Remember riding in a car when you were a kid and you would put your hand out the window? You could hold your hand flat and zoom your arm up and down like an airplane. Or you might hold your hand flat against the wind, relax your arm and just let the air blow your arm back. Those same airstream forces work on the barrel of a machine gun poking out from a helicopter door or window. That 3 or 4 foot long gun barrel is a major windbreak. The airstream on the barrels push the weapon just like your hand out the
car window when you were a kid. And, the faster the helicopter flies and the more barrel exposed to the airstream, the more torque on the weapon. Helicopter gunners must counter the airstream forces. They must overcome the force to sweep the gun onto the target and hold it there. They have to adapt to the change in force too as the helicopter slows or turns to block the airstream on the weapon. Gunners must engage the target, adapt to the airstream forces, and overcome the changes to keep on the target.
It’s engage, adapt, and overcome.
Realistic weapon training with the variable windloading forces is available for helicopter gunners using ACME’s replica weapon systems. ACME’s replica helicopter weapon systems can be equipped with Aerodynamic Torque Systems that replicate the windloading force on the barrels. The Aerodynamic Torque System is built right into the simulated aircraft weapon mount and hidden from the gunner’s view. The system uses flight model data from the simulator and weapon position to calculate the forces applied to the replica weapon. ACME bases the Aerodynamic Torque System force on data we have from in-flight helicopter tests. The force can be tuned to match Subject Matter Experts expectations too. ACME’s Aerodynamic Torque System is available for any replica helicopter weapon type on any aircraft mount. Ramp mounted guns don’t include windloading as the weapons are shielded from the airstream forces by the aircraft fuselage. ACME has a full range of helicopter mount designs available with windloading – no design costs for our Commercial-Off-The-Shelf mounts. Helicopter gunners can get realistic training with ACME’s realistic weapons, realistic recoil and realistic windloading. Call ACME for details.
When many people think of a military flight simulators they envision the bulbous enclosure on the gigantic hydraulic legs. Sure, motion platforms are one type of flight simulator. But, there’s a vast range of trainers that are not that complex and not that expensive. There are trainers available that fit right into your standard classroom or even in your offices. These ‘right-sized’ trainers can meet your training needs and your budget.
There’s Many Training Options
Right-Sized Flight Simulators Sophisticated training is possible with just a small cockpit enclosure, realistic controls and instruments, and motion cueing to emulate the feel of flight. For example, the DTT trainer shown on this page is from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The simple cockpit shell is filled with virtual instrument displays and high-fidelity controls. The trainer uses a sophisticated F-16 flight model coupled to wrap around monitors and ACME’s Dynamic Motion Seat for cueing. It’s a convincing, right-sized, right-priced F-16 trainer. AFRL used this trainer to conduct extensive pilot training testing. It’s been digitally linked to other simulators too allowing the pilot in this trainer to ‘fly’ with or against pilots in the same training facility or across the country. It has even been used to fly simulated missions virtually alongside real aircraft flying actual missions. The U.S. Air Force Academy is using a similar but simpler cockpit system with ACME’s motion seat to train cadets in their Systems Engineering classes and to evaluate pilot training tasks. Right-sized simulators can accomplish a range of training tasks. Smaller simulators with motion seats are invaluable for instrument flight trainers where the pilot learns to feel the aircraft but to trust the instruments. Or, smaller trainers can be used for ingress or egress trainers teaching maintenance and flight crews to safely enter and exit the cockpit. Smaller part-task-trainers can train tasks like switchology, and coupled with motion can emulate the challenges of seeing some instruments or controls while under heavy maneuvers.
Crews can buckle right into the True Q® seat just as they would in the aircraft. Pitch, roll and yaw are just a start to the cueing capability. The motion seat can include vertical and horizontal acceleration cues too and vibrations and buffets. Special effects like the feel of flaps or gear extending are possible. So are ground taxiing cues like surface textures, skids, or even flat tires. You can even feel the jet taxiing over the expansion joints between concrete sections of the flight line. It’s that sophisticated!
The Right Motion Seat is Available for Any Light Attack Jet Trainer
Many light jets have a pilot and an observer or weapon officer in the cockpit. The same arrangement is easily possible in a small trainer. ACME’s motion seats support the tandem crew trainer with a special, cost-reducing capability. A single True Q® motion seat computer can drive two ACME motion seats in the same trainer. This advantage reduces overall acquisition and long-term support costs. ACME can help with the right motion seat for your right-sized, right-priced, light attack trainer. The motion seat provides exceptional cueing capability as key component in the trainer.
