G-Suit Systems

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in ACME News, Dynamic Motion Seats, G-Suits | 0 comments

ACME G-Suit Compression System. Mask Air Available.

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.

ACME-DMS-G-Suit-System

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.

Ejection Seat Trainer

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017 in ACME News, Dynamic Motion Seats, Ejection Trainers, Press Releases | 0 comments

ACME DMS for Ejection Seat Trainers

ACME DMS for Ejection Seat Trainers

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.

ACME-Ejection-Seat-Trainers

Why Demand Realistic Recoil?

Posted by on Jan 16, 2017 in ACME News, Gun Active Recoil (GAR®), Press Releases, Realistic Recoil | 0 comments

ACME GAR® for Realistic Recoil Gun Training

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.

 

ACME-GAR-Gun-Realistic-Recoil

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 I/ITSEC 2016 ACME Booths 660 & 665

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in ACME News, Dynamic Motion Seats, Press Releases, Trade Shows | 0 comments

ON DISPLAY I/ITSEC 2016 ACME Booths 660 & 665

On Display at I/ITSEC 2016 – ACME Booths 660 & 665 – M-2HB .50 Caliber Gun Simulator

ACME-200wide-Media-GAR-M2ACME 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,.

Operation Blended Warrior – ACME 2016

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in ACME News, Dynamic Motion Seats, Gun Active Recoil (GAR®), Press Releases, Trade Shows | 0 comments

ACME Participating in Operation Blended Warrior 2016

blended_warrior_web2The 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.

By the Numbers-Dynamic Motion Seats

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in ACME News, Dynamic Motion Seats, Press Releases | 0 comments

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.

FIST2FAC: Future of Navy Combat Training?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in ACME News, Gun Active Recoil (GAR®), US Navy | 0 comments

For Immediate Release: April 11, 2016
By Warren Duffie, Office of Naval Research

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.”

FIST2FAC-2016-220x150

ACME Worldwide Gun Active Recoil (GAR®) System

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.

Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications
875 N. Randolph St., #1225-D
Arlington, Va., 22203-1771
Office: (703) 696-5031
Fax: (703) 696-5940
E-mail: onrpublicaffairs@navy.mil
Web: www.onr.navy.mil
Facebook: www.facebook.com/officeofnavalresearch

CH-147F Training Program Takes Flight

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in ACME News, CAE USA, Gun Active Recoil (GAR®), Press Releases | 0 comments

CH-147 Image credit: Boeing.

CH-147 Image credit: Boeing.

CH-147F Training Program Takes Flight
The RCAF CH-147F Aircrew Training Centre was declared ready for training last September. Group Editor Marty Kauchak journeyed to Garrison Petawawa, Ontario soon after and filed this report.

The Chinook “F” training system is significant from a service perspective – it is a foundation of the RCAF Simulation Strategy.

Canada’s Department of National Defense has completed its acquisition of 15 advanced, multi-mission Medium-to-Heavy Lift helicopters, designated CH-147F, the Canadian version of the Boeing F-model Chinook. The CA$5.0 billion acquisition and in-service support program for the CH-147F fleet helps position the Canadian Armed Forces as a first-class, modern, flexible force capable of defending Canada and the nation’s interests at home and overseas well into the future.

Canada took delivery of the 15th and final Chinook in July 2014.

The CH-147F program declared initial operating capability in February 2015 and remains on course to achieve final operational capability (FOC) in July 2017. The linchpin of the service’s ability to achieve FOC is the unheralded C-147F training system supporting 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS) at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario.

More important the CH-147F training strategy enables flight crews and technicians to provide operationally ready rotary aircraft, which Lieutenant-Colonel Chris McKenna, the 450 THS’ commanding officer, pointed out – and said Boeing would agree “are the most advanced Chinook helicopters currently flying.”

CH147-Maintenance-Trainer-Sims

CH-147 Sims Photo Courtesy: CAE

Overview
A collaborative effort between industry and the RCAF customer enables the operation and maintenance of the world-class Aircrew Training Centre (ATC) and Maintenance Training Centre that provide accession and follow-on training for the Chinook fleet’s personnel. The world-class descriptor is not used casually in this instance given the domestic and foreign missions the training system supports. LCol McKenna explained that his squadron can contribute CH-147Fs to his service’s aviation battalion, which may operate at home or deploy overseas. “One expectation is that we may need to sustain rotation after rotation, much like we did in Afghanistan for instance. So I must have a depth of field in terms of qualified and trained aircrews,” he said. The ATC was declared ready for training last September 24, three weeks before this author’s trip to the garrison. The Maintenance Training Centre opened some six months before that. Technician and aircrew training were in progress during this visit.

