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30 April 2015

Quo Vadis ITEC?

At 26 years of age, ITEC has matured and grown, becoming an identifiable and well-supported event in its own right. One North American exhibitor this year said (as he almost always does) “I can’t imagine we will not continue to be at every ITEC for the foreseeable future. It’s simply the best place to meet our European customers.”

Perhaps, however, he should have said “non-American” when referring to existing or potential customers. One exhibitor – not as first timer but certainly not one of the higher profile companies – was in celebratory mode at the end of the exhibition this afternoon, having had a number of very substantive conversations with potential customers from as far away as Singapore. ITEC is truly international in nature, not “the European I/ITSEC” as some have occasionally referred to it.

Of course, not every potential customer comes to ITEC from the dark side of the moon. One German exhibitor was overheard talking about the ‘planning for serendipity’ aspect of attending exhibitions that old hands know only too well. After numerous attempts to connect with a possible customer in a country in his ‘back yard,’ he found that a naval delegation from the country concerned,  visiting his booth at ITEC contained the right mix of individuals to a) understand, b) discuss intelligently and c) go away to think about the next step as far as his particular solution was concerned.

What’s hot?

Immersion – in a word. General Pavel, Chief of Staff of the Czech Armed Forces (and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from June this year) singled immersive technologies out in his opening keynote address as one of the key technology areas that will bring training and simulation even further up the military planning agenda. Fully one third of the exhibitors at the Prague exhibition centre carried the word “immersive” on their booth signage or in their press releases and supporting materials.

Immersive technologies are hardly new. The extent to which they are being integrated, leveraged and exploited – especially by the smaller companies, who really seem to “get it,” (of which more later) as well as the ‘usual suspects – is immediately apparent to even the most casual of observers. Whether it is the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Ground-Based Training Demonstrator Device (resplendent in the livery of the Italian Air Force’s ‘Frecci Tricolore’,) or 3D perceptions Northstar dome display technology, the sine qua non of training – from the level of the individual soldier, sailor or airman to the most sophisticated and expensive full flight simulator – has become immersion. High quality graphics, high tech solutions for warping, edge blending and handling light sources all combine to immerse the trainee in a highly realistic and – more importantly – highly believable environment. Which contributes to positive training - and effective learning.

Displays and the associated engineering that goes with them has also been a hot topic this year. The number of large high resolution displays is one thing. But the sheer number of new and improved offerings is quite another.

Barco sold some of the aspects of its simulation and training business last year to Esterline, which has developed a new (to Esterline) line of business around it and rebranded it Treality Simulation Visual Systems. Leveraging the extensive legacy of products and services it acquired from Barco promises to provide a stimulating and challenging task for the company as it exercises its own undoubted skillsets in gaining market share in an increasingly demanding market.

What’s not?

Taking a show like ITEC to new venues is always a risk and the organisers normally manage to whether challenges with supreme competence. It must be said, however, that one of the recurring themes talking to conference delegates has been the level of ambient noise in the conference rooms. With drapes separating conference sessions, rather than floor to ceiling partition walls, a significant number of delegates found tjheir ability to hear and understand what was being said in their own session was being hampered by sounds of the session next door. A minor quibble, maybe – but delegates come to ITEC to listen, learn and contribute: difficult to do if there is aural interference.

What is slightly worrying for some observers, also, is the number of companies exhibiting. Yes, the number has probably shrunk since the heyday before the recession. And to a certain extent that’s understandable. There is a case to be made, however, that the number of entities is not necessarily the benchmark by which this type of conference should be judged, but the quality, demographic spread and nature of those entities. Small businesses, particularly, are where much of the innovation that fuels our industry stem from. Peter Morrison, CEO of Bohemia Interactive Simulations, made that very point in his contribution to the opening panel debate.

What’s cool?

Which is a good (and carefully engineered) segué into the promised story from earlier in this blog. One of the stars of the show this year was a demonstration of an integrated training solution from no less than six small and mid-sized companies. Proving that the world opens up to organisations or vision and faith in their capabilities (coupled with the intestinal fortitude to take a risk), these companies took a recent successful sale from one of their number, supported by visual systems from two others, and added three further companies to achieve a level of synergy that can only be described as jaw dropping.

