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Behind the Simulator #1

Every project has its own challenges and opportunities. In ‘Behind the Simulator’ a sneak peek is offered regarding the challenges VSTEP colleagues are facing and how they find new solutions to solve it. The first edition and kick-off is for Jelle Tuininga. Jelle is Project Manager for the Naval Training Centre (NTC) project that is built in United Arab Emirates (UAE) together with CAE.

“Around six months ago, I was asked by the management to manage the NTC project with CAE”, says Jelle Tuininga, Project Manager at VSTEP simulation. “The project is the biggest one in VSTEP’s history as maritime supplier and I was honoured to be considered. The project requires VSTEP to deliver a number of different maritime bridge simulators that will be connected to other simulation suites that will cover other aspects of the naval vessels being simulated, such as the Combat Information Centre, the Machinery Control Room and various (naval) aircrafts. The system will allow bridges to train separately (stand-alone), in groups (mimicking a ship) or are all together (acting a whole battlegroup).”

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Jelle Tuininga, Project Manager @ VSTEP Simulation

“Of course, I said yes!”, Jelle continues. “This project is an excellent opportunity for VSTEP to establish its place among the major maritime and naval simulation companies. We also get to collaborate with other major players in the simulation and training market such as CAE (our client), Babcock and ARI. This project is bound to attract a lot of attention, due to the fact that it is going to be one of the most multi-disciplinary and versatile training centres in the world. That makes it very exciting to be a part of for me personally and professionally.”

For VSTEP internally this project is also having a huge impact. “We definitely need to step up our game and it is great to see that we are able to adapt so rapidly. I consider this definitely one of the perks of working at a company that is focussed on maritime simulation and virtual training. VSTEP has worked on other major projects before, but the sheer size, number of involved companies and interfaces make it a lot more important to focus on the proper definition of requirements, interfaces and planning.”

NAUTIS-VSTEP-CAE-impression
Impression of the UAE environment and stock navy vessels in NAUTIS

“At this moment in the project, we are switching over from the phase of gathering data and getting a better understanding of the requirements to the design phase for the soft- and hardware. The Navy wants to train with all kinds of vessels, with all kinds of systems on board, in all kinds of scenarios and in a realistic training environment. So it is a real challenge to define a design that will be a balance between aspects like realism, function, adaptability and ease-of-use. The concept we are currently working on should be an acceptable compromise between trainee-required similarity to the real ship and instructor-required ease-of-use and configurability.

This requires a lot of experience and knowledge from Jelle and the team, which he commented on: ‘Fortunately, my past experiences in naval automation at RH Marine (formerly Imtech Marine & Offshore) and shipbuilding and project management at Damen Shipyards help me to understand the project process, the naval language and most of the technical aspects. I am also very glad that I get a lot of collaboration from Willem van den Esker (project lead software), Bert Tuijl (project lead hardware) and many other excellent people within VSTEP! This interesting project is getting all the necessary support and attention from everyone involved.”

“We have around 2 years to go, but based on the past six months, I am confident VSTEP and the parties we are working with, will be able to deliver the best naval training centre possible.” – Jelle concludes confidently.


VSTEP makes sure that you are prepared for real-life situations with our leading solutions for maritime simulation and virtual training. Our state-of-the-art and cutting edge products allow you to train your skills for every scenario possible in a practical, cost effective and sustainable way. We are a Dutch based and ISO9001:2015 certified company. Stay up-to-date about the developments at VSTEP by subscribing to our newsletter or follow us on Linkedin.

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