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  • Global Military Communications

British Army set to sharpen close combat skills in new 4GD ‘smart’ training facility

The British Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade is set to sharpen its close quarter fighting skills in a new ‘smart’ training facility installed by 4GD in Colchester, Essex. Designed and developed by British ex-Marines, the new high-tech 4GD SmartFacility, the build of which commenced on 4 January, is equipped with the advanced close quarter battle training capabilities that will test the metal of 16 Brigade trainees and prepare them for high-intensity conflicts.

The new shoot-house facility consists of 4GD’s SimWall panel system which allows the rapid configuration of walls to create thousands of rooms and building variations within minutes. It also incorporates 4GAV: 4GD’s unique suite of smart features including light, smoke & pyrotechnics, smell, high-definition sound special effects and environment simulation technology.

“With the unlimited room scenarios that can be built and the immersion created by special effects, trainees are challenged to adapt and react,” Rob Taylor, 4GD’s founder, said.

Controlled by a user-friendly interface, the SmartFacility is designed to put the personnel of 16 Brigade through their paces in an environment that replicates the sights, sounds and smells of the battlefield - enabling them to refine their close combat fighting skills while experiencing the assault on the senses they will encounter in real-world missions.

The facility is also equipped with a live-video feedback system viewed and controlled by an instructor via a dual tablet display for real-time and after-action review in order to maximise training effects.

“Our SmartFacility is designed to blend virtual and physical elements so that our Armed Forces can train with next-gen technology that will fully equip them to face dynamic environments.” “As ex-Royal Marines we are directly applying our own experience of the battlefield to help improve the quality of training for UK forces.”

16 Air Assault Brigade is kept at high-readiness and is specially trained to deploy by parachute, helicopter and air-landing for full spectrum missions anywhere in the world.

“High-readiness means that troops must be prepared to deploy in short notice. Our SmartFacility ensures that 16 Brigade is set to enter and clear any space they encounter during their mission.”

As the newest version of the SmartFacility, this installation is also compatible with 4GD’s recently launched ECFECTUS and ACIES upgrades. ECFECTUS adds cutting-edge performance data collection systems in the form of wearable sensors such as eye trackers, weapon sensors and biometric sensors. ACIES brings the facility to life virtually with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 – the gaming engine used to make shooter-games like Fortnite.

“ECFECTUS and ACIES bring a futuristic but realistic dimension to close quarters combat as the virtual and physical worlds are combined to create a mixed reality, which we term Integrated Realities, for operators to train in.”