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B-1 training device to get Virtual update

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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) -- Leveraging research and development work done under a Phase II SBIR contract, the Simulators Division B-1 Training Systems team executed a contract modification to update the Cockpit Procedures Trainers with a new device that meets expanded capacities for B-1 aircrew training.
The Virtual Reality Aircrew Training Device (VRATD) capability is delivered within a small, half-rack commercial off-the-shelf computational system that removes the need for proprietary, obsolete single-board computers and bulky legacy hardware.
“Pitch Day 2020 award winner, Aero Simulation, Inc. has developed a unique and cost effective device that is beyond impressive,” said Margaret Merkle, Simulators Division Innovation Program Manager.
The computational system can be linked to cockpits ranging from an Extended Reality (XR) sled or touch screen Reconfigurable Flight Training Device (RFTD), to a full-fidelity cockpit in a Weapon Systems Trainer (WST) or Operational Flight Trainer (OFT).
“It has been amazing how quickly this SBIR technology has transitioned into the training system program,” said Dylan Greco, Innovation Cell Program Manager.
As a result of the successful prototype, the Simulators Division and ASI will transition the technology to the B-1 Training System program of record by integrating the VRATD architecture into newly developed Reconfigurable Cockpit Procedures Trainers (RCPT) and used to upgrade the legacy WSTs computational systems.
“Ultimately this will create a common training system architecture across all aircrew training devices using aircraft avionics. The same architecture can be cost-effectively expanded to other platforms around the Air Force, adding to the list of why this SBIR has gone above and beyond our expectations,” Merkle said.
The cockpit procedures trainer will be able to do a lot more than train new crew members. Each device can be used to develop concurrency upgrades, future connect to Distributed Mission Operations Network (DMON), interface with tactical environment generators like the Next Generation Threat System (NGTS), and perform full mission training, according to Greco. Training system cost savings for both aircraft concurrency and technology upgrades will be significant, saving millions of dollars every time the aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) publishes a new OFP block. Additionally, the RCPT architecture allows the devices to be reconfigurable between aircraft software versions, providing significant training flexibility.
“The flexibility and commonality make this high-fidelity simulation a game changer for the Air Force simulator enterprise in terms of savings, aircraft concurrency, and fidelity,” Greco said.