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MetaVR VRSG Provides Visuals for JTAC Simulation

MetaVR's Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™) is used in various configurations to simulate the functionality needed for joint terminal attack controller (JTAC), forward air controller (FAC), and forward observer (FO) warfighter training in close air support (CAS) exercises, ranging from desktop systems to dome systems.

AAJTS dome simulator at Hulman Field Air National Guard Base, Terre Haute International Airport, for the Indiana Air National Guard 113th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS). (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

U.S. Navy Combined Arms Virtual Environment (CAVE) immersive simulator

The U.S. Navy is using MetaVR visuals in its Combined Arms Virtual Environment (CAVE) training dome and desktop systems. The CAVE training system provides an immersive, large field-of-view partial dome display for sea-and land-based  Navy and U.S Marine Corps individual and team training in supporting arms and close air support.

The CAVE system at EWTGPAC San Diego, with MetaVR visuals, terrain, and 3D content, and BSI MACE and other products. Featured in the curved display is VRSG rendering MetaVR's geospecific Kismayo, Somalia, terrain.

Designed and built by Battlespace Simulations (BSI),  the CAVE is comprised of BSI MACE and MetaVR VRSG software in student desktop stations in a partial dome, an instructor/operator station, a role-player station, and a supporting arms station in an adjoining classroom. The CAVE systems are used for initial qualification and currency training for Naval Special Warfare, Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, and Marine Corps joint terminal attack controllers (JTACS) and joint fires observers (JFOs).

U.S. Air Force Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System (JTC TRS)

MetaVR was chosen as the 3D real-time visualization provider in the award of the Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System (JTC TRS) contract to QuantaDyn Corporation by Department of the U.S. Air Force – Air Force Material Command. This award supersedes a limited contract for the JTC TRS program that the U.S. Air Force awarded to Fidelity Technologies in February 2009.

In April 2018, QuantaDyn completed installation of the JTC TRS at the Distributed Mission Operations Center (DMOC) located at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. The 705th Combat Training Squadron at the DMOC has used VRSG since 1997 in the training they deliver to prepare warfighters for combat in joint and coalition environments. This delivery marks the 23rd JTC TRS device fielded, with additional systems planned for delivery in 2018 and 2019.

Earllier in 2018, QuantaDyn installed the JTC TRS at Hurlburt Field, FL, for the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron (STS). They also converted a legacy AAJTS system previously installed at Hurlburt’s Special Tactics Training Squadron (STTS) to the JTC TRS, upgrading it to current technologies. These two JTC TRS systems at Hurlburt Field are the 17th and 18th systems QuantaDyn has delivered in the last year.

The JTC TRS at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Warrior Preparation Center, Einsiedlerhof Air Station, Germany, November 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer.)

This partial dome simulator, which uses MetaVR visual channels, geospecific 3D terrain, and culture and entity models, immerses the joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) or forward air controller (FAC) trainee in a 3D real-time virtual battlefield. These close air support simulators can be connected to the U.S. Air Force A-10 Full Mission Trainers (FMT) which are already standardized on MetaVR 3D visuals.

In November 2017, the USAF Europe (USAFE) unveiled its new JTC TRS installed at the Warrior Preparation Center at Einsiedlerhof Air Station, Germany. The simulator helps train service members and airmen in the USAFE-AFAFRICA theater in the tactics and procedures used for coordinating close air support missions from forward positions. The Warrior Preparation Center plans to use the dome simulator in their future large-scale exercises, such as the Spartan Eagle quarterly coalition event which includes JTACs in Europe as well as airmen stationed in the US.

USAF site acceptance testing of the JTC TRS at Ft. Benning, GA, in 2016. (Photo courtesy of QuantaDyn.)

The JTC TRS solution under contract is comprised of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components including QuantaDyn's DIScover, Immersive Display Solutions' immersive dome display system, Battlespace Simulations' (BSI's) MACE, and MetaVR's VRSG, which provides the out-the-window and sensor visuals for the dome display, a ROVER device, and emulated military equipment.

USAF site acceptance testing of the JTC TRS at Ft. Benning, GA, June 2016. (Photo courtesy of QuantaDyn.)

Under the contract, QuantaDyn initially installed two JTC TRS devices in 2016 with successful completion of USAF site acceptance testing at Fort Benning, GA, the site of the first JTC TRS installation. Three more devices were built and installed in early 2017, followed by a low-rate production contract that was awarded in January 2017 for four more systems. The Air Force has subsequently ordered the full-rate production of 23 additional systems.

