MoD plans £20m ‘synthetic environment’ for simulation exercises

Ministry plans to boost its use of modelling and simulation tools with a new platform that could enable military and officials to explore the use of various new data forms

The Ministry of Defence is exploring the possibility of creating a £20m “synthetic environment” to support sophisticated simulation exercises.

The department has published a procurement notice outlining plans to create an environment featuring the likes of “geospatial data and 3D models optimised for modelling and simulation usage” Over time, more data may be brought into the synthetic environment service (SES),such as “weather and hydrographic data”.

“The system must be able to import and export data in a number of formats,” adds the commercial notice.

The defence sector and military uses simulation to help inform the development of equipment, as well as helping to train personnel and prepare them for real-world decision making.

The synthetic environment service is envisioned by the MoD as a “key element of the [existing] modelling and simulation ecosystem, which aims to provide defence-wide access to common” tools, and with the intent “to support coherence and enable reuse [and] interoperability”.

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The MoD is currently looking to engage with the market ahead of conducting a formal procurement exercise – which it intends to launch over the summer, with the winning bidder ultimately expected to win a deal worth £20m.

The ministry is inviting expressions of interest from potential providers and will meet with market representatives at an “industry day”, which it intends to hold next month in conjunction with techUK.

According to a policy plan published by the ministry a few months ago, “modelling and simulation (M&S) has wide application across the defence enterprise, both in terms of cost benefits and providing a mechanism for satisfying challenging defence requirements”.

The policy document adds: “Better coordination of activity, guidance and acquisition are needed to enable defence to derive the maximum benefit from investment in M&S. This [document] sets out appropriate direction, clear governance structures and suitable mechanisms to resolve issues and reduce risk, enabling the frontline commands to develop and deliver M&S-based solutions in a technically coherent manner.”

Sam Trendall

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