Military Technology 02/2022

14 · MT 2/2022 Theme: Training and Simulation The PTMT with Varjo XR-3 mixed-reality headset and Battlespace Simulations MACE software. (MVRsimulation) JTAC simulation market last year, leaving a significant gap in our sales pipeline, as both organisations built simulators based upon our technology. In response, we decided to build our own product, featuring capability we knew our users wanted: we were emboldened to deliver a better product, at lower costs, with a much higher rate of innovation. It’s risky: but our customers have been incredibly supportive as they see a company trying to do the right thing by the warfighter. MilTech: Any recent examples of success for smaller companies providing innovative solutions? GS: Our Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) is part of a package to upgrade NATO JTAC simulator equipment in Slovenia and Latvia. This work is being led by DefenseTek Solutions, which focuses on supporting JTAC simulators – it will conduct system rehost and hardware technical refresh for the simulators and then support them going forward. The technical refresh will include updates to VRSG and Battlespace Simulations’ MACE computer-­ generated/semi-automated forces software. The Latvian JTAC training site renewed seven VRSG licenses last August. As our software is provided on a license basis, the customer has a direct channel to our engineers, meaning we can respond instantly to requirements for new terrain areas of interest or 3Dmodels; and we are upgrading our 3D terrain of the whole of Latvia using 25cm open-source imagery. This includes compiling the high-resolution imagery into 3D terrain, using our Terrain Tools plugin for ESRI’s ArcGIS software and building high-fidelity geospecific areas of interest populated with buildings, roads, vegetation and dams of the Keguma Hydroelectric Power Station. The Slovenian Armed Forces Air Ground Operations School (AGOS) renewed seven VRSG licenses and one Terrain Tools license this January. Another example is the USAF Academy’s new Multi-Domain Laboratory in Colorado. It uses 100 VRSG licenses in flight simulators and simulated remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) ground control stations, where it provides the ‘out-the-window’ and radar views for the former and sensor views in the latter. Here, VRSG is used together with technology from other companies, including ZedaSoft, supporting training in strategic, joint environments by providing a geospecific, 3D world in which participants can train in a way that reflects the reality of real-world missions. MilTech: How do your new simulator systems fit in here? GS: In a similar same way, except here we also provide the simulator hardware in addition to VRSG. In 2021, we delivered 30 of our new fixedwing PTMTs and 54 VRSG licenses for fighter pilot training to NATO’s TLP in Spain – the leading centre for Allied Air Forces’ tactical training and development of knowledge and leadership skills. With a fully integrated aluminium cockpit shell, touch screen displays for pilot interaction, and an ‘out-the-window’ view on adjustable curved displays, the PTMT is designed to maximise suspension of disbelief for trainee pilots while they train mission tactics and coordination in a networked environment. The PTMTs are SAF-agnostic, and the TLP uses them with BSI’s MACE software. MilTech: ‘Coalitions of the willing’ seem to constitute a rising trend in military training and simulation, with smaller companies banding together to solve training challenges. What does this mean and how does it work? GS: The current manifestation is that a collection of small companies agrees to coordinate and build a new simulator, bypassing the primes. In particular, we work directly with the end user to obtain requirements, then embark on developing a simulator purely as an R&D effort. We then present the joint solution to the end user, offering the option to purchase as a pure COTS product. Typically, we deliver a product and continue joint development to further enhance the product once in the customer’s hands, all for the original fixed delivery price. These rapid turnaround enhancements enable our joint solutions to further meet end user needs, with development driven by subject matter experts. There is higher up-front cost for both us and our partners for such development: in the end, however, our products end up being very focused and the resulting capabilities provide us a significant competitive advantage. For instance, when we decided to make cockpit shells for aircraft simulators, we started with a plywood mockup, progressing through three prototypes, culminating in an all-welded aluminium structure, with a reconfigurable joystick, for 4th- and 5th-generation cockpits. This was significantly driven by the end user and resulted in a sale for 30 Part Task Mission Trainer (PTMT) to the USAF, as part of NATO’s Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) in Albacete, Spain. When we started this process, we had never built a cockpit shell – now we have a new product line. We have embarked on a very similar effort in building our deployable Joint Tactical Air Controller (JTAC) simulator – our manufacturing partner helped us develop a replacement for the standard plastic ruggedised container by developing a welded aluminium shipping container, purpose-built to size and weight configurations to meet our customer needs. MilTech: What is driving this shift from MVRsimulation’s perspective? GS: The overarching driver for much of the defense simulation industry is the enormous inefficiency in government contracting, further exacerbated by consolidation of the market through mergers and acquisition. In the case of our JTAC simulator, we saw two significant prime vendors exit the Partnering for Progress An Interview with Garth Smith – President, MVRsimulation ´ f