About 80 contractor personnel are on Boeing- and CAE-led teams at the squadron. Boeing, in its capacity as original equipment manufacturer, provided air- crew and technician initial cadre training, and remains responsible for the maintainers’ training program. For its part, CAE delivers ground-based and simulator based CH-147F aircrew training.

Maintenance Training Centre
The CH-147F maintenance training system combines learning technologies and hands-on training to support a capable rotary aircraft that comes with 30 specific Canadian modifications. Boeing technicians at Summit Aviation, a Greenwich AeroGroup company, in Middletown, Delaware, provided initial“F” model training in structure and engines, and avionics. Last February, two 3.5 month technician accession courses, one in aviation systems and the other in avionics, commenced at 450 THS in Boeing-furnished classrooms and a decommissioned MH- 47E chassis, re-roled into a maintenance training station (MTS), also delivered by Boeing.  The portions of the technicians’ syllabus completed in high-tech classrooms use a mix of technologies including an integrated display screen, essentially a 60-in. touchscreen that fully simulates the Chinook down to literally every screw, nut and wire.

Other maintenance learning is supported on what the 450 THS calls its “16th airplane” – the MH-47E chassis. The chassis is used as an MTS to provide hands-on instruction. The squadron CO added “You can practice the removal of engines, blades, transmissions and other components and do all of the other tasks Chinook technicians do as part of the RCAF Chinook maintenance program.”

General Dynamics and L3 Link are on subcontract to Boeing to maintain the MTS’ tools and parts, and provide other MTS system and materiel support. One maintenance training return on investment (ROI) can be gleaned from this training device supporting instruction for the two courses up to eight hours a day with the potential to surge to 16 hours if needed. Concurrency is always an important attribute of any aviation platform training program. For the CH-147F fleet, Boeing’s Integrated Technical Publication and its supporting technician courseware must be updated within 90 days of an aircraft change.

CH147-Maintenance-Trainer-Students

CH147-Maintenance-Trainer-Students Photo Courtesy: CAE

Aircrew Training Centre
CH-147F accession pilots arrive at ATC with a wide array of operational experience. On the high end, that may be more than 2,000 hours in RCAF legacy rotary aircraft, with many of those hours accumulated on missions in Afghanistan. Conversely, other students may be newly minted pilots who graduated from RCAF Phase III flight training with about 230 flight hours. Aspiring Chinook flight officers initially complete a four week ground school, which is very focused on systems and the aircraft mission system in particular. The prospective pilot then completes 4.5 months of flying lessons consisting of 50 sorties divided up between 30 in the simulator and 20 live fly.

“We have a rigorous 24 month process with which we can advance and progress a young co-pilot who graduates from the CAE-delivered course, to get upgraded to aircraft captain,” McKenna said. The CH-147F aviator will have about 600 flight hours at that career benchmark.

Sixty percent of the aircrews’ current syllabus is completed through simulation and other learning technologies; the remaining 40% by live fly missions. Of note, the RCAF designed the CH-147F aircrew training program to be supported up though 95% by learning technology. While the existing instructional mix is self-imposed by the 1 Wing’s leadership, the 450’s commander noted, “We do have all of the device-based lessons. If we wanted to cycle the program further into simulation we can turn up that rheostat to a much higher level of sim, but we need to do a few things first – delivering a couple of courses to make us comfortable with what we are teaching in the sim and on the flight line”. The 450 THS is also about to embark on an effort to gather and deliver flight data for CAE’s use in helping to further increase the amount of training delivered in its four devices.