Machine guns are wonders of engineering. They handle hundred of rounds per minute and thousands of rounds over a lifetime. They deal with the massive heat and gas pressure as the rounds fire. And, they operate in the toughest environments and can be exposed to shock, damage, or wear. Really, they’re pretty dependable. But, what happens when the weapon won’t fire? Worse, what happens when your weapon won’t fire but the enemy’s weapon will fire?
Weapons can malfunction in many ways. Each malfunction requires specific responses. When does the soldier learn to deal with the malfunctions? How? Many malfunctions can be dangerous. Live weapons can’t have the malfunction induced. There are procedures manuals and dry fire drills that work through the remedial steps. But, those don’t show exactly that the remedial action worked and the weapon can truly fire again. Many defense services use simulated weapon trainers for general shooting training or marksmanship. Often, the trainers don’t include the potential malfunctions. In many weapon simulators, the machine gun always works perfectly. It doesn’t matter how many rounds are ‘fired’ or how hot or dirty an actual weapon would be if used as it is in the simulator. Guns do jam in the real world. Soldiers must be able to overcome a weapon malfunction. Lives may be counting on that weapon working. Real training in the simulator with realistic malfunctions is key. It’s the safe, effective way to practice.
Think about malfunctions when considering a replica weapon training system. Training both normal operations and malfunctions builds capable gunners in the field. Consider the following when looking at gunnery trainers. The key for training malfunctions is having both malfunctions and remedial actions. The student should be able to identify the problem and resolve it. The system must include sensors to monitor the weapon status and gunner actions. The system must include logic to clear the malfunction only after corrective actions. The instructor should be able to confirm the remedial actions. The instructor should have capability to monitor the student and the weapon status remotely. It’s key to have both capabilities. Training starts with the instructor teaching right over-the-shoulder. It moves to remote observation where skilled students operate solo. The weapon system should support both training types.
Fighter jets operate in a dynamic world of banks, climbs, dives, rolls, vibrations, shudders. The jet continuously changes accelerations and G-forces. G-loads are an inseparable part of the fighter environment. Pilots use the cues from the motion, pressure, and vibrations to fly the jet. The flight sensations are part of the pilot’s awareness of the jet’s status and situation. And, G-suit pressure is a companion to the G-loads in flight. Outside of the centrifuge, there is no way to apply flight G-loads to the crew in the simulator. But, G-suit pressure is an excellent way to train sustained G-cues. In flight, G load is either constant, increasing, or decreasing. The pressure in the G-suit starts at specific loads then varies according to G-Load above the pressure onset.
Thus, the varying pressure can be used to cue varying G’s in the simulator. Since the crew knows G-load at the onset pressure for the suit, the crew has a baseline cue. Increasing pressure above the G-suit onset signals that G’s are increasing. Decreasing suit pressure signals decreasing G-loads. The G-Suit pressure scale in the simulator mirrors the pressure scale in the aircraft. So, the amount of pressure in the suit signals the specific G-load. And, specific G’s are training cues. Specific or targeted G-Loads are often elements of the fighter mission. For example, pop-ups from nape of the earth to target, and ordnance release might be limited to specific G-loads. Roll outs from the target or the overhead break in the airfield pattern can also be g-specific. G-Suit pressures can cue the specific G-loads for training.
In fighters, speed (energy) is life. G-Cues can help maintain energy.
In the simulator, it’s easy to lose the sensation of the energy drop in heavy maneuvers. This can lead to holding tight turns until airspeed bleeds off to dangerous levels. Poor energy management habits learned in the simulator can be transferred to the jet. G-suit pressures help reinforce the maneuver’s effects on energy in the simulator. ACME’s G-Suit System for simulators provides exceptional cueing for G-loads. The system is designed as a drop-in option for ACME’s fighter type Dynamic Motion Seats. It’s also available
as a stand-alone system for simulators. ACME’s G-suit system is a complete, turn-key option including compressors, valves, filters, and tanks. Systems are available to support differing needs. The system can support a single G-suit. Another configuration supports twin pilot copilot G-suits working together in the same simulator. Systems can even support multiple, independent G-suits in different simulators. The system uses pressure and vacuum components to rapidly inflate and deflate the G-suit in response to simulated G-forces. The G-suit pressures in the simulator system match the same proportional scale as the G-suit in the jet. The system uses the same computer that drives the motion seat. Integral software translates simulator acceleration signals into specific G-suit pressures.
