Now equipped with several state-of-the-art gunnery, combat and tactical simulators, Swiss Land Forces have virtual reality systems for training operations ranging from individual tank gunnery to full-scale tactical exercises at battalion staff level in one of the world's largest simulation facilities.
The Mechanized Training Centre (MAZ) in Thun, central Switzerland, has a network of over 900 computers, 348 projectors, 616 visualization system channels and a simulation specific software volume of some 17 million programming lines.
The simulators include the ELSA Spz2000, an electronic gunnery training system for Switzerland’s Schützenpanzer 2000 IFV; a “Schiesskommandant” (SKdt) gunnery commander system; and an ELSA Leo II WE electronic gunnery training system for the Swiss Army’s Panzer 87 Leopard WE.
Training takes place in 35 replica vehicles, each equipped with a 360° external view projection.
Combat operations are conducted on a 1,666 km² (643 sq.miles) virtual battlefield which features 460 built-up areas, some 9,000 kilometers (5,600 miles) of road as well as fields, forests and rivers. Besides mechanized infantry, armor and artillery, scenarios can include logistical elements and medical support. Models of all standard military aircraft and ground vehicles enable trainers to generate a multitude of tactical scenarios, together with a variety of optical and acoustic effects for greater authenticity.
All the systems were supplied by Germany's Rheinmetall Defence and make up the largest simulator network ever created by the company.
MAZ is one of the two training centers for Swiss Land Forces, the other being the Land Forces Training Centre (AZH) in Walenstadt (northeast Switzerland) which, amongst other things, trains professional, single-term conscript and militia cadres and handles combat training.
photo credits: Rheinmettal Defence