RCAF has purchased courseware from CAE for first officer, loadmaster and flight engineer training. A gunnery course to begin this spring will prepare loadmaster, flight engineers and even Army personnel augmented for the air- craft protection mission. On the CH-147F community’s horizon, an aircraft captain upgrade course will ensure the individual truly understands the systems in the aircraft. The squadron commander noted, “It is very sim focused. It is also unique in tactical aviation as we have never had a formal aircraft captaincy course. Finally this will be a professional delivery at the right time to ensure the young aviators are at the right level of knowledge and experience before we upgrade them. Normally you wouldn’t find that out until they potentially failed the check ride. Now we will know – now we will absolutely know that when they come out of that captaincy course and when we put them on a check ride that they will succeed.” And finally, a maintenance test pilot course is scheduled for delivery to the RCAF this spring.

Technology Overview
CAE has delivered four training devices as part of its 20-year service support contract for this program. The weapon systems trainer (WST) is a full-motion, full-mission simulator with a six-degree-of-freedom (DOF) motion system, 3-DOF vibration platform, 200 x 60 degree field-of-view (FOV) visual display system, and the Medallion-6000 image generator with Common Database architecture.

McKenna pointed out the Common Database architecture is common to all four ATC training devices, and the training systems supporting the RCAF’s CC-130 Hercules fleet and other aircraft. He added, “Once we are able to enterprise these sims together we will be in the same environment.”

Moog supplied the WST actuators to CAE. A tactical flight training device (TFTD) is identical to the WST with the exception of its fixed-base. LCol McKenna noted that while he loves motion in a training system “the graphics in this device are so amazing that I personally really don’t notice the lack of motion.” The ATC infrastructure housing the TFTD can sup- port the upgrade of the device to a full motion configuration. This enhancement is not currently programmed.

Rockwell Collins UK furnished the mylar domes in the WST and TFTD. The RCAF is taking a page from the playbook of the training systems for the US CV-22 Osprey and other aircraft fleets by field- ing a Deployable TFTD (DTFTD) for the CH-147F fleet. The service invested in the device to sustain the skills of pilots while deployed as well as to support mission rehearsal events. Of note, the device is fitted with a classroom behind the training device to support mission rehearsal activities.

The DTFTD can be transported in one aircraft and can then be setup and operational in 48-72 hours. A 450 THS-initiated, internal proof of concept for the device was scheduled for late 2015 at Wainwright Garrison, Alberta.

A fourth device, an integrated gunnery trainer (IGT), will provide training for door gunners, loadmasters and flight engineers. The 180 x 95 degree FOV system supplements the ability to network the device with the WST and TFDT.

McKenna cited the IGT’s initial ROIs, noting the challenges in obtaining range time for CH-147F live fire events and the cost savings from not using live ammunition. “This is a massive enabler from my point of view. And we don’t think this is only a Chinook device,” leaving open the possibility other type rotary aircraft crews can train in it.

ACME Worldwide provided the IGT’s reconfigurable fuselage and enclosure, lighting, replica weapons, and mounts to CAE. Porta-King delivered the IGT shelter. CAE has provided other technologies to the 450 THS end user. Of particular note, a tactical control center ingrates all four training devices. Additionally, CAE has provided a NVG Simulation/Trainer, four virtual simulation-based classrooms and other products. Night Readiness is a supplier to CAE for the NVG Simulation Trainer.

Training Envelope
The squadron CO summarized how the ATC’s training infrastructure has expanded his community’s training readiness envelope. In one mission scenario, three separate 450 THS crews in three separate training devices can conduct a day/night, three-ship air assault using NVGs. “They are linked in the same environment. They can ‘see’ each other in that same environment. And they can use the IGT sim and plug it into the back end of one of the other three devices and the gunner is now part of that crew. This is a level of mission rehearsal simulation capability I have never seen in my career.”

The squadron commander later reflected on the reality of CH-147F operations – with Chinooks often flying at formation, pilots on NVGs, usually at 140 kts at 50 ft (15 m) above tree canopies, and opened the door for further community discussion on the mix of sims and live flights in the training pipeline. “This is very tactile work. We’re not an airline. And how much simulation you can use to get a guy to that point is up for debate on the world stage right now.” While McKenna asserted that he had never seen simulation “this good” he cautioned, “We can do more but need to get the data sets and decide what more we can do and grow it methodically based on that data.”

Rotorcraft Gunnery

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in ACME News, CAE USA, Gun Active Recoil (GAR®), Press Releases | 0 comments

Simulated and live-fire training systems improve weapons performance by helicopter crews.