ACME’s Dynamic Motion Seats are the perfect way to add motion cues to fighter cockpit trainers. Customers can answer other training needs with the seats too. True Q® seats are great trainers for ingress/egress and ejection training. The key is the realism of the seats. ACME reproduces the look and the feel of the actual ejection seats in the True Q® motion seats. The true-to-life fidelity provides the highest level of training. Pull/push forces, and travel distances for levers, handles, and knobs are like those in the jet. Colors, textures, rigidity are like the actual seat too. ACME uses a range of actual aircraft components such as the harnesses, buckles, connectors, restraints and cushions to maximize fidelity. We use Martin-Baker design data under license to ensure the seats are just like those in the aircraft.
Pull the trigger on any firearm and you will immediately understand Newton’s law about equal and opposite reactions. Recoil is an inseparable part of shooting. It instantly affects how you engage the target. And the effects are amplified for machine guns. Each machine gun round changes the lay of fire. Recoil makes the barrel on a .50 caliber dance as the weapon fires. Add on the long effective range of the weapon and that barrel dance means rounds can fan wildly as they streak down range. Gunners must constantly adjust to the recoil and re-engage the target. Fact is, training with recoil is critical.
Most machine gun simulators don’t even have recoil. It’s simple: put sights on the target and shoot happily certain that you’ll stay on target all the time. But, it’s utterly unrealistic…just a simple video game. Some machine gun simulators provide ‘notional’ recoil. These guns may buzz a bit or lightly pop-pop-pop using compressed gas. And gas systems just don’t provide high rates of fire or realistic recoil. The idea is that notional recoil reinforces the cue when the gunner fires. But, notional recoil doesn’t really disrupt the weapon sight picture or drive the weapon off target when firing. Gunners might need to make only minimal adjustments for the recoil. These systems are also unrealistic, and worse, negative training for the gunners. Full-force machine gun recoil training is rarer. Realistic recoil is usually accomplished with blank rounds fired through the real weapon. This does produce realistic recoil effects. It also produces a dirty gun and requires stocks of ammunition as well as actual weapons. Using real weapons levies range and weapon safety demands, plus secure storage issues. Real weapons and blanks are not suited for indoor training and are very loud. But, what about a machine gun trainer that provides full force recoil at full rate of fire? One that can be used indoors and provides realistic recoil effects? A system that teaches gunners what to expect when the machine gun fires and the need to re-engage targets. A system that can be used for multiple weapons types and on aircraft, vehicle, or naval mounts?
ACME’S Gun Active Recoil Unit (GAR®) is a patented, electro-mechanical system that replicates the recoil intensity of the actual weapon when firing. It’s full-force recoil at full rate of fire for machine guns. The GAR® system does not require blanks or pneumatic charges – it simply plugs into an electrical outlet. GARs® don’t cycle the bolt inside the weapon for each recoil. It’s designed to work seamlessly with ACME’s ultra-high fidelity replica non-guns. ACME has recoil systems for M2, Mk19, M240, M60, GAU-18, XM218, GAU-21, and even the GAU-17 and M134 mini-guns. ACME has COTS GAR® mounts – no design needed – for a wide range of helicopters (doors, windows, and ramps) as well as vehicles and boats. GARs® can be set to provide exact azimuth and elevation so the field of fire is as-actual. The powerful GAR® system enables machine gunners to finally train realistically. It’s training with the right recoil and the right rate of fire using dependable electric power.
On Display at I/ITSEC 2016 – ACME Booths 660 & 665 – M-2HB .50 Caliber Gun Simulator
ACME Worldwide’s (www.acme-worldwide.com) M-2HB .50 caliber machine gun simulator with full force Gun Active Recoil (GAR®) system will be on display as part of Operation Blended Warrior (OBW) Read More, paired with selected technology developed as part of the Office of Naval Research Fast Attack Craft/Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FAC-FIAC) Integrated Training proof-of-concept (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=kb1lZKcmL5E); Camber Corporation (www.camber.com) was the project’s software/hardware integrator and developed the visual scenes as well as software integration with ACME’s gun simulator; Automated Artificial Intelligence behavior models to control both friendly units and opposing force threats in the scenario are a product of Discovery Machine, Inc (DMI) (www.DiscoveryMachine.com). IMMY, Inc. (www.immyinc.com) will provide a high definition, visual display using their state-of-the-art, Generation 8 Natural Eye Optic (NEO)R Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) wrap-around glasses that boast an amazing 60 degree field of view.