Close Air Solutions – a company with a current workforce you can number on the fingers of one hand and still clutch a bottle of Pilsner Urquell – sold an immersive simulator late last year to the British Ministry of Defence for JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) training. Supported in their innovative approach to that contract by both MetaVR and Battlespace Simulations, the three then brought in MSE Omnifintiy, with its Omnideck virtual battlespace solution, Novatech to bring the powerful computer support (or “electronic glue” as one observer was heard to mutter) and Immersive Displays Group, who did what it says on their tin but in spades. Although the real glue, for my money, lies just as much in the technical and commercial support of MetaVR.

The result? An immersive, integrated and wholly compelling hybrid warfare simulation exercise, incorporating individual JTACs (the mobile soldier), a fifth generation fighter, a Joint Fires team and hostile forces, “all integrated on the show floor in a contested environment – and it worked,” in the words of Mike Squires, Close Air Solutions’ business director.

That’s the main memory I will take away from this ITEC. A visible demonstration of what can be done by a coalition of companies collaborating for mutual benefit and offering something unique to the user. To coin a phrase that needs to be further developed – this is a “coalition of the capable.” And that’s cool!

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015: Saab bring small arms skills trainer technologies to the anti-tank market

Saab’s stand at ITEC is always a busy one – both from the number of delegations and visitors thronging it and from the fact that the company struggles manfully to bring as much of its broad spectrum of product offerings onto a single exhibition space – normally with great success.
Recognition came somewhat late for me at ITEC in Prague this week, when I realised there ws, indeed, something new on the Saab exhibiti – even something quite exciting (though a little unnerving for an ex tank officer).
Leveraging virtual technologies from its acquisition of E-COM in the Czech Republic (noe rebranded Saab Czech), the company is demonstrating a suite of anti-tank weapons trainers. The synergy with the techniques developed to instil basic small arms proficiency skills is an obvious one: but that alone does not explain the interest that has apparently been shown in the new systems this week.
“Its really about cost-effective training,” says Ingemar Carlsson,  Marketing Director for the Nordic market area for Saab. “An anti-tank missile operator will find he gets the opportunity to fire very few live rounds during his career: using this approach to low cost training means he can fire as many as are necessary to ensure effective training.”
The first model to appear, for the TOW anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) was shown at I/ITSEC in Orlando last December. ITEC Prague, however, represents the first occasion on which trainers for the AT-4 and NLAW ATGWs have been seen outside the factory, according to Carlsson. There is an additional trainer for the Carl Gustaf 84 mm anti-tank system, though that was not present this week.
Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015 Barco by day and by night

Although having divested some of its training and simulation business to Esterline – now Treality (see separate story today) – Barco is still very much in the simulation market, according to Dave Fluegeman, VP Simulation for the company.

“The fundamental question we posed ourselves was do we really want to be in the systems integration business,” he explained. When the answer to that was an emphatic no, divesting the integration aspects of the business and re-focusing energy and activity on the core business became a no-brainer.

The acquisition of Norwegian projector manufacturer projectiondesign in 2012 has given Barco a valuable asset around which to coalesce this activity. “We’re very excited about getting back to leveraging what the projectiondesign business has achieved,” says Fluegeman, “a brand and a product synonymous with quality and performance. The F series of projectors comes from a company  that is not a consumer brand, not a corporate audio-visual product, but a brand and a product fully configured to stand up to the rigours of demand from the training and simulation market.”

An example of what this means moving forward was not slow in coming. At ITEC in Prague this week the company announced the adoption of its FS35 IR LED projectors for the US Air National Guard Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System (AAJTS), a 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.  

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.”

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.”


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.  

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015: Esterline transformed

Esterline took a prominent position at the front of one of the two halls hosting ITEC 2015 in Prague nthis week. Not only that – they took the opportunity to give the first major public exposure to the new branding for the business which has been transformed by the acquisition of a part of Barco’s business late last year. The new reality is – Treality Simulation Visual Systems.

Explaining what the acquisition means and looking forward, Paul Lyon, Business Development Director, Simulation for the company, states “We have added significant capability with this acquisition and, broadly speaking, have exclusive rights to marketing the Sim 7 series of projectors, which will continue to be manufactured by Barco.” Support responsibilities fall to each of the companies – who are really strategic partners in the simulation business now, though retaining distinct identities – depending on what is being provided to the end user. Where projectors are being sold as a stand alone product, Barco will continue to be responsible for product and technical support; where the projector is a part of an integrated system, Trealuity will now shoulder that responsibility.

