MetaVR creates 3D real–time environments that provide the fidelity of geospecific simulation with game quality graphics and performance.
In this issue:
48.A – MetaVR Announces VRSG 6.2 With 3D Ocean Simulation
48.B – MetaVR Visuals in Reaper RPA Simulators for AFSOC and AFRL
48.C – MetaVR and Business Partners at I/ITSEC
48.D – Best Programs Category Awarded to MetaVR
MetaVR announces the release of Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) version 6.2, forthcoming in the first quarter of 2017 with 3D ocean simulation. Features include realistic wave motion, multiple sea states, vessel surface motion, 3D wakes, accurate environment reflections, and bathymetry data in our round-earth Metadesic™ terrain format for shoreline wave shape and opacity. MetaVR demonstrated these capabilities at I/ITSEC in booth #1026 with scenarios featuring many naval models from our military model library [see item #48.C].
VRSG version 6.2 supports the blending of multiple microtextures, a terrain feature of the forthcoming release of MetaVR Terrain Tools for Esri® ArcGIS® version 1.4, also due to be released in the first quarter of 2017. An example of blended terrain microtextures could be seen at I/ITSEC in the Camp Pendleton MOUT sites terrain that MetaVR built for the “Operation Blended Warrior” (OBW) LVC event [see item #48.C].
Now shipping is VRSG version 6.1, which provides all the models in MetaVR's 3D content libraries with texture maps that are four times the resolution, in both axes, from models delivered with VRSG v6.0. The inclusion of 170 GB of 6,650 models (including 179 new models since the release of version v6.0 in June 2016) provides a substantially increased benefit to the realism of scenes rendered in VRSG. The new release of Scenario Editor version 1.5 is installed with VRSG version 6.1. MetaVR customers on active maintenance valid through October 31, 2016, can obtain VRSG version 6.1 by downloading the software and model libraries from their account on MetaVR's Download Server. VRSG v6.1 is also delivered on Blu-ray media. (MetaVR will provide a Blu-ray reader as a courtesy to customers who are in need of one to install VRSG v6.1.) Contact MetaVR for further information.
MetaVR has added three new high-resolution areas of interest to the Continental U.S. plus Alaska and Hawaii (CONUS++) terrain:
- High-resolution geospecific Camp Pendleton terrain with two modeled MOUT sites (Combat Town 25 and Kilo 2), which the company recently built for participants in the I/ITSEC OBW LVC event. The 24 sq km virtual round-earth terrain was built with 30 cm per-pixel resolution USGS satellite imagery, 60 cm LIDAR elevation data blended to 10 meter NED, and a geometric ocean shoreline. The MOUT sites feature geolocated 3D content including geospecific models created from publicly available photos and videos. Geospecific buildings are comprised of mobile containers with interiors and concrete buildings with interiors. Other culture includes fences, stones, dumpsters, grass, vegetation, power lines, street signs, climbing structures, bleachers, trees, graveyard, mosque, observation tower, gas station, market area, and a castle. The terrain was built in forthcoming version 1.4 of MetaVR Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS, which has the ability to blend multiple microtextures. For example, the terrain includes built-in roads (dirt, gravel, and paved) with blended microtextures (grass, swale, red clay soil, gravel, brown soil-grass). The terrain also covers large portions of CA, AZ, and NV, using 1 meter per-pixel NAIP imagery (2014-2015) and 10 meter post elevation data. In addition to the two MOUT sites, another area of interest on the terrain is the modeled Los Alamitos (KSLI) airport.