On Display at I/ITSEC 2016 – ACME Booth 660 – F-15 Fighter and NH-90 Helicopter Dynamic Motion Seats
ACME Worldwide’s (www.acme-worldwide.com) NH-90 Dynamic Motion Seat will be on display,.
ACME Participating in Operation Blended Warrior 2016
The National Training & Simulation Association (NTSA) is serving as the sponsor for a Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) special event otherwise known as Operation Blended Warrior (OBW) that is being planned for the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference 2016 (I/ITSEC ’16), 28 Nov – 2 Dec, at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), Orlando, Florida. This marks the second year of a planned multi-year event. The first event was successfully demonstrated during I/ITSEC ’15 and included 31 industry and government participants, networked across twenty-two booths on the exhibit floor. In addition to working through connectivity and interoperability issues, I/ITSEC ’15 raised awareness regarding standards, after-action review, and cyber. At I/ITSEC ‘15, OBW was demonstrated using a Humanitarian Assistance scenario during five 90-minute blocks of time, with each block
consisting of three 30-minute vignettes, based on a fictitious country using Southern California as the operating area. For I/ITSEC ’16, these areas will continue to be emphasized as well as emphasizing multilevel security/cross-domain solutions (MLS/CDS) and performance measurements.
Additionally, I/ITSEC ’16 will be open to both US and coalition partners, and may include
remote/long-haul connectivity to the exhibit floor. Coalition participation will be limited to NATO/ANZUS countries and the number of international participants will be limited to 12 or less. Preference will be given to those that will be on the I/ITSEC exhibit floor. The over-arching objectives of OBW include documenting lessons-learned and facilitating identification of hindrances to achieving a true interoperable, plug-and-play environment associated with distributed training. This will allow for development of a strategy for overcoming these hindrances for future distributed training events. The event will consist of multiple exhibit floor vignettes showcasing government and industry distributed simulation capabilities.
Proven Products, Ready Now
Prototypes (or new production designs) begin at step one. Design Step 1 is also Cost Step 1 and there’s lots more potential cost steps ahead on the production highway.
Even for the highest quality products, new designs often need refinement or corrections. Prototypes – the first production asset – need integration and testing. And any issues must be corrected before the asset is ready for release to the world. Sometimes new designs need new tooling or processes for manufacturing the new asset. New designs need new tests and supporting documentation. New designs equal new tests, documents, engineering, more tweaks and corrections. It’s new, new, new, more, more, more… all of which means costs to the customer.
Why bear development costs if a proven production version is available?
Save yourself and your company time, money, and effort: buy the production version, not the prototype.
ACME has proven, production versions of its True-Q® Dynamic Motion Seat systems that cut development costs. But you may ask: What products? Proven by whom? Since when?
Let’s look at the numbers!
11 years of ACME Seats – ACME has designed and produced Dynamic Motion Seats for more than a decade. ACME knows motion seats!
96 Motion Seats Delivered- That’s a lot of seats out there, in use everyday, training crews.
14 Nations use ACME Motion Seats – ACME motion seats are used worldwide. No need to be a lone test case for another vendor. With ACME, you’ll join an international community using True Q® Dynamic Motion Seats.
4 US Military Services Use ACME Motion Seats – Air Force, Navy, Army, and Coast Guard have long used ACME motion seats in their training simulators.
9 Helicopter Seats – ACME makes nine different types of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) helicopter seats. That’s nine proven products –not prototypes, not engineering designs. Customers can purchase each version by part number without incurring engineering development costs.
6 Fighter Jet Seats – Just like the helicopter seats, these are proven production versions that require no engineering or design effort. These are full fidelity seats that look, feel, and function like the real ejection seats. In many cases, ACME builds the seats from the original ejection seat OEM data under license.
11 Major Customers – Eleven different, major prime contractors have chosen ACME True Q® Dynamic Motion Seats. Several customers have chosen ACME repeatedly, over many years, for multiple simulator orders.
Custom Solutions for Custom Needs
But, sometimes, a specialized motion seat solution is needed. ACME can design and build custom seat systems and types to fit any needs. Even here, customers can save costs with proven, not prototype systems. Each of ACME’s motion seats use the same patented technology at their core. The outer shape of the seat may change but the proven core components – motors, linkages, electronics and software systems – are similar.
So what can this core motion technology be used for? Let’s go look at the numbers again.
24 Different Customer Requests – Customers worldwide have asked ACME for Dynamic Motion Seats. The customer base grows daily.