The acquisition has done much more than transfer capability, however. It appears there is a renewed focus and a high level of activity centred on leveraging the new assets and bringing innovative solutions to an increasingly thirsty market.

For example, the Treality TD (Transportable Display) range features a roll-up spherical screen based on patented technologies that provide a small but seamless dome screen for high resolution simulations. The dome screen material snaps to the framework magnetically and, more impressively, can be rolled into a ‘cigar’ shape for transportation. Assembled in under three hours from arrival on station, the ‘Display in a Box,’ as Treality describes it, is bound to find a ready audience in the growing market for small, transportable training solutions that areb quick to ‘bring into action’ and cost-effective by comparison with larger, fixed installations.
Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015 Rockwell Collins launches EP-8100 image generation system

Although ITEC (and I/ITSEC, for that matter) seem increasingly to be dominated by startlingly clear, bright (and above all, large) displays these days, the prominence of them at this year’s iteration of Europe’s leading training and simulation conference is quite noticeable. Part of this, of course, is the natural desire of simulation developers to show their creations off to maximum advantage. And partly it is due to new product launches, such as the Rockwell Collins EP-8100 image generator (IG) system.

“From the outset our design objectives centred around two closely related issues,” says Robert J. Brantley, manager for IG and Radar Products in the company’s Simulation & Training Solutions Business. “We were determined to protect the customer’s levels of investment in existing systems and architecture – whether or not they currently use our IG – and secondly we wanted to demonstrate how we could provide them with significantly lower life cycle cocts.”

Fully backward compatible with its well-established predecessor, the EP-8000, the new system is being seen for the first time in Europe during ITEC in Prague this week, having been unveiled in Orlando in early April. It has been developed with the military training market firmly in mind – particularly the most challenging environment of helicopter operations. To this end, Brantley points out, the company has gone with a graphics engine designed in house to maximise the innovation the EP-8100 represents, rather than using engines brought in from the games industry.

By doing this, Brantley says, and concentrating on the issues unique to the projected use of the graphics card, Rockwell Collins has managed to pack an astonishing 37 GB of on-board memory onton the card, compared with an average of 3-6 GB available from commercial solutions. Of this, some 16 GB are dedicated solely to texture rendering, enabling sub-meter, out of the window and sensor imagery of very wide areas. The EP-8100 Scene Processor makes use of Field Programmable Gate Array technologies, which are loaded at system boot time, simultaneously with the rendering firmware, which can be customised in line with the specific training task.

With procurement life cycle of 5-7 years and a product support life cycle of 15-20, the EP-8100 is scheduled “to fulfil a hitherto unfulfilled imperative to provide more bang for the same buck,” according to the company’s Senior Director Nick Gibbs. The secret of making the IG work to optimise its full advantages will be to recognise and exploit its capability to use existing customer databases. Featuring highly focussed conversion software, the EP-8100 can use its power ton accelerate and vastly enhance database ‘tweaking’ almost ‘on the fly.’ “The real skill at the user’s disposal here is the ability to have the databases [virtually] make themselves,” says Gibbs.

All in all, the EPS-8100 is a well thought out enhancement on its worthy predecessor and has already won several orders, according to Gibbs. But it is not about technology insertion for the sake of technology insertion – it’s much more about capability. “Radical innovation already exists – but what the customer really wants is stability,” says Brantley.

29 April 2015

Saab Press Tour Photographic Recap

Rafael LITENING Pod on Swedisch Air Force Saab GRIPEN C

Diehl Defense IRIS-T on Swedisch Air Force Saab GRIPEN C

GRIPEN Demonstrator

Swedisch Navy DOUBLE EAGLE Mk II 

Saab Kockums SAM3 Minesweeping USV

Saab Kockums Shipyard

ITEC 2015: RUAG - Always at the Forefront of Live Training Technology

RUAG Defence, the Swiss specialist in Simulation and Training technology, used last year's I/ITSEC to display its latest developments in mobile training solutions. The same is being done at LAAD 2015.

