Australian DSTO's Land Operations/Simulation divisionThis is supposedly a true
story from a recent Defence Science Lectures Series, as related by the head of
the Australian DSTO's Land Operations/Simulation division.
They've been working on some really nifty virtual reality simulators, the case
in point being to incorporate Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters into exercises
(from the data fusion point of view). Most of the people they employ on this
sort of thing are ex- (or future) computer game programmers. Anyway, as part of
the reality parameters, they include things like trees and animals. For the
Australian simulation they included kangaroos. In particular, they had to model
kangaroo movements and reactions to helicopters (since hordes of disturbed
kangaroos might well give away a helicopter's position).
Being good programmers, they just stole some code (which was originally used to
model infantry detachments reactions under the same stimuli), and changed the
mapped icon, the speed parameters, etc. The first time they've gone to
demonstrate this to some visiting Americans, the hotshot pilots have decided to
get "down and dirty" with the virtual kangaroos. So, they buzz them, and watch
them scatter. The visiting Americans nod appreciatively... then gape as the
kangaroos duck around a hill, and launch about two dozen Stinger missiles at the
hapless helicopter. Programmers look rather embarrassed at forgetting to remove
*that* part of the infantry coding... and Americans leave muttering comments
about not wanting to mess with the Aussie wildlife...
As an addendum, simulator pilots from that point onwards avoided kangaroos like
the plague, just like they were meant to do in the first place...