Assessment of small arms systems


  • Magnus Tormalm
  • Fredrik Ringblom
  • Liselotte Steen
  • Ronnie Johansson

Publish date: 2013-06-18

Report number: FOI-R--3566--SE

Pages: 24

Written in: Swedish


The Swedish Armed Forces are planning an acquisition of a new small arms system for the entire organization to be introduced around 2020. In order to support the Armed Forces with this process, FOI has conducted a small study on assessment of small arms systems focusing on two questions:  Which soldier simulation tool is suitable for the study of small arms?  Which assessment methodology is suitable? Small arms are today complex systems with many intra- and intersystem dependencies. An assessment of small arms from a capability point of view needs to address both traditional and measurable parameters, such as different technical characteristics, but also include evaluation of the efficiency of the collective of weapons for a group of soldiers. For weapon systems with a complex structure, such evaluations have been made to some extent, but so far it has not been made for small arms. The purpose of this study has been to formulate propositions for methods and tools for such assessments. To gain an understanding of the simulation tools currently used in the Armed Forces, the project visited MSS Kvarn, Livgardet and FMV. Important values for the analysis on how the soldier can achieve an effect with his weapon has been identified and listed. Furthermore, a discussion of the current requirements for the soldier and its impact on the analysis is presented. The Swedish Armed Forces currently uses VBS2 as a soldier simulation tool. We see this as the "most realistic" alternative for the study of small arms, as FMV recently signed an Enterprise license agreement for VBS2 for all defence agencies. VBS2 is the internationally predominant application for military training purposes and is also used for valuation purposes, for example by FOI's Canadian counterpart DRDC. The limited duration of this study has meant that all commercially available simulation tools may not have been identified. Our view is that there are possibilities of a soldier simulation tool to evaluate certain aspects of a small arms system, such as optimizing the composition of weapons within the group for different scenarios. There are, however, several limitations such as the shooter interaction via keyboard, mouse and screen. The results will depend on computer game experience rather than shooting experience. To evaluate the practical characteristics, replica guns or instrumented weapons linked to soldier simulation tools could be used. Using a larger screen to project scenarios would make it possible to evaluate a plethora of parameters for each scenario. Evaluation of the effect of a small arms system is complex and depends on many different parameters. The evaluation methodology that we recommend is based on Bayesian networks which take account of the many variations and types of parameters. In order to estimate the probabilities in the Bayesian network, we will draw data from simulations with tools such as VBS2.