Publisher October 13, 2015 – By Henry Canaday, MT2 Correspondent

Like the platforms on which they ride, helicopter guns have a wide range of missions, playing decisive roles in situations from insertions to extractions and close-in support of deployed units. Training helicopter gunners is thus both vital to effective airborne operations and challenging in its variety and scope.

Similarly, training systems for rotorcraft weaponry also vary across several dimensions. Some systems train only gunners, while others train whole rotorcraft crews. Some specialize in specific models and weapons, while others stretch across many platforms. Some devices replicate the full sight, sound and feel of chopper operations, while others focus on the critical visual images.

AVT Simulation, for example, offers rotary wing collective training and training for front-seat co-pilot/gunners on the AH-64 Apache. “We make everything from lower- to high-end fidelity systems,” said Kevin Vizzarri, vice president of business development.

AVT’s Apache Gaming Peripheral replicates the front seat of the AH-64 using Virtual Battle Space gaming. It is USB-driven, with real grips, switches and triggers. The Recurring Skills Trainer-Gunner, meanwhile, trains students on such front-seat procedures as using fire-control radar, threat file-sharing, remote Hellfire engagement and laser designation. It lets them fly with an unmanned aerial vehicle wingman in manned/unmanned teaming mode with a remote control station.

At the top of AVT’s suite is the Combined Aircrew Mission Task Trainer (CAMTT), which trains multiple operators of AH-64s and UH-60 Blackhawks on a virtual battlefield. AVT is now integrating CH-47 Chinooks into CAMTT. This trainer is especially good at training mission leaders and mission rehearsal, according to company executives.

“All our training solutions are part of the same CAMTT family—scalable, interoperable and tailorable,” Vizzarri stressed. “And they train in collective operations.”

Although CAMTT handles other helicopters, training Apache gunners is AVT’s specialty. As a development contractor for the Army’s Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, AVT knows most current aircraft in the inventory.

Some organizations want full-motion simulators, with hydraulics and panoramic views, but these can be extremely expensive. AVT makes more affordable simulators that use realistic interfaces and a screen that focuses on the view in front of the gunner, all in a small footprint.

AVT is now getting more into the gaming approach to training, looking at laser and other technologies and developing the ability to change terrain without shutting down training devices, all while staying affordable and within small footprints. The company is rolling out an Apache gunnery trainer that combines realistic gaming with training in specific skills.

 

Live Fire

There are also non-simulation approaches to training, however, such as the one pursued by Inter-Coastal Electronics (ICE), which makes training, telemetry and test instrumentation that collects, processes, transmits and records data from live-fire training. “Our focus is live training, with modest exposure to virtual programs,” explained Gregory Kraak, vice president of business development.

ICE makes the Aviation Tactical Engagement Simulation System (TESS), which enables aircrews to practice live-weapon engagements and combined-arms training without firing a round. Aviation TESS is used by all three Army Combat Training Centers and many home stations.

Aviation TESS provides integrated, instrumented training for force-on-force and force-on-target collective training events. It integrates trainees into a network infrastructure via telemetry antennas that transmit live feeds across many players and sites, and automatically adjudicates results of live, virtual and constructive fire. Combining TESS with onboard aircraft gun video and ICE’s advanced software yields real-time monitoring of training events and
engagements.

ICE has extensive experience instrumenting different aircraft, including AH-64, UH-60, CH-47, OH-58D Kiowa and UH-72 Lakota. It is a provider of air-to-ground instrumentation and live-training for aviation crews. The company’s Modular Smart Onboard Data Interface Module (MSMODIM) interfaces with air and ground vehicles and is the primary component of TESS.

MSMODIM interfaces electronically with aircraft weapons to simulate weapons engagements, monitor performance and locate positions. It tracks, records and transmits data for real-time observation and after-action reviews. It computes solutions for Hellfire missiles, semi-active lasers, 30 mm guns and rockets. Targets are selected from an onboard database, and each weapon’s impact footprint and effects are judged probabilistically. ICE is now developing an advanced SMODIM compatible with MSMODIM but significantly enhanced.

The Army is now adding offensive capabilities to opposing-force UH-72s at its Combat Training Centers. UH-60 and CH-47 crews are asking for offensive capabilities, specifically door gunners, so ICE is self-funding prototype development for this capability. It is focused on instrumenting M240H machine guns, which are standard-issue for UH and CH door gunners.