Mobile Training requires flexibility for the trainer and the latest solutions by RUAG Defence are providing just that. RUAG has created an application that puts the advantages of the stationary/fixed Exercise Control (EXCON) plus special mobility adaptations, in the hands of the trainer in the field. Smart resizing of existing EXCON features and significant add-ons for mobile training, such as mobile (helmet) camera integration and a smart map handling function, allow the trainer to effectively prepare, conduct and debrief the exercises of their troops. The mobile EXCON solution takes highly mobile CTC (Combat Training Centre) and MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training solutions to the next level of optimization.

The current Precise-Tracking-System (PTS) provided by RUAG Defence is one of the most accurate Tracking-Systems for MOUT training solutions on the market. Never complacent, RUAG has implemented a new approach to indoor tracking of participants using an autonomous 3D positioning and navigation solution provided by AIONAV (Autonomous Indoor and Outdoor NAVigation). The AIONAV System is based on an “Inertial Sensor Unit” mounted on the participant’s leg. The sensor integrates the current position, the measured movement of the participant plus other inputs to provide an accurate position of the player by utilising a sophisticated algorithm. The AIONAV solution optimises mission training by combining; high mobility, precision and low costs. As the AIONAV is based on standalone technology it can be seamlessly integrated into both RUAG and 3rd party CTC/MOUT training systems.

RUAG’s live training solutions cover everything from individual soldiers through to complex MOUT (Mobile Operations in Urban Terrain) installations. The foundation of RUAG’s offering is the GLADIATOR Man Worn Unit. It comprises of a helmet unit, an integrated harness unit and a laser unit. Together they enable fire and movement training for individual soldiers through to a whole brigade. Participants learn using GLADIATOR personal weapon handling, individual and group ground tactics and operational techniques.

ITEC 2015: Havelsan to Acquire Quantum3D

Havelsan  a prominent global software and systems provider based in Ankara, Turkey, has announced that it is in the process of acquiring the flight simulation business assets of Quantum3D, Inc., a leading developer of visual computing solutions for government and commercial applications. When the transaction completes, Havelsan s U.S.-based subsidiary will retain the intellectual property and product lines of Quantum3D, and will have offices in San Jose, CA and Orlando, FL.

Existing Quantum3D products, including the award-winning Mantis software for real-time visual simulation, Independence IDX Series Image Generators, and the GeoScapeSE line of World- Wide visual database products, will continue to be sold under the Quantum3D brand name as before. Moreover, the resulting U.S.-based entity will continue to do business using the Quantum3D name, and will be staffed primarily with existing, experienced Quantum3D employees.

Based on modern GPU shader programming technology and with its vast array of plug-ins for special effects, Mantis is well suited to exploit the new levels of hardware power within modern PC platforms. And when packaged with the GeoScapeSE World-Wide Database and the new Independence IDX 8000 Image Generator, Quantum3D provides an out-of-the-box visual solution that’s ready to fly to thousands of airports, cities, and other destinations around the globe - which forms a perfect complement to HAVELSAN’s larger system-level simulation and training solutions.

“Our simulation and training business has the potential for significant growth, and Quantum3D’s products are well known for realism and high performance. We believe that combining our strategies with Quantum3D products will create many new opportunities and allow us to develop Mantis to be the most innovative solution in the market”, said Mr. Sadik YAMAC, General Manager/CEO of HAVELSAN.

“With these assets from Quantum3D we will not only enhance our core product capabilities worldwide, but will also better serve the large U.S. domestic and other North/South/Central Americas markets for complete training solutions.” Mr. Yuksel OZTEKIN, Chairman of the Board of HAVELSAN, further noted “This is indeed a strategic move for HAVELSAN to enter into the US Market and develop a high end technology with Quantum3D.”

“Quantum3D is a leader in Image Generator solutions, with 1000’s of channels in use worldwide”, said Pratish Shah, president, Quantum3D. “Merging our IG solutions and database capabilities with HAVELSAN will accelerate the development and enhancement of our already leading class solutions and enable us to provide greater support, service and new products to our customers.”

The acquisition is anticipated to close before the end of 2015, conditional upon receiving regulatory approvals.

