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Simulated Military Equipment
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Simulated Military Equipment

For fielding in simulation training facilities, MetaVR™ Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™) works with simulated military equipment used by forward air controllers (FACs), or Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs), to illuminate targets for aircraft and artillery strike.

When a device such as a simulated laser designator or target locator is coupled with VRSG, VRSG generates the simulated sensor video 3D scene and the range and coordinates of the designated target. When an operator laser designates a target, a DIS PDU is transmitted to indicate the range designation information to other simulations on the network.

Emulated hardware

Two simulated target locators that interoperate with VRSG are the SOFLAM and Mark VIIE emulators from Knight Eagle Technologies. Knight Eagle Technologies specializes in integrating the actual, simulated, and emulated equipment in fully immersive VR training environments.

SOFLAM emulator

Northrop Grumman's Special Operations Forces Laser Acquisition Marker (SOFLAM) is a lightweight integrated laser designator and rangefinder that provides Special Operations Forces personnel the capability to locate and designate critical enemy targets for destruction using laser-guided ordnance. This target designator and marker can be easily carried by one person and can be operated remotely. This rugged and reliable tactical laser was used by Special Operations Forces, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, and Forward Air Controllers under difficult wartime conditions to designate high value and time sensitive targets for precision munitions engagement in both Afghanistan and Iraq.


Knight Eagle's SOFLAM emulator with its VRSG view shown on the laptop, and the same VRSG view through the emulated SOFLAM lens.

Knight Eagle Technologies' SOFLAM emulator has an accurate housing design; the design is taken directly from the Northrop Grumman SOFLAM device. As result, the emulator has the size, weight, and feel of the actual device. The emulated device also has simulated basic lasing and ranging features of the actual SOFLAM with a minimum of power consumption.

Equipped with the latest design in display and signaling technologies the emulator's display system utilizes digital (DVI) inputs and the display resolution is a true 1280 x 1024 SXGA resolution. The cables to the devices are smaller than previously seen in industry, which minimize distraction in the training environment. The unit can be equipped with a 3DOF or 6DOF tracking sensor.

Below are images of Northrop Grumman's actual SOFLAM device (left), the SOFLAM  emulator (center), and MetaVR's 3D model of the device (right).

Northrop Grumman's SOFLAM unit, Knight Eagle Technologies' SOFLAM emulator, and MetaVR's 3D model of the SOFLAM.
Photos courtesy of Northrop Grumman and Knight Eagle Technologies.

The emulator requires no interface or device drivers to use it with VRSG. This plug-and-play device simply requires a USB connection plus a DVI connector for video. The device offers several programmable buttons. VRSG uses the Microsoft Human Interface Device (HID) protocol via DirectInput to instrument the embedded tracker and map buttons to the SOFLAM's primary ranging and designating functions.

Mark VIIE emulator

Northrop Grumman's Mark VIIE hand-held target locator (shown below on the left) can accurately identify enemy positions and locations during the day or at night. An enhanced version of the Mark VII eyesafe laser rangefinder, the Mark VIIE has an embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) to provide precision target location and improved target location error without the weight or size of a separate GPS device. The Mark VIIE provides both direct view day optics and a thermal sight for nighttime operations. It can be used to conduct surveillance and target enemy positions for air or artillery engagement.

  Northrop Grumman's Mark VIIE target locator. The Mark VIIE emulator from Knight Eagle Technologies.
  A soldier using the Mark VIIE target locator. Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman. The Mark VIIE emulator.

Below are images of Northrop Grumman's actual Mark VIIE Hand-Held Target Locator (left), the Mark VIIE emulator (center), and MetaVR's 3D model of the device (right).

Northrop Grumman's Mark VIIE unit, Knight Eagle Technologies' Mark VIIE emulator, and MetaVR's 3D model of the Mark VIIE.
Photos courtesy of Northrop Grumman and Knight Eagle Technologies.

Knight Eagle's Mark VIIE emulator has an accurate housing design -- taken directly from the Mark VIIE Handheld Target Locator. As result, the emulator has the size, weight, and feel of the actual device. The emulated device also has the total feature set of the Mark VIIE. The emulator's display system utilizes a digital (DVI) input and the display resolution is a true 1280 x 1024 SXGA resolution. The unit can be equipped with a 3DOF or 6DOF tracking sensor.

  Mark VIIE emulator control panel. Buttons on the Mark VIIE emulator.
  Emulator control panel showing the two buttons mapped for ranging and designating in VRSG. Buttons on the Mark VIIE emulator, showing the two buttons that are mapped for ranging and designating in VRSG.

The emulator requires no interface or device drivers to use it with VRSG. This plug-and-play device simply requires a USB connection plus a DVI connector for video. The device offers four programmable buttons, plus a z-axis control. VRSG uses the Microsoft Human Interface Device (HID) protocol via DirectInput to instrument the embedded tracker and map two of the buttons to ranging and designating functions.

MetaVR VRSG running on a 50" plasma display and a desktop system in JTAC mode, and the same scene as viewed through Knight Eagle's Mark VIIE emulator.
On the left: VRSG running on a 50" plasma display and a desktop system in JTAC mode. On the right: The same scene as viewed through the Mark VIIE emulator.

Notional emulated hardware

A notional emulated hardware device that interoperates with VRSG is the NVIS Ranger 47. This virtual binocular is a hand-held display designed for handling a variety of training and simulation tasks. The Ranger 47 features dual SXGA OLED microdisplays with focus-adjustable eyepieces displaying a 47-degree diagonal field-of-view (36H x 28V). The device also includes a central hinge for IPD adjustments.

  Stereopsis is supported via two independent video inputs. A small external mounting plate on the bottom of the Ranger 47 accommodates standard motion trackers, such as the Intersense InertiaCube4. In addition to power and brightness buttons, the Ranger 47 provides four programmable USB joystick compatible buttons, plus a z-axis scroll wheel.

As shown in the image on the right, the buttons are programmed to map to VRSG FAC or JTAC functions such as ranging, designating, cycling the visual spectrum (DayTV, IR hot, IR black, and NVG), and cycling the coordinate system displayed for ranging and designating (Lat/Lon and MGRS).
    The Ranger 47 device. (Photo courtesy of NVIS.)

 

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