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Barco IR LED projectors bring realistic night vision and major cost saving to JTAC training simulator
Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Fredrikstad, Norway, 29 April 2015 – Leader in visualization technology, Barco is proud to announce the use of its FS35 IR LED projectors in the Air National Guard Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System (AAJTS). This state-of-the-art immersive training partial dome is the only simulator to offer mission-specific training for Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs). Each AAJTS device features fourteen Barco projectors, bringing unparalleled realism to close air support simulation training.

The AAJTS was developed under the program management of the Air National Guard and the USAF 502 Training Development Squadron, prime contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Engineering Services LLC, lead integrator QuantaDyn Corporation, and long-time Barco partner, Immersive Display Solutions (IDSI). The AAJTS is a high-fidelity, fully immersive JTAC simulator which is capable of training in all types of day and night missions. Recently, the number of missions required for JTAC certification allowed in a simulator has increased dramatically. The AAJTS represents a convenient and economical solution that is accredited by the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee. Currently, there are twelve AAJTS operating in the US, with an additional ten locations to be installed in the next 12 months. These advanced simulators are the world’s first to be deployed to operating units across the US, and represent an extremely cost effective training system for the US military.

Major cost savings

The AAJTS allows JTACs to participate in an increased amount of training at a significantly lower cost than traditional “live-fly” training. The value of the AAJTS can be seen in its ability to provide JTACs with almost unlimited training hours and to increase JTAC proficiency. “Rehearsing JTAC missions in the field costs approximately USD 53,100 per training hour,” explains Keith Seguin, the 502 Trainer Development Squadron AAJTS Program Manager. “In the second half of 2014, three Air Force units with 4 AAJTS devices and the four Air National Guard units with 4 AAJTS devices logged a total of 565 training hours and 627 training hours, respectively. By comparison, the 565 training hours used to train the Air Force JTACs to a higher level of proficiency in the accredited simulator would equate to a savings of $30M or $7.5M per device, and the 627 training hours used to train the Air National Guard JTACs would equate to a savings of $33M or $8.3M per device. The AAJTS continually provides major cost savings and extremely positive impacts for the JTAC communities.”

Realistic NVG capabilities

The AAJTS can simulate most aircraft and weapons used by the JTACs, including night vision goggles (NVGs), laser capabilities, and virtually any scenario they may face in real-world missions. To create an immersive training environment, the partial dome is equipped with 14 Barco FS35 IR LED projectors at 4.1 Megapixel resolution each, which are optimized for IR visual simulation. The projectors’ infrared capabilities are used to deliver a realistic night mode and NVG simulation experience using standard military night vision devices. “In the past, creating NVG scenarios required us to put an IR filter in front of a day scene, which meant that without the NVGs all you saw was a black screen,” explains Charles Martin, director of business development and JTAC SME at IDSI. “With the IR capability of the Barco projectors, combined with custom-developed software to optimize the solution, the simulation becomes much more realistic. When you put on your NVGs you see things just as you would at night, and when you take the NVGs off, your eyes need time to readjust. It is extremely realistic.”

Combining strengths

Another decisive factor in the choice of the FS35 IR was the use of LED technology, which offers extremely low MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) with an operating life time of up to 100,000 hours. “This gives us the advantage of not having to replace bulbs on a regular basis,” explains George Forbes, CEO and president of IDSI. “As a result, downtime for maintenance and image recalibration is kept to a minimum, and not replacing lamps offers a lower total cost of ownership.” “The AAJTS has been running for over a year now, and throughout that year we have had no maintenance issues at all”, explains Armando Alvarado Jr., Contractor Logistics Support at QuantaDyn.