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MetaVR VRSG in Various Fidelity Options for JTAC Simulation Training

There are several ways you can simulate the functionality needed for Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) warfighter training in close air support (CAS) exercises, using MetaVR's software. This page describes several such JTAC simulation (forward air controller simulation) options; the hierarchy of options that are described increase in functionality and fidelity ranging from desktop systems to dome systems.


The simplest setup is a desktop simulation running MetaVR™ Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™) as a first person shooter in JTAC mode with a Logitech gamepad, as shown:

 VRSG IN FPS and JTAC MODE with simulated devices

A more complex desktop simulation setup offering a higher fidelity training experience is the option described above, with one or more simulated devices, connected to the Iowa Air National Guard Distributed Training Operations Center (DTOC) for Distributed Mission Operations. An example of this setup is shown below. Devices could be a ROVER device, and a second computer running the FalconView PC-based mapping application that displays a map of the same area. (Also shown on the desk are ASTI VOIP handheld terminals that simulate radios.) The ROVER feed is from a second VRSG session which regenerates UAV payload information locally from the DTOC, and then streams the VRSG real-time MPEG feed to the ROVER. The DTOC provides real-time threats and UAV feeds.

 VRSG IN FPS and JTAC MODE with simulated target designators

A further desktop simulation setup is the option described above, used with one or more simulated target designator devices. Shown in the image below is an example of generic virtual binoculars.

                               Desktop images of the Air National Guard Simulation Lab courtesy of
                               the U.S. Air National Guard. Images may have been edited for clarity.

 MetaVR and BSI's Desktop JTAC Simulator

Building on the configuration described above, but offering a more robust CAS training environment, is the MetaVR/BSI JTAC desktop simulator, a collaborative effort of Battlespace Simulations (BSI), and MetaVR. This JTAC simulator is comprised of BSI's Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) entity generator and MetaVR’s VRSG and is ideally suited for both standalone mission rehearsal and distributed mission simulation. Students can train on a virtual battlefield with close air support interfaces, such as 9-Line, 5-Line, and Call for Fire. Additional VRSG channels are available in the form of a monocular/binocular used for laser range finding and target designation with a simulated SOFLAM or Mark VIIE laser range finder/laser designator as well as a full motion video ROVER-type feed for external targeting information.

The JTAC desktop simulator with role player station, instructor station, and JTAC trainee station.

This desktop JTAC simulator has a variety of Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) tools, including DIS radios and a DIS recorder for recording and AAR/playback of missions. The instructor can control all constructive entities (including attacking aircraft and artillery), as well as ground entities and threats. This simulator has been granted accreditation by the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee for JTAC training 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.

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.

 Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System (AJTS)

Offering an immersive environment with a partial dome display to replace the desktop display, is the Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System (AJTS), a collaborative effort of QuantaDyn, BSI, MetaVR, and others. This accredited training system combines the ability to train in an immersive dome with analogous functionality for training at the desktop.

The U.S. Air National Guard has begun fielding this system, developed further in collaboration with USAF Trainer Development Division, as the Air National Guard Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System (AAJTS).

AAJTS prototype at Close Air Support Conference 2013.

prototype dome simulator at the Close Air Support Conference in London, October 2103. Photo courtesy of Battlespace Simulations.


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, developed at AFRL, are called Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training Rehearsal System (JTAC TRS), and were built and installed in 2007 at the AFRL site in Mesa, AZ, and then moved to Wright-Patterson AFB in 2012. These JTAC dome simulators are the precursors to the next generation JTAC dome training systems currently fielded or in production today, such as the AAJTS described above. 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.

The JTAC TRS uses 19 VRSG channels, 14 of which are for the dome itself: 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 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 for an instructor operator (IOS) station. The simulated hardware components match the actual hardware devices (such as target designation) in form and function.

JTAC virtual trainer dome using MetaVR visualization software.
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. Images courtesy of Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).

This DIS/HLA compliant system interoperates with legacy systems and provides the capability to network with other air and ground simulators, including A-10 and F-16 FMTs.

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

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