16 September 2014
Members of the Five Powers Defence Arrangement (FPDA) have begun training on the systems they need to master in order to commence the stability operation in Exercise Suman Warrior at Linton Military Camp, North of Wellington, NZ.
Participants from Singapore, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Australia are receiving training from specialist operators from host nation New Zealand in the Matua and Sword systems that will allow any enemy engagements to be commanded and controlled.
The Matua system is similar to the Battlefield Management System, currently used by the Australian Army for Command and Control.
Sword is the system that simulates the scenario by injecting all the variables into the battle space.
For the guest members of the FPDA mastering these systems is integral to the upcoming Command Post Exercise (CPX) as participants will be expected to both fight the battle and inject its variables.
1st NZ BDE Planning Officer Major Gareth Jones said Matua was an unclassified, off-the-shelf system that gave visibility of the battle resolving units from brigade down to section level.
"This tool is specifically designed for the CPX and it gives everybody situational awareness of what is happening on the battlefield," he said.
"It is quite similar to the system we use on operations.
"We could do it with paper and maps, but we're in the 21st century, so it's the way of the future - in fact last time I did a Suman warrior we used dice to determine outcomes.
"The program has all weapon capabilities programmed in to it as well as probabilities of injuries and kills, so if somebody fires a rifle the computer tell us the result and there is no arguments."
Major Jones said this is the first time Sword and Matua has been used during Suman Warrior.
"There shouldn't be any issues for the younger guys learning the system, it is quite intuitive, especially if they have grown up using programs like Windows, Skype and Google Earth," he said.
"We use this first week for training, so by the time the CPX comes round they will have the hang of it.
"People seem quite excited about the opportunities to work together, and we have plenty of time for any interoperability issues to be ironed out before the exercise."
Australian Army Captain Dan Nailer, who is tasked as assistant operations officer at High Control, said he was looking forward to stepping into the mission analysis component of the joint five powers operation.
"The training is great, and understanding the capabilities of the other countries is interesting too," he said.
"Knowing the intricacies about what each country may be sensitive about can be challenging, but working with them and fostering relationships is definitely rewarding."This exercise is very worthwhile and should definitely be continued in the future, as it is beneficial for all involved."