- The Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), Yuma, AZ, 3D terrain was built from 2 cm imagery of the Prospect Square area blended with 30 cm of the rest of the Yuma Proving Ground (YPG). The total area of coverage of this terrain data set, which was built for the Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course (SOTACC) facility, is 57 sq km (within which the Prospect Sq area covers 17 sq km) The 2 cm per-pixel resolution imagery of Prospect Square was captured in November 2015 with MetaVR's small unmanned aerial system (SUAS), the MetaVRC™, flown by Swift Radioplanes in military controlled air space. With both the 2 cm imagery and 2 to 10 meter elevation data, MetaVR compiled full-resolution (2 cm) terrain tiles of Prospect Square. Modeled culture areas of interest are the SOTACC Village MOUT site and Laguna Army Airfield. The MOUT site contains storage containers (many with modeled interiors), fortifications, and other elements from MetaVR's 3D content libraries geolocated on the terrain, totaling in 129 various buildings and other structure models and 1,688 vegetation models. The airfield, built with 30 cm per-pixel imagery, contains a geospecific runway, runway lights, runway signs, two geotypical hangars, and other culture.
- The Albuquerque International Sunport/Kirtland Air Force Base 3D terrain was built from 15 cm per pixel imagery of the airport area and blended into 1 mpp imagery surrounding the area, the underlying imagery of MetaVR's CONUS++ terrain. The terrain's overall elevation was built from DTED1, with interpolated NED 1/9 (3m) for the runway and interpolated NED 1/3 (10m) for the helipad. Culture includes the runway, runway lights, 18 geospecific models of the control tower and other buildings, light poles, storage tanks, and geotypical volumetric trees.
These new terrain datasets are available on MetaVR's CONUS ++ Southwestern region 3D terrain. The CONUS++ 3D terrain, in round-earth Metadesic format, is available for purchase to all MetaVR customers who are on active VRSG software maintenance and are US Government agencies or contractors (for official use only). For US-domestic use only, not available for export. The terrain can be viewed only with a valid VRSG version 6.1 or greater software license with valid software maintenance.
In 2016, 143 new VRSG licenses were sold to unmanned air system (UAS) or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) training programs, adding to nearly 2,500 licenses in use for UAS/RPA sensor operating training.
For well over a decade VRSG has been used in the US Army's UAS training simulators, primarily through the Joint Technology Center/Systems Integration Laboratory's (JSIL's) Multiple Unified Simulation Environment/Air Force Synthetic Environment for Reconnaissance and Surveillance (MUSE/AFSERS) simulation system. Within MUSE/AFSERS, VRSG provides simulated HD video feeds for various intelligence gathering platforms.
A new development effort at JSIL that involves the use of VRSG is the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Reaper Extended Range (ER) Simulator. The simulator, also known as the MALET-JSIL Aircrew Trainer, or MJAT, is a plug-and-play training capability that converts a current tactical MQ-9 Reaper ER ground control station (GCS) into a training simulator. The trainer provides UAS operators the ability to conduct simulation training as part of their qualification and follow-on continuation training to maintain proficiency and currency in all required operator tasks. Like other JSIL-developed UAS trainers, the MJAT simulator uses the MUSE/AFSERS software to stimulate the tactical Vehicle Control software (VCS) to simulate GCS functions: air vehicle control, payload control, weapons control, communications, send and receive video data, and mission planning.
A key feature of VRSG is the ability to stream real-time HD-quality simulated video with KLV metadata using the H.264 protocol, which means that when operators are not flying an actual MQ-9 Reaper ER, they can train by flying the simulated UAS using the same hardware they use to operate the actual system, using the MUSE air vehicle and data link simulation software and VRSG.
UAS simulators that use MetaVR visuals are interoperable with JTAC simulators that also use MetaVR visuals, such as the Air National Guard Advanced JTAC Training System (AAJTS) and the Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System (JTC TRS). All MJAT simulators that are being delivered to AFSOC will also use Battlespace Simulations' (BSI's) Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) for scenario creation and computer-generated/semi-automated forces (CGF/SAF). This common baseline of VRSG and MACE provides enhanced interoperability and correlation between the MJAT and the large number of deployed VRSG/MACE-based JTAC simulators. This interoperability is critical in the simulated training environment, in order to emulate the interaction and collaboration between Reaper sensor operators and JTACs during real-world missions.