ICE intends to expand its solution to other platforms, weapons and capabilities. “Our solution will include a gun-mounted camera that measures weapon effectiveness and records effects of rounds on ground-based targets,” Kraak noted. “A mechanical design has been developed and initial testing on the M240H has been performed.”

 

Visual, Aural and Tactile

CAE offers comprehensive door-gunner training with visual, aural and tactile cues, explained Global Business Development Director Phil Perey. Its reconfigurable gunnery trainer provides both window- and ramp-gunner positions with a single display system. For integrated crew training, CAE also offers gunner training as part of its rear-crew trainer.

“Both solutions provide direct, transferable training for gunner/scanner crew positions,” Perey said. “Integrated gunnery trainers provide real-time, designated normal aircraft scanning and gunnery procedures.”

CAE services include analysis of training needs and media analysis, designing visual databases and integration of gunnery trainers with other training devices.

The company’s trainers can simulate the operational environment of any helicopter and be configured for any gunning position or cabin environment, Perey said, adding that the company recently delivered a CH-47 gunnery trainer to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

CAE’s gunnery trainers are designed with pilots, co-pilots, gunners and other rear crew in mind. They can be networked with other state-of-the-art simulation devices to enhance mission training. For example, the CH-47 gunnery trainer is routinely networked to a full-mission simulator, a fixed-base training device and a deployable tactical flight trainer.

CAE gunnery trainers work with night-vision displays, night-vision goggles and multi-ship operations. They include a range of simulated weapons to help train for weapon malfunctions and simulate drag effects of weapons protruding into slip streams. CAE is considering incorporating vibration and motion cues and wind simulation in its
gunnery trainers.

Acme Worldwide Enterprises was part of CAE’s CH-147 Integrated Gunnery Trainer (IGT) team for the RCAF. Acme provided the reconfigurable fuselage and enclosure, lighting, replica weapons and mounts. The IGT includes the company’s high-fidelity replica machine guns and all-electric recoil system, which feel and function like actual guns with full recoil.

 

Rear Cabin Training

Havelsan’s Rear Cabin Trainer (RCT) combines modular hardware, virtual reality and simulation software in a cost-effective training system, according to Program Manager Hakan Karapinar. The RCT has a mock-up of the rear cabin of the AgustaWestland AW139, operated by about 18 militaries, and NHIndustries NH90, flown by many European forces. It can be reconfigured for different training tasks such as apertures, weapon mounts and communications, and can be moved as needed.

For training rear crew, the RCT has two visual systems: a head-mounted display for up to two rear-crew stations, and a 180-by-40 degree out-the-window field-of-view dome for training in crew-served weapons.

The RCT offers a range of door gunnery options, and Havelsan can simulate different weapons with a high degree of fidelity. Training can be done in virtual-reality-only mode or with the aid of 80-degree dome projection. Both systems use customized software for tracers, ground effects and gun models.

For crew-served weapons training, the RCT has a dummy weapon with compressor-powered recoil or simulated recoil. The shoot-on-screen projection dome offers better peripheral vision and unobstructed operation of the simulated crew-served weapon. RCT’s realistic weather effects include wind, rain, dust, brownout and fog. It simulates night-vision and thermal images and many terrain types.

Havelsan also offers a long-range missile system simulator, LORAMISS, for training pilots in firing air-to-surface missiles from helicopters to surface targets like tanks and buildings. LORAMISS simulates the complete missile system with a partial helicopter simulator.

The partial helicopter simulator has simulated aviation instruments such as pedals and multi-functional display (MFD) screens that display pitch, roll, bearing, speed, altitude and remaining fuel. LORAMISS’s missile controls simulate selecting missiles, searching targets, locking to targets, breaking locks and firing. It uses an out-the-window view with the help of image generators that also generate an infrared seeker view of the missile on an MFD screen.

Havelsan is currently acquiring a company called Quantum3D, which will initially offer the parent firm’s products, including LORAMISS, RCT and Armament System Simulation, according to Scott MacDougall, a company spokesman. Over time, the combined firms will offer many new training products.

LORAMISS includes an instructor/operator station (IOS) console, MacDougall noted. “Using IOS, the trainer can design the scenario and let the pilot play it. Targets and own-ship can be placed anywhere on the simulation area.”