26 Different seat types proposed– Often customers request unique solutions for motion seat systems. ACME has proposed 26 different types of seat systems. And the requests are not limited to aviation applications. The True Q® technology is great for other vehicles, too. Here’s some examples of customer requests:
2 Locomotive Seats – Locomotive engineer training benefits from realistic cueing too! ACME created motion seats for two different locomotive simulators. We can use this expertise to help with your rail vehicle cueing needs.
Seacraft – The sea is an ever-changing environment. It’s one that can go from safe to threatening in a moment. Feeling the sea state is a key for many maritime trainers. ACME has proposed seats for submersibles, hovercraft, ships, and boats.
Wheeled Vehicles – Customers have a wide range of requests for wheeled vehicles. ACME has seat production versions and designs to answer each need. Customer have asked for seats for buses, cars, military trucks, and even race cars.
ARLINGTON, Va.—Lookouts on the bridge of the USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112) scanned the surrounding ocean. All seemed well—clear skies, peaceful waters, busy merchant ship traffic.
Suddenly, a swarm of small fast-attack boats buzzed toward the destroyer. Within moments, a machine gunner shot withering streams of 50-caliber bullets at the approaching enemies, forcing their retreat.
This wasn’t a real attack on an American ship, but a tribute to the realism of the Fleet Integrated Simulation Technology Testing Facility (FIST2FAC)—which develops, tests and demonstrates simulator training technology blending live-action exercises with virtual assets and adversaries.
“This is the future of training for the Navy,” said Dr. Terry Allard, head of the Warfighter Performance Department at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). “With simulation, you can explore endless possibilities without the expense and logistical challenges of putting hundreds of ships at sea and aircraft in the sky.”
Recently, ONR—with support from members of its Reserve Component—demonstrated new and improved training technology at FIST2FAC, located on Ford Island, Hawaii. FIST2FAC combines a hassle-free setup, software and gaming technology to help naval forces develop strategies for diverse missions and operations. It allows Sailors to interact with artificially intelligent forces in countless virtual settings—and train for multiple missions simultaneously. The system can replicate situations involving aircraft carriers, helicopters (in this case, a squadron from Marine Corps Base Hawaii), lethal and nonlethal weapons, and more.“FIST2FAC was created in response to an urgent need for a more portable way for ships to train in any given operating area,” said Glenn White, ONR’s integration and transition manager for the project. “It allows Sailors to ‘train like they fight’ by presenting realistic forces in a visual, tactical and operational environment.”
During the demonstration on Ford Island, Sailors manning a virtual ship were pitted against several fast-attack craft in waters crowded with merchant traffic. They quickly determined the boats to be hostile and engaged them with machine-gun fire from both the ship and a virtual helicopter.
FIST2FAC, which was developed with support from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport Division, has demonstrated simulator technology since 2010. The latest event showcased improved capabilities and new enhancements to FIST2FAC training simulators:
— The bridge of the USS Michael Murphy, docked at nearby Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, was equipped with an array of computer screens and big-screen television monitors—allowing it to engage in virtual combat scenarios while maintaining contact with Ford Island.
— Sailors operating the ACME Worldwide Gun Active Recoil (GAR®) Simulated 50-caliber machine gun on the ship wore augmented-reality glasses, enabling them to see virtual enemy combatants within a live physical setting.
— Participants on Ford Island and the destroyer experienced degraded radar, video streaming and communications, mirroring the effects of an enemy jamming communication signals.
— A virtual adversary vocally hailed the participants, speaking in a foreign language as well as broken English.
White said the technology demonstrated at FIST2FAC is a valuable tool for the Navy for two main reasons—savings and security.
The software is reusable and can be modified for different environments. By comparison, it costs about $250,000 just to get an aircraft carrier out for live training—and approximately $6 million to fuel a strike group for a week. A live event lasting six to 10 hours may cost a million dollars.
The ability to recreate so many combat scenarios anywhere also is useful in training for any challenge a ship might face worldwide—from vessel maintenance to landing a fighter jet to navigating hostile waters.
Currently, FIST2FAC is shore based, but one day White wants to make the capabilities developed there available to ships at sea. “The ultimate goal is to wrap a destroyer in an augmented world where everyone throughout the ship can see virtual vessels, aircraft and adversaries and train to respond appropriately.”
Warren Duffie is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.
Office of Naval Research Turns 70
ONR celebrates 70 years of innovation in 2016. For seven decades, ONR through its commands—including ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.—has been leading the discovery, development and delivery of technology innovations for the Navy and Marine Corps.