Exercise Virtual 15 takes flight

News Article / March 4, 2016

By Captain Marvin Taylor

With the completion of Exercise Virtual 15, the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre (CFAWC) at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, showed that the sky is no longer the limit.

This annual exercise represents a step toward meeting the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Simulation Strategy 2015.

Graphically comparable to the video game “Call of Duty”, Exercise Virtual 15 integrated new modeling and simulation capabilities. The goal was to link all RCAF simulation assets into an integrated training system that would support individual and collective training.

Exercise preparation

The two-day exercise entailed months of preparation and testing to ensure that all simulators could connect with each other and worked with the same enumeration codes. The technicians compared the process to making it possible for a Commodore 64 to communicate with an XBox One.

The exercise used both virtual and constructive simulations in its virtual battlespace. Virtual simulations, or real people operating simulated systems, included four pilots flying CF-188 Hornet simulators, two forward air controllers (FACs) using a FAC simulator, and a Combined Air Operations Centre operating out of CFAWC.

Air weapons controllers from the Canadian Air Defence Sector at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario, took part, as did pilots flying six CH-146 Griffon simulators from Canadian Forces Bases Valcartier, Quebec; Edmonton, Alberta; and Gagetown, New Brunswick. Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Calgary, anchored off the West Coast, participated via the Navy’s Distributed Mission Operations Centre in Halifax, Ontario. Constructive simulations, or computer-generated entities used to invoke a response from players, were used to simulate the enemy, as well as entities of the Canadian Army.

Many advantages

This exercise will grow annually with additional participants and more emphasis on force generation (that is, the process of organizing, training and equipping forces for employment). There are many advantages to using this virtual world for force generation: flying hours are not consumed;  training takes place in a safe training environment; a large travel and accommodation budget is not required; participants can train with the personnel they actually deploy with; and scenarios can be created that would not otherwise be available in the real world.

Exercises can be created anywhere in the world, making detailed deployment and mission training possible before boots hit the ground.


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Communicator Research Operators intercept and analyze electronic transmissions, including foreign communications. They also protect Government of Canada computer networks.

A Communications Research Operator has the following responsibilities:

         - Collect, process, analyze and report on electromagnetic activity on radio frequency, using highly sophisticated equipment
         - Manage and protect computer networks
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