 

Stand-Alone or Networked

Kratos Training Systems offers a range of gunner-training tools to achieve the right fidelity for each training phase, said Senior Vice President Jose Diaz. It makes systems for many rotorcraft, reconfigurable for helmet-mounted displays, as well as projection-based and motion-based training. Solutions can be stand-alone gunner training or networked full-crew systems.

Kratos systems train gunners by simulating multiple weapons and their ammunition, and train in communication and crew coordination through all flight phases. Kratos makes fully integrated systems for the H-60, H-53 Stallion, H-47 and UH-1 Iroquois that train in gunnery using either projections or helmet-mounted displays.

In 2014, Kratos was on a team chosen to deliver four MH-60R Seahawk Naval Aircrew Training Systems and four MH-60S Aircrew Virtual Environment Trainer devices for the Naval Air Systems Command. The devices train MH-60 crew in several tasks, including gunnery.

Kratos is now adding augmented reality to gunnery training, Diaz explained, so that “artificial information about the environment and objects in it can be overlaid onto the real world.” It has integrated augmented reality into helmet mounted displays, allowing trainees to immerse themselves in higher-fidelity environments and perform tasks not feasible or realistic in virtual reality.

Kratos will expand helmet-mounted displays from single to multiple positions and operate them in networked distributed mission operations environments. It is looking at virtual databases and image generators in commercial markets, and is enhancing realism with odor simulation, climate-changing environments and vibrations.

Pathfinder Systems Inc. (PSI) offers high-fidelity trainers for initial and continued-proficiency training for rotorcraft crew chiefs, gunners and loadmasters. PSI trainers support multiple aircraft, so crew can train for different platforms in one simulator. Engine sounds, aerodynamic noise and weapon fire are used for realistic training.

The Army contracted with PSI to build a Non-rated Crew Member Trainer (NCMT) for UH-60 and CH-47 crews. The NCMT has two trainers in a 53-foot expandable tractor-trailer and does gunnery training, among other tasks. PSI has delivered crew trainers and simulation to the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and several European nations.

PSI’s Coast Guard Aircrew Weapons Trainer is a motion-based simulator training for various weapons on either MH-60Cs or MH-60Js. Its Marine Common Aircrew Trainer-Prototype 2 is used by Marines to train CH-53E, MV-22B Osprey and UH-1Y gunners and other crew.

PSI is now making it easier to convert trainers among aircraft and improving weapon simulations, noted Sheila Jaszlics, the company’s president.

 

Simulation Fidelity

Thales pioneered military-helicopter training, and its product portfolio ranges from task trainers to full-mission simulators, said Joël Flinois, helicopter simulation line manager, adding, “More than 110 helicopter simulators have been delivered to customers in 25 countries.”

Thales offers three main helicopter trainers. Its Full-Mission Simulator (FMS) trains gunners in technical and tactical skills and mission preparation. FMS provides the highest level of fidelity in weapon and sensor simulation. Sagittarius Evolution offers simulation-based training for door gunners in gunnery skills and communication. Tracers, ballistics and down wash are included in simulations. Finally, the Helicopter Mission Trainer is a multi-platform tactical training system that trains gunners and other crew very cost-effectively in tactical skills.

Thales also helps operate French, German and Australian schools for Tiger attack helicopters, a U.K. school for the Westland Lynx and a German school for the NH90. Thales trainers support all type of combat helicopters, including Chinooks. Sagittarius equipment supports CH-53s, CH-47s and other rotorcraft. Tiger FMSs replicate many different rockets and missiles, including Hellfires and laser-guided missiles, and are used in a virtual environment managed by Thales Computer’s Generated Forces system.

Sagittarius trainers account for the effects of moving platforms on ballistics and can be combined with other simulators to jointly train dismounted soldiers and helicopter gunners, Flinois said. FMS trainers simulate all motion, vibration and visual cues with a large field of view (240 by 90 degrees). Thales can generate visual databases for any country needed and simulate tactical environments with hundreds of actors.

Flinois predicted that the future will see more networked simulators to train gunners collectively in realistic environments, as well as better integration of human factors in simulators. Augmented reality for live training will also become more important.