ITEC 2015 MASA Group enhances core product and enters new markets

One of the greatest benefits of attending conferences such  as ITEC, taking place this week in Prague, is the ability to talk face to face with some of the smaller but powerfully innovative companies on which so much of the future of the training and simulation community depends. One such company is Paris-based MASA Group, specialists in artificial intelligence-based modelling and simulation software.

Having grown in the last four or five years from a laboratory-style company providing services in a single country to a product and service oriented enterprise with customers in fifteen countries worldwide, MASA has achieved much in a short space of time. Its principal product, the SWORD immersive command and staff training platform, is undergoing a facelift and enhancement, based on the company’s very intimate relationship with the growing international community of users and SWORD v6.0 is being showcased in Prague for the first time.

“We release one or perhaps two major versions of SWORD per year and v6.0 focuses primarily on new and enhanced after action review features,” says Juan-Pablo Torres, MASA’s President and CEO. He goes on to point out that “the goal of simulation is to train, not just to exercise, and we therefore need to ensure there are good tools surrounding the simulation to enable users to optimise the training benefits.”

Adjacent markets continue to exercise a powerful attraction for MASA, with the civil security and emergency management markets in particular beginning to gain traction for the immediate future. The company is using ITEC, therefore, to unveil SYNERGY, a version of SWORD optimised for the emergency management and crisis response markets. In use with one customer since the end of 2014, the solution addresses the similarity in requirements simultaneously with the differences in culture and procedures between these markets and the military birthplace of SWORD.

New customers continue to join the rapidly expanding community of SWORD users. The Singapore Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) became a user in 2014, while the 15th country to adopt – Bangladesh – started to use SWORD as the basis for its future Computerised Wargames Centre – a part of Army Training & Doctrine Command – at the beginning of this year.

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015: New aircraft systems trainer for MRH90 helicopter

At ITEC in Prague this week, Telespazio VEGA Deutschland (a Finmeccanica/Thales company) announced it has won a contract from Airbus Group Australia Pacific to develop an Aircraft Systems Trainer (AST) for the MRH90 helicopter, to be used by the Australian Army’s Rotary Wing Aircraft Maintenance School (RAMS) in Oakley, Queensland.

At ITEC 2015, Telespazio VEGA Deutschland (a Finmeccanica/Thales company) announced it has won a contract from Airbus Group Australia Pacific to develop an Aircraft Systems Trainer (AST) for the MRH90 helicopter

The delivery period extends for 20 months from January 2015 and will result in both hardware and software solutions for maintenance technician training for the helicopter, building on the company’s long heritage of virtual maintenance training (VMT) solutions. Telespazio VMTs are already in use in France, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden for their NH90 helicopters.

Inspection, diagnostic and maintenance procedures on a variety of equipment, both internal and external, will be facilitated by the AST. The training station incorporates the facility to record, store and playback student lesson handling, thus ensuring positive and sustainable training.

Two classrooms are also to be provided under the contract. One will include an instructor station and two student PCs as well as a cockpit replication directly linked to the AST software. The second will allow up to eight students to train simultaneously on multi-monitor workstations, under instructor guidance and monitoring.

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015: Prolinx bring secure cloud capabilities to desktop training

Although in business for almost two decades, Prolinx Limited is a name unfamiliar to many members of the training and simulation community. At ITEC 2015 in Prague this week, however, the company is demonstrating a technology that – although not exactly new – they have taken to unprecedented heights of resolution and dynamism.

Taking distributed learning to the next level, Prolink is demonstrating its ‘dumb terminal’ capability – based on the proven Amulet Hotkey technology – which injects new levels of security and flexibility into desktop training solutions. The principal advantage, other than multiple layers of encryption that facilitate greatly enhanced security, is to enable users to ‘train where we want, when we want,’ to a greater degree than is possible using traditional local PC based approaches.

“By removing the necessity for local hardware, delivering from remote servers through the cloud to a zero client and reducing the overall infrastructure footprint, we can help the client take significant costs out of any remote training requirement,” says Baz Compton, the company’s Senior Business Architect. A zero client, or ‘dumb terminal’ provides all the connectivity and capability required with no moving parts and no vulnerable access points, thus reducing the need for air conditioning at the same time as enhancing data security.