JTAC desktop simulator classrooms

The Special Tactics Training Squadron (STTS) simulation facility at Hurlburt Field, FL, uses MetaVR/BSI desktop JTAC simulators in a two-classroom setup with 24 VRSG licenses coupled with BSI’s MACE software.

One of the two classrooms of JTAC desktop simulators at the Special Tactics Training Squadron (STTS)  simulation facility at Hurlburt Field.
One of the two classrooms of JTAC desktop simulators at the Special Tactics Training Squadron (STTS) simulation facility at Hurlburt Field. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

Each classroom consists of eight JTAC student stations, an instructor station, an instructor role-player station, and a NVIS Ranger 47 simulated laser range finder. Each station contains a communications suite on a tablet with BSI’s Viper DIS Radio software to simulate PRC-117, PRC-148, PRC-152 radios, and a ROVER feed of VRSG’s simulated sensor view. Two terrain servers are loaded with MetaVR’s CONUS++, Asia, and Africa terrain datasets and 3D content. The two classrooms share a DIS network, which enable students to collaborate on exercise missions. In 2015, BSI was awarded a contract by Special Operations Command to install the two classrooms with simulators and all new hardware initially at the Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course (SOTACC) facility at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ. The two classrooms were subsequently moved to the STTS facility at Hurlburt Field and installed by BSI in 2017.

AAJTS / AJTS dome simulators at Nellis JTAC Schoolhouse, Hurlburt Field, and other sites

The Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System (AAJTS,or AJTS at non-Air National Guard sites) is a 5-meter, 270 degree FOV training dome system which fully immerses the JTAC trainee in a 3D real-time virtual battlefield. The system, a combined effort of QuantaDyn, USAF Trainer Development Division, BSI, Immersive Display Solutions (IDSI), and MetaVR is comprised of, in part, components provided by BSI (MACE as the CGF/SAF at the instructor operator station and pilot/role-player station), IDSI (5-meter dome with14-channel LED+IR projection system, audio system, and warp/blend) MetaVR (VRSG, geospecific terrain, and models), and ASTi (voice communication and sounds). The system also includes emulated military equipment.

AAJTS installation with MetaVR visuals at Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, MS.
A JTAC with the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron in the AAJTS with MetaVR visuals and Afghanistan virtual terrain at the Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, MS. (Photo: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Sabrina Dalton.)

The partial dome simulator is accredited for types 1, 2, 3 controls for both day and night, and for laser target designation with a simulated military laser device by the US Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG); the system meets or exceeds current STANAG standards.

AAJTS installation with MetaVR visuals at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City.
113th ASOS trainees at AAJTS role player stations at Hulman Field Air National Guard Base, Terre Haute International Airport. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

iCASS JTAC Trainer at UK JTAC Schoolhouse

MetaVR's business partner Close Air Solutions uses VRSG in its Immersive Close Air Support Simulator (iCASS) training system. Since 2015, the iCASS has been in use in the UK’s FAC/JTAC Training Programme, at the Joint Forward Air Control Training and Standardisation Unit (JFACTSU), Royal Air Force Station Leeming, North Yorkshire, England.

Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator at Exercise Terminal Strike 17-1, July 2017. MetaVR's Kismayo terrain is rendered in VRSG on the curved display. (Photo courtesy of Close Air Solutions.)

The iCASS system is a FAC/JTAC simulation system which provides a high-fidelity, immersive training environment with a full after action review (AAR) capability. 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.

JTAC desktop simulation system

Since 2013, 32 Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Combat Command (ACC), and Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) JTAC training sites in the US and abroad took delivery and installation of MetaVR and BSI’s JTAC desktop simulation system. These systems include 10 AFSOC JTAC Simulators (AJS), 20 JTAC/TACP-Operational Simulation Suites (J/T-OSS 2.0) used by Air Combat Command (ACC), a desktop system at the 169th ASOS in Peoria (ANG) and a desktop system at Camp Murray, WA (ANG).

Role player station of the JTAC desktop simulator with BSI MACE shown on the left and MetaVR visuals on the plasma screen in the center and the laptop's sensor view on the right.