 

Kinesthetic Cues

D-BOX makes a motion system for simulators that gives helicopter gunners the feel of their aircraft. “Kinesthetic cues enable helicopter gunners to know how aircraft are behaving and understand their state,” explained Senior Marketing Director Sébastien Lozé.

Relying on physical sensations in training is essential, Lozé noted, especially in patrolling at low altitudes and complex tactical situations. Trainees develop reflexes to communicate when visual and audio communications are degraded by loud noise, explosions, night or rotor wash. Gunners rely on balance and their feel for helicopter movements.

D-BOX motion system has been integrated by Thales, BlueDrop and other partners for helicopter gunner training. “There is no limit to the type of helicopter we can support,” Lozé stressed. “If your software can generate movements and vibrations accurately, we can bring them to the real world and make gunners feel them. Trainees anticipate movements of aircraft and keep their aim efficiently.”

D-BOX systems are easily deployed and have small footprints. Thales used D-BOX equipment to bring a new level of realism to airborne gunner training. “The benefit of D-BOX is that all you need is a very simple mount with a gun on it and you’ll be up and running. That can’t be done with a classic hexapod platform because it lacks the deployability that D-BOX offers,” observed Marco Zender, Thales product manager.

“We bring finesse to motion systems that is very hard to obtain otherwise,” Lozé said.

D-BOX’s integration with Presagis’s HeliSIM delivers realism not found in other COTS motion simulators, said Stephane Roy, president of Roy Aircraft & Avionic Simulation.

“D-BOX vibrations bring the mechanical feel of the helicopter. When we flew the Blackhawk and the Chinook in this simulator, we could even tell which type of aircraft we were piloting based on the subtlety of motion and vibration cueing. D-BOX is the only small simulation motion solution that can provide the accuracy and frequency to mimic the movement of a helicopter up to 100 Hz of vibration,” Roy said.

Cadet researchers take a ‘front seat’ to improve pilot training

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in ACME News, Dynamic Motion Seats, Military, US Air Force | 0 comments

by Jennifer Green-Lanchoney
U.S. Air Force Academy Office of Research

Cadet 1st Class Cody Haggin uses a dynamic motion seat in the Air Force Academy's Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center Oct. 23, 2015. The seat is part of a three-year study to test how using a dynamic motion seat can improve flight training. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Cadet 1st Class Cody Haggin uses a dynamic motion seat in the Air Force Academy’s Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center Oct. 23, 2015. The seat is part of a three-year study to test how using a dynamic motion seat can improve flight training. (U.S. Air Force photo)

12/2/2015 – U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Cadet researchers at the Air Force Academy are studying the latest technology in motion-cueing seats to improve pilot training.

As a result of a Cooperative Research and Development agreement with ACME-Worldwide Enterprises, the Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center at the Academy was given a dynamic motion seat that will help cadets in the study.

“This simulated motion seat allows us to investigate enhancements to our current cadet flight training programs,” said Lt. Col. Christopher McClernon, research center deputy director for WERC. “We can put students through training in the simulator and then test their real-world performance at the airfield.”

Ken Levandoski, ACME’s business development manager, said simulated flight training is a standard requirement for pilots, but the cadets’ research stands out because of the technology’s ability to simulate real-life flight training on the ground.

“When something malfunctions, you really don’t want the first time they feel it to be in a plane,” he said. “The seat will also give you onset cues. Your body will feel that onset so you know instantly what is happening to the aircraft.”

Cadets in the program are on the ground floor of making this technology a reality, said Cadet 1st Class Jordan Read, a systems engineering major.

“It is our job to build the simulator around the chair,” Read said. “We get trained to weld but that’s the thing with systems engineering. We dabble in all areas, but our focus is human factors, where the project largely lies.”

Cadets are expected to finalize their research methods and be ready to study how training with motion cueing affects cadets’ performance in a powered flight class at the Academy airfield.

“The powered flight class takes cadets who have no experience flying, gives them 10 lessons, and then they are expected to fly solo at the end of it,” Read said. “What we are trying to prove is can we get cadets to fly solo at the eighth lesson instead of the 10th.”

McClernon said the published results of the study will be sent to the Air Force Research Laboratory and several Defense Department contractors.

“From those results, we can hopefully build more efficient training systems that are a better use of our tax payer’s money and produce better pilots,” he said.