The new ER variant of SOCOM's MQ-9 Reaper is enhanced with a number of hardware and software upgrades to extend its special forces features. The MJAT simulators that are being delivered to AFSOC, which will soon be rolled out to sites across the US that house SOCOM's MQ-9 Reaper ER aircraft, are designed to train operators to fly the new variant. The MJAT simulator was demonstrated at I/ITSEC in the 505 Command and Control Wing booth #767 and in the USAF Training Systems Product Group booth #1339 [see item #48.C].
The Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Warfighter Readiness Research Division 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright Patterson Air Force Base also uses VRSG in its MQ-9 Reaper simulator. AFRL has long used VRSG in various training research simulators. For example, in 2007 AFRL was an early adopter of VRSG as the IG for its JTAC training dome (a precursor to the current AAJTS and JTC-TRS dome systems). Close air support (CAS) training missions that are run in their three JTAC training dome systems now include an AFRL-developed Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) training-research simulator, called the Predator Research Integrated Network Combat Environment (PRINCE). PRINCE is a high-fidelity, networkable MQ-1 and MQ-9 RPA simulator, which serves as a research and development tactical simulator for Predator/Reaper pilots and sensor operators. As part of AFRL's research in human performance methods and technologies that provide the warfighter the necessary knowledge and skill to dominate their operational environment, the objective of the PRINCE research program is to meet known training gaps in UAV tactical operations such as JTAC integration.
VRSG is currently integrated as the simulator's IG for cross-training with JTACs in the JTAC training dome systems. PRINCE team members also use VRSG Scenario Editor to populate their 3D terrain with culture (such as building up dense urban areas) and BSI's MACE for creating realistic training scenarios, including detailed pattern-of-life scenarios.
The AFRL Warfighter Readiness Research Division demonstrated the PRINCE simulator at I/ITSEC in booth #1173 [see item #48.C].
48.C MetaVR and Business Partners at I/ITSEC
MetaVR and its business partners exhibited its products and technology in booth #1026 at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference and Trade Show (I/ITSEC), November 28 – December 2, 2016, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL, USA.
MetaVR showcased its 3D terrain and visualization products and technologies that support applications ranging from unmanned air system (UAS) operator and Joint Terminal Attack Control (JTAC) training, to high-speed fixed-wing cockpit simulators, to littoral and marine-based operations, to individual/first-person ground-level urban operations.
MetaVR unveiled VRSG's new 3D ocean simulation, [see item #48.A] in scenarios featuring many naval models from our military model library of 100 naval vessels on geospecific terrain/ocean body of the Strait of Hormuz and the littoral area of the port city of Kismayo, Somalia. Many of the vessels have deck details modeled to first-person level.
MetaVR demonstrated two new 3D terrain datasets:
- High-resolution geospecific Camp Pendleton terrain with two modeled MOUT sites (Combat Town 25 and Kilo 2), which the company recently built for participants in the OBW LVC event. [See item #48.A above.]
- Geospecific terrain at 2 cm per-pixel resolution of the Prospect Square area of the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) built for the Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course (SOTACC) at the YPG, using 17 sq km of 2 cm per-pixel resolution imagery captured by the company's SUAS. Demos took place on the detailed virtual SOTACC Village MOUT site [see item #48.A].
Other demonstrations in the MetaVR booth included:
- JTAC training. MetaVR and Battlespace Simulations' (BSI's) JTAC desktop simulation system (accredited by JFS ESC and STANAG) which was set up for conducting close-air-support training exercises with Close Air Solutions, instructors with relevant domain knowledge. In addition to providing the out-the-window views and UAS HUDs, VRSG provides the simulated thermal views, the simulated UAS video feed on the JTAC's ROVER device, and the emulated military equipment views. The training scenario took place on MetaVR's geospecific Kismayo 3D terrain and was designed to test JTAC, UAS, and close air support aircrew in a complex mission environment with 5-Line, 9-Line, and Call-for-Fire interfaces generated from BSI's Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) software running on the instructor/role-player station. The simulator's four meter 220° curved display was provided by Immersive Display Solutions.
