Australia’s defence minister has opened a new virtual training centre which will allow Australian troops to train with their US counterparts as well as the Australian Navy and Air Force without any of them needing to meet.

The Queensland-based Joint Combined Training Centre (JCTC) links Australian and US exercise headquarters, units and training areas to combine live training action with computer-generated simulations and platform simulators around the world.

Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson says the JCTC will ‘produce efficiencies by reducing operating costs, wear and tear on people and equipment and our footprint on the environment’.

“Comprehensive analysis can be undertaken during after-action review. This provides a state-of-the-art learning experience in military training. It will significantly improve the capability of the Australian Defence Force,” he says.

“The linking of simulation and command systems enables real and virtual ships, aircraft and troops to be integrated into complex scenarios with a very high degree of realism for training participants.”

The JCTC, which was agreed on in 2004, has cost the US more than $9.3m and Australia $24m.