These installations followed the accreditation in 2012 of MetaVR and BSI’s JTAC simulation system granted by the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee for JTAC training. The system is accredited for types 1, 2, 3 for both day and night, and for laser target designation with simulated military laser, in accordance with the JTAC Memorandum of Agreement. Type 1 accreditation requires either a head-mounted display (HMD) or a 220+ degree FOV dome display. The JFS ESC accreditation applies to any JTAC simulator that uses VRSG version 5.7 or greater and BSI MACE version 1.0 or greater, such as the AFSOC JTAC trainer, USAF J-T/OSS, AAJTS, JFIRES, and JTAC-TRS prototype systems.

The accreditation followed a demonstration to members of the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) at Hurlburt Field, FL, on May 24, 2012. Initial consideration for this accreditation resulted from a competitive fly-off at Hurlburt Field in August 2011, in which the BSI and MetaVR joint system was ranked the highest among five competing simulation systems in meeting the requirements for JTAC simulators.

This JTAC simulator is comprised of BSI's MACE scenario/entity generator and MetaVR’s VRSG. The system also includes an integrated software based Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) radio, a recording capability for recording and AAR/playback of missions, and a simulated laser range finder/laser designator. The BSI/MetaVR JTAC simulation system, a privately funded COTS solution, enables users to perform training missions on a virtual battlefield with close air support interfaces such as 9-Line, 5-Line, and Call for Fire.

Features that support training missions include physics-based weapons performance, laser target designation, full-motion infrared video feeds, a mission editor, human-level behaviors, path finding, blast effects calculations, complex weather system control, and a robust weapons and entity library. The JTAC system is capable of importing existing military topographic database information to allow operators and instructors to quickly develop scenarios appropriate for mission rehearsal.

This joint effort JTAC simulator is offered as a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) firm fixed price simulator with publicly available pricing, and is available in portable and desktop configurations with a head-mounted display, and as an integrated system with a fully immersive dome

J-T/OSS JTAC desktop simulator at Ft. Riley. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

The BSI/MetaVR system has been fully integrated at several sites, including multiple AFSOC sites such as Special Tactics Training at Hurlburt Field, FL, the Michigan Air National Guard's 4-meter Joint Fires Dome in Grayling, MI, McChord-Lewis Joint Base, Ft. Benning, Pope AFB, Cannon AFB, Kadena Air Base, Japan, Milden Hall RAF, UK and AFRL's JTAC-TRS 5-meter domes, and is currently being developed for additional US and international customers. Several other sites use the simulator through the U.S. Air Combat Command (ACC) under which the system is called the JTAC-TACP/Operational Simulation Suite (J-T/OSS) are listed below.

The US Air Combat Command (ACC) is fielding MetaVR visuals in J-T/OSS, which is used at the US Air Force’s Distributed Mission Operations Center (DMOC) at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) and other sites across the US. Note that VRSG's simulated UAV-produced ROVER feed for the J-T/OSS is through the Air Force Synthetic Environment for Reconnaissance and Surveillance (AFSERS). This system has been chosen by the ACC as the interim solution for the Joint Terminal Controller Training Rehearsal System (JTAC TRS).  J-T/OSS version 2.0 (which includes the accredited MetaVR/BSI JTAC simulator) will be the Interim Distributed Mission Operational (DMO) capable trainer until the JTAC TRS is fielded.

In addition to the DMOC at Kirtland AFB , the J-T/OSS is used for training at multiple sites across the US, including Nellis AFB JTAC Schoolhouse, Joint Base McChord-Lewis, Ft. Hood, Pope, Ft. Carson, Ft. Campbell, Ft. Riley, Scholfield Barracks HI, Ft. Drum, Ft. Benning, Ft. Polk, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK. *

Air National Guard

Air National Guard JTACs initially adopted the use of VRSG for training several years ago when they first developed their own desktop close air support training simulators with MetaVR VRSG in 2009. Trainees used VRSG in a first person shooter mode with a gamepad as the navigation device.

JTAC trainees at the Air National Guard Simulation Lab, shown with VRSG’s simulated UAV camera payload of an area of MetaVR’s Afghanistan database.
JTAC trainees at the Air National Guard Simulation Lab, shown with VRSG’s simulated UAV camera payload of an area of MetaVR’s Afghanistan database. The soldier on the left is wearing a headset that enables a voice interface on a simulated radio over the network. The soldier on the right has a NaturalPoint TrackIR tracker clipped to the brim of his cap. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

JTAC at the Air National Guard Simulation Lab, shown with VRSG’s out-the-window and simulated UAV camera views of an area of MetaVR’s Afghanistan database.
A JTAC at the Air National Guard Simulation Lab, shown with VRSG’s out-the-window and simulated UAV camera views of an area of MetaVR’s Afghanistan database. The soldier has a NaturalPoint TrackIR tracker clipped to the brim of his cap. On the desk sits a simulated laser designator. (Photo courtesy of the Illinois Air National Guard, Peoria, IL.)