- High-resolution geospecific 3D terrain of the Somalia port city of Kismayo. As an example of building topical geospecific terrain of an area for coordinated UAS and JTAC close-air-support training, this 3D terrain is populated with hundreds of geolocated, photo-specific culture models built from ground-level photographs of buildings and other structures taken on the streets of Kismayo. Demo scenarios included amphibious and close-air-support missions. The amphibious mission scenario highlighted VRSG's new 3D ocean simulation and MetaVR's growing collection of U.S. naval models.
- High-resolution geospecific 3D terrain of a mountainous region in Kabul province, Afghanistan. The modeled village of Khairabad includes 650 custom-built 3D structures that match the building footprints visible on the source imagery. Many of the structures have multiple damage states, which were demonstrated in scenarios that feature JTAC close-air-support missions with UAS overwatch and strikes, and pattern of life activity. These scenarios contain many of MetaVR's newest military ground vehicles from its extensive 3D model libraries.
- High-resolution geospecific 3D terrain and modeled airfields in Continental U.S. plus Alaska and Hawaii (CONUS++) The CONUS++ demos included flythrough sequences on 26 modeled airports and airfields, most of which were created between 2015-2016 with high-resolution imagery and geospecific and geotypical cultural content.
- SUAS for collecting sub-inch geospecific imagery for real-time 3D terrain. The MetaVRC, MetaVR's SUAS for imagery data collection, was on display. Built for autonomous aerial surveying, the MetaVRC captures 2 cm per-pixel resolution still-frame images. These source images can be used with accurate elevation data to compile terrain at 2 cm resolution with MetaVR's Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS. The resulting synthetic environment can then be rendered in VRSG.
- All terrain was built in MetaVR's round-earth Metadesic format with MetaVR Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS. All of the real-time demos were created with VRSG Scenario Editor, using substantial cultural feature, character, and land, sea, and air vehicle assets, and 3D character animations from MetaVR's 3D content and animation libraries.
Also in MetaVR's booth, BSI demonstrated its latest version of MACE, a computer generated forces (CGF)/semi-automated forces (SAF) software application, which uses VRSG for its 3D visuals and is capable of simulating an air, ground, naval and electronic warfare battlespace. In addition BSI demonstrated Viper, a low-cost PC-based DIS radio, and DIScord, a DIS recorder used for after action review.
Swift Radioplanes, the creators of MetaVR's SUAS demonstrated features of the aircraft and two examples of 2 cm terrain that MetaVR built from the 2 cm imagery the aircraft collected at two target ranges at NAS Fallon and at the Prospect Square area of Yuma Proving Ground. Swift Radioplanes operated the aircraft at both sites.
During the week-long “Operation Blended Warrior” (OBW) LVC event at I/ITSEC, which could be viewed in booth #349, MetaVR customers PLEXSYS Interface Products, TRU Simulation + Training, and ZedaSoft, used VRSG and MetaVR's terrain of Camp Pendleton (with modeled Kilo 2 and Combat Town 25 MOUT sites) built from 30 cm NPSI source data in their respective simulators. PLEXSYS (booth # 2340) provided Command and Control for OBW airborne assets newest simulation solution, SimWorks, with VRSG. TRU Simulation + Training (booth #1301) ran VRSG in its V-280 cockpit simulator for out-the-window and sensor views. ZedaSoft (booth #2341) ran VRSG in its Mockingbird reconfigurable UAV/RPA simulator configured as a Scan Eagle-class UAS for the Convoy Overwatch vignette and a Shadow-class UAV for the Cyber vignette. It provided streaming EO/IR video to H.264 protocol media viewers over the network to the C2 nodes.
In the Air National Guard (ANG) booth #1080, the Iowa Air National Guard Distributed Training Operations Center (DTOC) conducted demos all week, which included VRSG in its Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground vignettes, with ZedaSoft's F-16 Reconfigurable Cockpit System (RCS) Simulator as part of a reconfigurable dome display demonstration, QuantaDyn's portable JTC TRS, and displayed on monitors above the DTOC operator workstations. The demos used the same Immersive Display Systems (IDS) 4-meter 240-degree dome for both fighter training and JTAC training. The F-16 cockpit simulator was situated in the dome for the Air-to-Air vignettes, and then was swapped with QuantaDyn's portable JTC TRS which used the dome in the Air-to-Ground vignettes while the F-16 cockpit simulator continued in the vignettes using a LED display system. The IDSI dome featured 10 VRSG channels projected through Barco FS70 Ultra High Definition (3600 x 2250) projectors.
