The Russia-Ukraine war is regarded as the most technologically advanced one humanity has ever witnessed to date. The use of various military technology decisions, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), satellites, electronic warfare systems, cyberattacks, and advanced weaponry, has showcased the evolution of modern warfare. This war has underscored the need for militaries to adapt swiftly and stay ahead in the technology race, particularly at a time when precision and efficiency are paramount.
In this context, Ukraine’s military has emerged as a noteworthy protagonist in the quest for technological innovation. The military-tech industry in Ukraine is developing at a remarkable speed, officials say their market grew 3-7 times in the conditions of a full-scale war.
While the United States currently leads the military tech industry in the world, Ukraine is emerging as a compelling contender for leadership in this field. The unique advantage lies in Ukraine’s firsthand experience in full-scale warfare, providing valuable insights and a rapid development cycle for military technology. With the ability to swiftly produce and test products in combat conditions, Ukraine has become a valuable resource for other nations seeking to modernize their armed forces in an era of evolving security challenges.
Tactical simulators: a game-changer in military training
In addition to modern weaponry and an ample supply of ammunition, quality tactical training remains a crucial factor of effectiveness on the battlefield. Tactical training equips soldiers to make swift and informed decisions in extreme conditions. From studying tactical scenarios to simulating combat situations and fostering team coordination, it’s the key to survival and empowers commanders to act decisively under intense stress. An innovative military tech solution, tactical laser simulators for two-way fire contact, has been making a significant impact on the training of Ukrainian military personnel in recent years.
Leveraging laser technology, these simulators allow for training experiences that closely mimic real battles, whether with blank cartridges or without. The primary advantage lies in their ability to provide real-time data on soldiers’ actions: their positions, shots fired, hits scored, and the number and percentage of “survivors” within the team. On the international market, such simulators are manufactured by such world leaders as Saab, Lockheed Martin, Cubic, Thales, and others. In recent years, solutions have also come from a company from Ukraine – Skiftech, manufacturing simulators that have been used by the Ukrainian military for over seven years, and which are worthily repelling the Russian army, which is much more larger than it.
The company’s flagship product among tactical simulators is the fighter’s personal kit. Each fighter wears a helmet cover with hit sensors, carries a weapon with a hinged or integrated laser emitter, a vest with hit sensors, and a stress belt. The stress belt is a crucial component as it allows the development of conditional reflexes in the learning process.
When a fighter is “hit” by a laser shot, in addition to the sensors emitting a sound and flashing lights, they receive a brief, safe electric pulse in their arm from the stress belt. This electric impulse is short-lived, lasting no more than one second, but it serves an essential psycho-emotional purpose: to remind the fighter that, firstly, this is not a game, and secondly, in real combat conditions, such “hit” would result in, at the very least, an injury.
Skiftech personal kit
The personal kit is the most popular but not the only one among tactical simulators. To create realistic training conditions, it is essential to conduct comprehensive exercises involving different units simultaneously on the same training ground. This allows infantry, snipers, tank crews, artillery gunners, anti-aircraft personnel, military engineers, and others to participate in a unified training scenario.
Therefore, to meet this need, Skiftech has developed an ecosystem of military equipment that interacts seamlessly and can be integrated into a unified training complex for various branches of the armed forces. This ecosystem includes simulators for explosive devices, armored vehicles (tanks, armored personnel carriers, BMPs, etc.), artillery, mortars, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), MANPADS (Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems), and other types of military equipment.
All equipment is managed in software, where the instructor can configure all the functionality, as well as save and follow the progress of the entire training. It allows tracking the movement of fighters and military equipment on the range. In the program, the instructor can set the number of cartridges, magazines, rate of fire, conditional damage lethality, and other equipment parameters of each of the fighters and the whole unit.
Economy of ammunition
It is of critical importance for the military during training that everything closely mirrors the conditions of actual combat. Ukrainian tactical simulators are designed to replicate the combat characteristics of weapons, including the range of engagement, rate of fire, the capacity of magazines, and other parameters. It’s worth noting that simulators based on laser emitters differ from those utilizing other technologies.
Two-sided training is highly effective in preparing for real battles against genuine adversaries, and laser technology enables tactical training through dry-fire systems. Thanks to dry-fire technology, it is possible to save more than $30,000 on training for one platoon.
Combat-proven in a full-scale war
Experts contend that Ukraine is presently advancing several generations of military technology simultaneously, gaining proficiency in cutting-edge weaponry directly on the battlefield. Unlike their counterparts, Ukrainian military tech companies have the advantage of swift feedback from experienced military engaged in actual combat operations, enabling them to respond promptly to evolving needs.
In the photo gallery above, the training on Skiftech tactical simulators by the 93rd Mechanized Brigade infantry unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This brigade participated in combat in Bakhmut, one of the most intense areas on the Ukrainian front, during the last year. Following the training session, instructors of the toughest battles during the full-scale invasion, analyzed participants’ actions and addressed errors.
The Ukrainian manufacturer highlights its capability to tailor individual solutions to meet specific military requirements. This includes solutions designed for particular weapon types or for crafting personalized training programs on tactical simulators. In contrast, larger multinational companies often opt for more generic solutions because they are not ready to spend time and resources.
For instance, Skiftech recently served as the technical contractor for the DartRange project, partnering with an international company from the USA specializing in simulators for law enforcement agencies with 20 years of experience. In this collaboration, the Ukrainian manufacturer implemented a return fire system during firearms training. This system allows personnel to not only practice shooting skills but also enhance their ability to respond to incoming fire.
Today, Ukrainian manufacturers possess a unique advantage compared to global competitors: their Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) are swiftly tested in practical scenarios, yielding valuable feedback. Military leaders of countries should pay attention to the solutions and products they offer if they want adaptive, cost-effective, and fast solutions that have proven their effectiveness in combat conditions.