Simulation training has been shown by many studies to deliver the best learning outcomes, as it provides a realistic, immersive experience in the context of the learner’s job role. With advances in technology, e-learning software, and our understanding of how people learn, Xarpie Labs is seeing a rise in simulation-based training and therefore more opportunity to create. This is our formal contribution to the digitalization in defence, at DefExpo 2020 (Hall 1 Booth S2) in Lucknow, India during Feb 5-8.

The concept of simulators for exposing a potential user – a soldier in our case – has existed for many decades now. Even before the era of digital computers, people like Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shephard, Neil Armstrong all trained in high “G” flight simulators to make sure they understood things that could not be explained on paper. These were things like what the body feels like under 2X, 3X, 4X… Gs. “Feel” is something that needs to be experienced. It cannot be taught.

Training soldiers prior to the advent of simulators were only limited to boot camps, where they are exposed to battlefield stress, handling equipment, weapons, etc. But the “feel” of the battle experience is still missing. The elements of fear, anxiety and the unknown are some of the things one is not trained for. Modern-day boot camps are certainly more advanced, however,  there is always room to enhance the training experience.

That’s where the Xarpie Labs’ XAR Sniper Trainer comes in. Training simulators on digital platforms have existed for a couple of decades now.  “Doom” for example, the legendary video game that is responsible for the FPS (first-person shooter) genre today, was modified back then by the US Army to train soldiers to enhance their troops’ wartime readiness. This goes back in time to when computers were able to render perhaps only a few hundred triangles per frame. The modern-day computer is capable of rendering hundreds of millions of triangles every frame at twice the frame rate. So, naturally, the level of immersion has increased over the years, and many advancements in real-time training simulators have come and gone.

As the name suggests, simulation training is the creation of a true-to-life learning environment that mirrors real-life work and scenarios. VR being the next paradigm shift when it comes to immersive technology, has given rise to next level simulators.

For us, at “Xarpie Labs”, with experience in enterprise simulations, training for Defence and Security seemed like a really good space to contribute. After making a few quick prototypes, it was quite clear: the power of Virtual Reality (VR), when it comes to simulations, is second only to the real thing. That delta is something we have reasonable control of, within the range of supportive hardware itself. The idea was to make the simulation “feel” as real as possible.

Our sister company SSS Defence, the defense and aerospace organization of Stumpp Schuele & Somappa group, is manufacturing weapons and ammunition for the Indian Defence Sector. Our collaboration with them for the actual hardware has demonstrated the importance of virtual training.

In our unique VR pack, the bullet dynamics and modular approach of the simulation environment are tightly coupled with the actual sniper hardware. Since field training for snipers, in many cases, is a luxury, our simulator (XAR Sniper Trainer) is intended to train marksmen in a controlled, cost-effective environment with an increasing scenario and environment complexity. This will be hugely beneficial in preparing our forces. In future, we will release simulators for different weapon platforms.

To summarise, in the words of our CTO, “Make in India is very much doable and we have proved it.”

Check out the XAR Sniper Trainer – Saber 338 at Hall 1 – Booth S2 at DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow during Feb 5-8.

Also read: World of Sniper: Challenges of tactical marksmanship training