The DTOC's Air-to-Air vignettes were comprised of large force employment over the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR), and the Air-to-Ground vignettes are comprised of close air support with major combat operations.
Elsewhere, VRSG was used in the following demos at I/ITSEC:
- AFRL's Warfighter Readiness Division demonstrated VRSG in booth #1173 in its deployable JTAC TRS dome and PRINCE MQ-9 simulator [see item #48.B], and in its F-16 XDTT simulator in IDSI's booth #1281. These simulators will participate in the Warfighter Readiness Division's “Cleared Hot” LVC demos throughout the week, based in booth #1173 and networked with simulators running VRSG in IDSI's and PLEXSYS' booths, and with other participants.
- Immersive Display Solutions (IDSI) demonstrated VRSG in booth #1281 with QuantaDyn the JTC TRS with a 4-meter 220-degree cylindrical display featuring the APS seamless high contrast low gain surface in combination with multi-channel Sony GTZ280 4K Laser Projection System. IDSI also had VRSG running on its VisionStation 2 RP/Pilot Station. As mentioned above, the booth also hosted AFRL's 3-meter 220-degree MiniDome display integrated with AFRL's F16-XDTT desktop cockpit trainer. Elsewhere IDSI's 4-meter 240-degree dome will be hosted in the Air National Guard booth #1080 as described above.
- PLEXSYS Interface Products demonstrated in booth #2340 its newest simulation solution, SimWorks, with VRSG during both OBW and non-OBW demonstrations. PLEXSYS participated in all OBW vignettes, providing Command and Control for OBW airborne assets. PLEXSYS demonstrated its newly developed CIGI between VRSG and SimWorks using MetaVR's new Camp Pendleton database. PLEXSYS also participated in the AFRL “Cleared Hot” demos, as mentioned above.
- QuantaDyn was running VRSG in the JTC TRS in IDSI's booth #1281, as described above, and in the portable JTC TRS in the ANG booth #1080, also described above.
- Sony Electronics demonstrated in booth #2312 a sea-based scenario featuring VRSG's new 3D ocean simulation in the virtual Strait of Hormuz with a number of MetaVR's new naval models. This scenario was displayed at 4K resolution on a 55” PVM-X550 OLED monitor.
- TRU Simulation + Training will demonstrate in booth #1301 its V-280 cockpit simulator with VRSG, during both OBW and non-OBW demonstrations.
- U.S. Air Force Training Systems Product Group demonstrated in booth #1339 VRSG in the MJAT MQ-9 Reaper simulator [see item #48.B] and in the BattleStaff MUSE/AFSERS simulating an MQ-1C Gray Eagle.
- Zedasoft demonstrated VRSG in booth #2341 in three simulators: Reconfigurable Cockpit System (RCS) simulator, Reconfigurable Desktop System (RDS) simulator, and the Mockingbird reconfigurable UAV/RPA simulator with EO/IR and SAR payloads. As mentioned above ZedaSoft participated in OBW with the Mockingbird reconfigurable UAV/RPA simulator, and its F-16 cockpit simulator was located in the Air National Guard booth #1080.
- The 505 Command and Control Wing, demonstrated VRSG in booth #767 in its JTAC-TACP/Operational Simulation Suite (J-T/OSS) v2.0 Desktop trainer and in the MJAT MQ-9 Reaper simulator with other squadron capabilities used for Distributed Mission Operation Center (DMOC) Flag event integration.
In September 2016, MetaVR won a Best Programs award from Military Training International as part of their annual Top Simulation and Training Companies awards. MetaVR's award for Innovation marks the company's 14th year of winning a Top Simulation Company award from the publication.
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