Two U.S. privates practice operating the Patriot missile launcher in 2012. Until the recent arrival of a Patriot simulator, Israeli operators typically traveled to the U.S. for training. (U.S. Army)
The Aerial Defense Academy in southern Israel now hosts a new Patriot simulator, meaning service members training to operate the anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapon will be able to practice at home instead of traveling to the United States.
“With this new addition, we have upgraded our training methods,” said Capt. Matan Shalom in a statement. Shalom, who heads the Patriot unit in the Instruction Division at the Aerial Defense Headquarters, added that the new simulator would also change methods of instruction, simulation reconstructions, and debriefings for the weapon.
The simulator has ten stations that simulate those in the control trailer of the Patriot, in addition to instructional stations that control the exercise. While the simulation currently asks operators to find and react to hostile targets, it could eventually interoperate with additional training tools such as flight simulators.
“The connection will allow cooperation with other formations in the force,” said Lt. Col. Gershon Zlutnik, head of the Instructional Division at the ADA. “There may be a time where a pilot and a Patriot controller will have to cooperate.”
This is just one of the ways that Israeli Defense Forces are working to train groups of soldiers using simulators. In January, an anti-tank company used a newly unveiled battle laboratory full of simulators to practice a military operation in enemy territory. For each scenario, the battalion commander planned a strategy and briefed the company commander. Soldiers then played out the battle on the simulators they were trained to operate.
The simulators, developed by the Military Research Department to accurately replicate everything from how the enemy responds down to house and vehicle detail, are meant to be realistic so that soldiers can avoid some live-fire exercises and the dangers that go with them.
The Israeli Air Force announced the arrival of the Patriot simulator on March 18, and expects to install an advanced training center for the Arrow missile defense system at the ADA in the near future.