During the week of January 14 to 18, select members of WarfareSims and MatrixGames LLC presented Command PE at the Luftwaffe Officer School and trained officers of various branches of the German armed forces in its use and capabilities. It was a very successful event, and we would like to thank the entire staff of the academy, and especially Maj Silier, Lt Col Lochner, Lt Fleischmann and Lt Scholz for their coordination of the event and the above-and-beyond hospitality that they extended to us.
Following is the English translation of the official description of the event, as presented on the Luftwaffe website (original here).
“Command” – Digital practice for the real world
The program is used to represent air operations. The trainees get a fictional scenario by considering all the factors relevant to a battle and then having to plan their operations. “We then integrate the planning of the course participants into the software and see if their plan works,” explains Major Thomas Silier. He is a specialist in air force doctrine & tactics, and also the project manager for the introduction of Command at the Officers School of the Air Force (OSLw).Many factors determine the outcome of a battle: from the logistics and the deployment of the soldiers, to the morale of the troops or the supply of equipment. Ultimately, it is crucial to consider all factors and to deduce the right tactics from them. For this purpose, course participants at the Officer School of the Air Force use the simulation software “Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations”.
In fact, the software was originally designed not for the military but as a publicly available game. However, battles, and especially various air operations, are depicted so realistically that “the German and even the American armed forces have realized that Command has the potential to be used by them” explains Silier. For example, the software provides a comprehensive database of every aircraft from any armed forces back to 1946.
Down to the smallest detail: from planning to simulation
The course participants are divided into different groups. All teams get different tasks that they have to plan for. For example, a group is responsible for protecting the airspace above the operational area. Another, in turn, is responsible for Close Air Support, which is the frontline aerial support of ground forces, ” says Silier. Then it’s about achieving common coordination. The fuel for the aircraft used must be determined, tankers must be on site in time and the respective operating times of the forces must be deduced.
“I am very impressed by how complex the program is,” says Lieutenant Markus Kribelbauer. He used the program as a participant in the last officers’ class. In addition, he was fascinated by how much work Silier and his team have invested in addition. “From creating custom Excel spreadsheets to determine operating times to calculating the fuel consumption of the respective aircraft – I found that extremely impressive,” he says enthusiastically.
Kribelbauer is certain that, for the Luftwaffe, the program definitely offers added value: “Whereas previously you had to present lessons with Power Point or othertools, and now you can present everything actually simulated, the software offers a great deal of added value.”
Therefore, it is now being examined whether the software can also assist other areas of the Air Force. The program will be tested in a three-month trial period. Representatives of the various branches were recently briefed in Fürstenfeldbruck about the program. If Command makes a positive impression here as well, then the software could soon be used not only at the Luftwaffe Officer School, but in wider parts of the Air Force.