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August 12, 2014

Soldiers train on virtual battlefields as MoD renews contract

QinetiQ deal renewal means airforce and army continue virtual training.

By Joe Curtis

Soldiers and pilots can continue training in virtual battlefields after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a five-year deal worth £33m with army tech contractor QinetiQ.

The contract renewal means pilots and soldiers can carry on honing their co-operation in simulators despite being potentially thousands of miles apart.

QinetiQ has already provided such services for five years at an RAF base in Lincoln, with its Distributed Synthetic Air Land Training 2 (DSALT2) system, which all frontline personnel get training on before they enter a real conflict.

An MoD spokesman said: "Simulation and synthetic training is an extremely important part of training our modern Armed Forces and… the ability to practise and train in highly realistic but safe environments is a vital, life-saving capability."

Miles Adcock, MD for QinetiQ Training, added: "Our training provides the RAF and army with a realistic representation of the operating environment they will face."

The news comes after the MoD outlined a two-year programme to overhaul its central IT system, Defence Information Infrastructure, which it admitted in a strategy document last year was rapidly growing out of date.

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CIO Mike Stone, who joined the department in May, said in a blog post last week: "We need to dramatically improve our core IT system.

"[Come 2016] users will have information capabilities that are tailored to their mission, location and role, accessed at the right time, through a choice of devices over a cost effective, modern and adaptable infrastructure.

"For non-sensitive, everyday work we will adopt commercial standards and security arrangements."

He vowed that 30 "specific improvements" will be made between September 2014 and March next year, including better internet access, quicker log-in speeds and more flexible mobility solutions via Wi-Fi.

Picture: ETPS Hawk and Alpha Jet banking left and right, from QinetiQ website

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