Barrel inserts help cut costs: an increasing number of countries have to face the severe problems posed by space limitations for training exercises.

Author:Walters, Brian

Barrel inserts help cut costs: an increasing number of countries have to face the severe problems posed by space limitations for training exercises. It is one of the penalties resulting from peace that civilian populations become increasingly intolerant of military activity, even on land long ago set aside for training. This obliges armour and artillery units to make use of innovative alternatives, or accept drastic reductions in live fire training. (Training & Simulation)

It so happens that barrel insert systems (Bis) and subcalibre devices can both overcome the more severe of firing range limitations and achieve cost savings in terms of ammunition. Moreover, the use of such subcalibre training devices will also reduce the wear and tear on gun barrels, thus providing added savings; Reflecting the special nature of this aspect of training, suppliers of subcalibre devices and the appropriate ammunition often work together with different gun or training equipment manufacturers.

Thus, Dynamit Nobel, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), Mauser-Werke and Oerlikon Contraves have a record of being closely associated with training or artillery system prime contractors. As Alpine countries such as Austria and Switzerland are particularly hard-pressed to find space in which to fire guns to their maximum range, barrel insert systems offer an acceptable solution.

Therefore, faced with the need to train tank crews in handling 105 mm and 120 mm guns, Ruag Land Systems teamed with Mauser-Werke and Oerlikon Contraves Pyrotec to develop the Sub Calibre Offers Realistic Exercises (Score) system. Since adopted by the armies of Switzerland and Austria, the Score makes use of a 27 mm barrel insert system, which has proved to bring about significant savings in ammunition and other costs. As most of the deep valleys in both countries are put to more productive use than firing ranges, the problem of space limitation has also been largely overcome.

A tank crew familiar with Score can install it in a matter of ten minutes without the need to modify the tank, which can then be used to conduct realistic training for the entire crew--not just the gunner. In practice, it has been shown that training goals such as fast target acquisition and a high first hit probability can be achieved up to full combat distances.

The environmental and safety aspects of the Score system are particularly important for forces that must be alert to criticism from those living close to the boundaries of exercise grounds. Clearly 27 mm rounds have less potential for damage than full-calibre ammunition, so as far as the Swiss Army is concerned, the Score has established a place for itself in a four-part training plan.

Under this plan, tank crews begin their training on an indoor simulator before graduating to a real main battle tank fitted with a laser training system of the kind produced by Saab Training Systems and Cubic Defense...

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