highest realism.

  1. World View. Armies across the world are using such laser based training equipment to conduct most realistic two-sided training. Often, ‘nodes’ with appropriate infrastructure are established. Units and formations are rotated through such Training Node or Combat Training Centres (CTCs) for test exercises and training. Examples of such CTCs can be found in USA, Germany, UK, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Australia and most modern armies.  India too had imported the IWESS from Newzealand and the SimFire from USA in the 1980s.  However, that was a much older technology and did not prove robust enough in the environment of combat training. Zen TacSim overcomes all these issues and is a state of the art and holistic ‘force-on-force’ training solution.
  2. Zen TacSim®. The requirement is of ‘Live Laser based training’ which features ‘Live Troops, In-service Equipment, Real Terrain and Empowered Enemy’. Zen TacSim® incorporates all components of the combat environment like direct and indirect firing weapons, area weapons, missiles, hand grenades, land mines, IEDs, artillery, air, kill-injury-medical recuperation and so on. It thus delivers very high combat realism training environment.  The key components are as under :-
    • A laser device called the Integrated Laser Unit (ILU) is fitted on the weapon and laser sensitive harness is worn by each soldier, or is fitted to each tank, vehicle, bridge, bunker etc. When a blank round or a ‘gas round’ is fired, a laser is emitted. Hence, a soldier can fire only as many rounds as he can carry (realism), the bullet will hit only where it is aimed and within the range of the weapon (realism).  TacSim® simulates the ballistics and terminal effectiveness of the parent weapon and munition(realism).  Hence, a rifle (laser) round may have a range of only, say, 300m while that of the MMG may have 1800m, and an AGL may be able to fire over a crest line. The system delivers kill, injury, recuperation (realism) and eventual combat potential.  It thus offers excellent two sided realism in combat training.
    • Area Weapons. Hand grenades, MGL, AGL, RL, ATGM etc are modeled to deliver ballistics, trajectory and terminal effects as per real weapon/ammunition.
    • Indirect Firing Weapons. Artillery, mortar, air support(effects) are planned by the participants and delivered through the exercise control station. Hence, troops, tanks, bridges etc are effected by mortar, air, artillery etc just as in real combat.
    • Artillery Observer Training. Artillery/mortar observers also get trained in a TacSim environment since they need to duly detect targets, communicate and direct the fire of guns on to the target or use their laser designation devices to get the fire on target. The fire is provided from a real gun position, or through the ExCon terminal, but accurate direction of fire is a pre-requisite to get the fire at intended target.
    • Weapon Platforms. TacSim® also comprises the ‘Armour Combat Training Simulator’ or ACTS®.  ACTS® offers a complete laser based training system for tanks, BMPs, A and B Vehicles.
    • UAV and Drone Kit. Laser sensor kit for fitting on to UAVs and Drones help in sundry anti-drone training, detection and firing skills against drones.
    • Land Mines/IEDs. The system allows planning and laying of virtual minefields. When a soldier/tank/vehicle etc cross the minefield, they get effected by the mines as per a realistic model, resulting in kill/injury/damage accordingly.  Similarly, there is provision of placing IEDs, booby traps etc.
  3. Exercise Control Station or ExCon. The exercise director plans the training exercise using the ExCon station.  It offers appropriate maps and user interface to plan, mark and monitor the conduct.  Similarly, subordinate and opposing tactical commanders make their own plans on respective Control Stations.  The real-time movement, progress of operations, application of combat power is reflected on the control stations.  The control station also records the real time status of every soldier, weapon and ammunition and collates real time combat potential.  It also facilitates analysis and After Action review.  Hence, a victory cannot be achieved without actually fighting the enemy and defeating him.  Hence the realism of combat training.
  4. Freedom to Move. Common and similar system in the world require a ‘fixed’ communication backbone architecture to facilitate the various functions of tacsim type of data and communications. Zen TacSim® however is differently designed and the communications are ‘man mobile’ or vehicle mobile. Hence, there is no need to be restricted to only those areas which have been ‘set-up’ in advance.  TacSim® thus offers complete freedom of movement of the training area and the User can carry out training in deserts, mountains or anywhere.
  5. Pooling of TacSim®. Considering this feature of ‘freedom of movement’, various formations can ‘pool’ their TacSim® resources to conduct larger training exercises at the place of their own choosing and even in operational areas.
  6. It would be apparent that in India today, the ‘state-of-the-art’ Laser based ‘Force-on-force’ systems or TacSim® from Zen Technologies renders the capability to truly ‘fight it out’ or ‘Train as you fight’ with an equally enabled opponent in combat situations.

Tailor Made User Requirement.

  1. Taking the example of an infantry company pitched against a platoon, along with respective supporting weapons, artillery, air etc, we now list a typical requirement for such a force level. Similar examples of a combat team, combat group, or any force structure as desired may be configured.
  2. Infantry Company TacSim® Ensemble. Analysis of the user requirement of ‘company vs platoon’ indicates the following requirement of components of the TacSim® :-
    • Small Arms. Quantity – 150. TacSim® Kits for the following small arms – (These kits are interchangeable)  :-
      1. Rifles (Any make/model)
      2. Carbines
  • Light Machine Guns
  • Medium Machine Guns
  • 84mm RL – 12 (one per section)
  • MGL – 4 (One per platoon)
  • AGL – 2
  • ATGM – 2
  • Hand Grenades – 150 (with 1000 cartridges)
  • Soldier Harness – 150
  • Sensor Harness for passive objects vehicles, bunkers, bridges etc – 12
  1. Accessory Kit Items.
    • Small Arms Alignment Device – 4
    • Umpire Control Gun – 4
    • Advanced Exercise Control and AAR Unit with Ruggedized Laptop – 3
    • Base Station and Antenna – 4
    • Rechargeable Batteries and Adaptors – 1 Kit