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MetaVR VRSG in Close Air Solutions' JTAC Trainer at UK JTAC Schoolhouse

MetaVR's business partner Close Air Solutions announced in 2015 the successful (full day/night) accreditation of its Immersive Close Air Support Simulator (iCASS) training system as part of UK’s FAC/JTAC Training Programme. iCASS was delivered to the Joint Forward Air Control Training and Standardisation Unit (JFACTSU), Royal Air Force Station Leeming, North Yorkshire, England, in partnership with Selex ES (now Leonardo). The iCASS has been accredited by the US Joint Fires Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and NATO AIRCOM (STANAG 3797) to replace up to 8 out of 12 live controls required annually by each qualified FAC/JTAC.

Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator.
Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator at Joint Forward Air Controller Training and Standards Unit (JFACTSU), RAF Leeming, UK. February, 2015.

The iCASS system provides a high-fidelity, immersive training environment featuring a 3 meter 240 x 120 degree FOV immersive dome display from Immersive Display Group and uses MetaVR visuals: 12 Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™) channels for the projected views and simulated laser target designator and range finder devices, geospecific 3D terrain, and 3D model libraries. The system meets DIS/SISO standards.

Close Air Solutions at ITEC'15: iCASS dome with MetaVR VRSG-driven view.   Close Air Solutions at ITEC'15: integrated close air support demo with MetaVR VRSG and with Omnifinity's Omnideck.
Close Air Solutions at ITEC'15: iCASS dome with VRSG-driven view (left) and integrated close air support demo with VRSG and with Omnifinity's Omnideck (right). A post-ITEC summary of the Close Air Solutions demos can be found here.

The iCASS also features computer generated/semi-automated forces and threat generation from MetaVR's business partner Battlespace Simulations' (BSI's) Modern Combat Environment (MACE), which includes CFF, 9-Line, and 5-Line interfaces as well as the virtual pilot station. The iCASS also uses BSI's Viper DIS radio for communications and DIScord DIS recorder for after action review (AAR).

Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator.
Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator at JFACTSU, June 12, 2015, during the official ribbon-cutting ceremony by Air Officer Commanding RAF 1 Group, Air Vice Marshall Gary Waterfall.

Close Air Solutions provides international CAS training and simulation for forward air controllers (FACs), JTACs, aircrew, and the wider military community.

Close Air Solutions scenario rendered in MetaVR VRSG.
Real-time Close Air Solutions scenario rendered in MetaVR VRSG. The scenario takes place at dusk on MetaVR's Kismayo, Somalia, urban training database.

The contract to supply the iCASS was awarded by JFACTSU in November 2014. In February 2015, Close Air Solutions delivered to and installed at the school both an iCASS-240 immersive simulator and an iCASS desktop simulator (similar to the BSI/MetaVR AJS Desktop simulator) with Teleplan Globe's FACNAV Digitally Aided Close Air Support (DACAS) system. Training on both systems began on April 7th.

The simulator is now in use at JFACTSU for training UK FACs/JTACs to the highest possible accreditation standard in Types 1, 2, and 3 terminal attack controls and in air-to-surface fires, and with capabilities for:
- Day and night time (with NVGs during night controls)
- Ground laser target designator
- IR pointer
- Video Downlink
- Surface to surface fires

Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator.
Detail of BSI's Viper DIS Radio (with PRC-117G skin) and VRSG's simulated sensor video feed in Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator.

JFACTSU at RAF Leeming is the only NATO and US Joint Services accredited UK Defence facility for training FACs/JTACs. The JFACTSU currently trains around 100 FACs/JTACs per year from all UK military services (Army, Royal Marines, RAF Regiment, and Special Forces). The installation of the iCASS expands the current training options offered at the school and instructor training on the system is in progress. The iCASS will be in use throughout the JFACTSU curriculum for familiarization, acquisition, practice, and potentially for validation of students.

The initiative behind the development of the iCASS system began with the two Close Air Solutions co-founders, who are former JFACTSU instructors and simulator system architects. During their tenure at the school, they saw the need for students to train on an easy-to-use realistic simulation system.

In 2016, Close Air Solutions was granted Phase 2 funding from the UK Centre for Defence Enterprise to develop their mixed-reality Hyper Real training solution for the joint fires community. In the cost-effective solution, VRSG will supply visuals in a display mounted within a virtual-reality helmet worn by trainees to augment live training on the range.

All photographs except for ITEC'15 photos are courtesy of Close Air Solutions.


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