Following 12 years of successful collaboration, the French Armed Forces have expanded their use of MASA's flagship constructive simulation software, SWORD, through the acquisition of a global license
1 September 2015 - Paris, France: MASA Group's long-term military customer, the French Army, is leading the way in the preparation for operational engagement through simulation with the acquisition of a global license for MASA's internationally renowned SWORD automated war-game. Having originally identified SWORD's underlying technology as a pioneering tool for cost-effective, time-efficient training in 2002, this recent, significant agreement follows many years of solid collaboration between MASA, the French procurement agency (DGA) and the French Land Forces. SWORD provides an immediate solution to SOULT (the simulation program for Combined Forces and Ground Logistics Units' Operations), for the operational preparation of Combined Forces at division, brigade, and battle group command posts.
SWORD is an automated war game that is powered by innovative artificial intelligence technology, enabling simulated units to act according to the Army's doctrine validated by subject matter experts. This unique capability means large-scale exercises are conducted in the most realistic way possible, while minimizing the combined operating costs and animation effort. Preparing military staff for action is made much more efficient by training in a realistic operational environment, with joint forces and allies, in a variety of different battlefield scenarios.
Squadron Commander Thierry Cadot, Program Manager of SOULT, welcomed the move, saying: "the deployment of SWORD by the Army is the culmination of a process that responds optimally to the needs expressed by the Armed Forces. The requirement for training supported by simulation has never been more evident than at the start of Operation Sentinelle. The fragmentation of the armed forces has made it necessary to have flexible training tools that let us work effectively with reduced staff numbers and simulate a large variety of situations. Thanks to SWORD, all of these objectives are attainable. The Army now possesses an extraordinary training tool for its command posts".
Colonel Philippe Dutroncy, SDOR EMAT (Network Operations Development Service, Land Forces Command), added: "SOULT will allow the French Army to achieve the following objectives:
systematize simulation training as a way to prepare for a wide number of operational engagements
streamline simulation tools deployed in the forces and at training centers
continue expanding the use of simulation for capability preparation or for support on operations
Colonel Dutroncy continued: "The flexibility of employment and evolution of SWORD effectively allows us to foresee its use in all types of operational preparation for command posts, but also in training specialist areas (Engineering, Intelligence, Logistics, or CBRN -Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear), the testing of future military doctrines, the preparation of operations, and for post-operation analysis and conclusions".
The Centre of Expertise for Information validation and SIMulation (CEISIM) oversees simulation and digitization within the French Armed Forces. Sitting at the convergence of the two fields, the CEISIM leads simulation programs along with the DGA and manufacturers. They also manage simulation programs such as JANUS and ROMULUS, as well as ensuring the integration of software components in these simulations. The Centre will now be tasked to manage the deployment of SOULT and its assimilation by the Army. SOULT's flexibility will allow the Army to lead centralized, autonomous, distributed, multi-site and even mobile exercises.
The SOULT program will be rolled out gradually, beginning with the Training Centre for Command Posts (CEPC), to ensure the continued service of the current SCIPIO system, which already operates with previous versions of SWORD and has been deployed and used operationally by the CEPC since 2006. Training centers, brigades and regiments will steadily be equipped from 2016, giving them their first decentralized capability for self-training and allowing them to make the best use of their training sessions in force readiness centers.
Taking advantage of SWORD's internationally acknowledged adaptability, SOULT will also progressively replace the JANUS software -which is currently used in across several training centers for French and foreign command units-, as it comes to the end of its lifecycle. The CEISIM has already tested SWORD's capacity to engage in the exercise 'General Bertrand', traditionally undertaken by JANUS software, at the Armed Forces Engineering School in Angers.
Colonel Claude Chary, Commander of CEISIM adds: "with SWORD at the heart of SOULT, CEISIM will further streamline its simulations, focusing on developing a bridge between SWORD and other information systems. The testing of SWORD, led in conjunction with the military engineering school, allowed us to consider the move from JANUS to SOULT. The acquisition and deployment of SWORD's global license is the first stage in the SOULT program, which will eventually equip both JANUS centers and a selection of Collective Training Centers. This conforms perfectly with our policy of deploying simulation solutions whose purpose is to support the decentralized operational preparation of Land Forces. Compatible with the interoperability framework of the French Land Forces, SOULT connects seamlessly with current and future operational information and communication systems".
MASA Group President and CEO, Juan-Pablo Torres, said: "The commitment and worldwide technology leadership in the simulation field demonstrated over the years by the French Armed Forces is further cemented by a program such as SOULT and by the future deployment of SWORD across the French Army. MASA is delighted to continue supporting its home forces with the latest versions of SWORD, the most advanced military simulation on the market and we look forward to strengthening our close working relationship with the various divisions and service personnel across the Army. In addition, the acquisition of such a global license by the French Army widens the range of procurement models that we are currently considering for other countries across the world".