This service-developed Air National Guard JTAC simulator helped provide the basis for the ACC to approve MetaVR VRSG for use in simulated JTAC training. With this approval, issued in 2009, the training hours JTACs spend using VRSG contribute to approved simulator training credits for terminal attack control requirements.

Using subject matter experts, the DTOC develops and maintains a series of training scenarios that create simulated threats on the network for the Air National Guard sites. It also creates a Multiple Unified Simulation Environment/Air Force Synthetic Environment for Reconnaissance and Surveillance (MUSE/AFSERS) simulated UAV camera video feed that the Air National Guard uses to jointly simulate a close air support mission on geospecific terrain that correlates across both facilities' simulation applications. The JTAC simulations are fully interoperable with the A-10 Full Mission Trainers, F-16 Air National Guard simulators, the MUSE/AFSERS program, and the Army National Guard UAV trainers, as well as others.

Approximately 30 ASOS sites in the US and overseas use VRSG for JTAC training in first person shooter JTAC mode and via a regeneration station. Networked environments that do not have the bandwidth to handle VRSG’s streaming MPEG (simulated UAV camera video feed) directly set up a UAV regeneration station to capture the streaming MPEG of the VRSG-simulated UAV camera payload video in the form of data packets. These data packets are then regenerated as video, and streamed to another device on a local network, such as a ROVER.

JFIRES at Grayling Air Gunnery Range

The Michigan Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) at the Grayling Air Gunnery Range in Alpena, MI, uses the accredited MetaVR/BSI JTAC solution in its JTAC simulation training system, called the Grayling 4m JFIRES Dome.


The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Warfighter Readiness Research Division, 711th Human Performance Wing, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base uses VRSG in its JTAC training research in three JTAC dome training systems. These three systems, called Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training Rehearsal System (JTAC TRS), were developed and installed in 2007 at the AFRL site in Mesa, AZ, and then moved to Wright-Patterson AFB in 2012. The simulators are the precursors to the next generation JTAC dome training systems currently fielded or in production today. The dome systems provide AFRL with the testbed capability to continue the research and development for training in all facets of CAS and joint fires.

Using MetaVR's visualization software, the JTAC TRS simulator, at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). Inset image shows a view from outside a 360-degree field-of-view dome. (Photos courtesy of AFRL.)
JTAC virtual trainer dome using MetaVR visualization software.

The JTAC TRS system provides a high-fidelity, fully immersive, realistic training and rehearsal environment with real-time sensor, simulator, and database correlation. Its primary focus is to provide a persistent total air-ground virtual training environment for networked air/ground training and mission rehearsals. This prototype system is used to train both JTAC and combat air crews assigned to accomplish complex missions in close proximity to ground forces. The JTAC TRS connects to distributed mission operations networks to enable geographically separated high-fidelity close air support platforms and JTAC and CCT teams to train together. Additionally, the JTAC TRS enables operators to conduct Joint Close Air Support (JCAS) training and mission rehearsal using tailored, dynamic scenarios that are relevant to mission tasking.

JTAC virtual trainer dome
Operator inside AFRL's JTAC training dome, looking through a simulated laser designator. (Photo courtesy of AFRL.)

VRSG view through a simulated laser designator.
VRSG real-time screen capture of a scene on MetaVR's virtual Afghanistan, which the operator on the left sees when looking through the simulated laser designator with embedded 3D graphics hardware. With information such as the laser code, and the target location, this view is the same view as seen in the desktop-based JTAC simulator. The desktop and dome simulators produce the same designator view.

The JTAC TRS simulator built by Lockheed Martin, uses 19 VRSG channels, 14 of which are for the dome itself. There are 7 VRSG channels for 360-degrees around the bottom half of the dome, and another 7 channels for the top half of the dome. The remaining VRSG channels are used for various emulated hand-held command and control (C2) devices inside the dome (binoculars, laser range finders, and so on), a sound channel, and a single AAR/stealth channel. The DIS/HLA compliant system interoperates with legacy systems and provides the capability to network with other air and ground simulators, including simulators of the A-10 program.

* The information on this web page is not an endorsement by the Air Combat Command or the Air National Guard of MetaVR products.

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