Optimising capability through use of increasingly high end graphics and managing the complex process of security accreditation from a data perspective are among the advantages Prolink has brought to this technology andf which, according to the company, are causing the Ministry of Defence “to sit up and take notice” in relation to potential applications across a series of platforms in land, sea and air domains. As well as the obvious advantages in reduced capital and infrastructure support costs, an attractive aspect of what the Prolink solution makes possible is the ability to ‘pay as you go.’ Where existing legacy solutions might demand multiple servers and terminals in situ throughout the year, despite the fact that they may only be in use for two or three months during that period, the Prolink solution allows optimisation of redundant capacity by delivering data through the secure cloud. Applications might, indeed, be limited only by the user’s imagination. Which is a slightly scary thought…

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015: CAE continues to eye the precision gunnery market

Anyone who knows CAE well also knows the company does far, far more than provide state-of-the-art training solutions for the aviation world. The company’s modelling and simulation expertise spreads into all domains, including the land defence environment, as is evidenced by its booth at ITEC 2015 IN Prague this week.

On prominent display is the Common Instructor Operating Station for Precision Gunnery (CIOS-PG), a simulation solution to support direct fire training – though indirect fire disciplines can also be taught using the same technologies.

CIOS-PG is a scalable, flexible and cost-effective solution, originally developed for the UK Ministry of Defence and is based on CAE’s established gunnery training suite of real-time software, linked to a latest generation image generator, terrain database and target models. Based on open source software and therefore easily integrated with both legacy and future equipment and systems, CIOS-PG allows a single instructor to control the training activities of up to six simulated turrets simultaneously.
Already in use for the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle in British service, CAE is showing a version of the CIOS-PG optimised for the Scimitar Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR-T), for which it is understood the British Army may in the near future be looking for a gunnery training system in place of the project cancelled a couple of years ago. Since the current solution for Warrior is well understood and well liked, and since both vehicles mount the identical RARDEN 30mm weapon system, there could be significant advantages accruing to the adoption of CIOS-PG for CVR-T, should a requirement be forthcoming.

In that it reduces operator workload and lends itself easily to being scaled up or down, according to the specific training requirements, CIOS-PG offers significant potential for use across a broad spectrum of platforms – especially if, as suspected by industry sources, the Ministry of Defence mandates its use for the Warrior CSP programme. In an even more flexible approach – made possible by the use of common standards among other things – the application of the same technologies to driver training is also a strong possibility. CAE proved the concept of being able to integrate driver and gunnery training in the Training Experimental Simulation System (Land) (TESS(L)), run by the Ministry of Defence over the last two years.

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015: Rheinmetall to upgrade Bundeswehr NH90 Cockpit Trainer with Asterion

The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) is currently upgrading its helicopter training programme with simulation technology from Rheinmetall. In March 2015 the Simulation and Training business unit of Rheinmetall Defence was awarded a contract from Germany’s BAAINBw defence procurement agency to upgrade all NH90 Cockpit Trainer to IOC+ configuration and with additional software modules from Rheinmetall’s Asterion product line.

The NH90 Cockpit Trainer is used for initial and advanced training of Bundeswehr aviation technical personnel in NH90 helicopter operations at the German Air Force technical training center (TAusbZLw) in Fassberg. With this order, all NH90 Cockpit Trainer have now been upgraded to IOC+ configuration status, and are programmed with additional Asterion training software modules. This simulator enables the Bundeswehr to train aspiring aircraft technicians in all systems of this complex helicopter without having to use the expensive original weapons system.

Thanks to its system infrastructure, the Asterion product enables a modularly designed training system, meaning that it can go into operation as soon as the first software module is delivered.
Rheinmetall and its subsidiary benntec Systemtechnik have developed an innovative new system for recording and collecting original data of the weapons system for Asterion, which is not only more cost-effective than previous methods, but also leads to faster development of individual components and subcomponents of the desired weapons system.

Rheinmetall’s Asterion modular simulation realistically reproduces the behavior and functionality of air, land and sea weapon systems. Asterion can be used on various training devices, from a full replica cockpit to a tablet PC, and can be customized to the customers’ training needs. The embedded virtual simulation can also be combined with a computer based training solution to maximize the training effort.

Visitors to ITEC 2015 can learn more about the Asterion Cockpit Trainer at the Rheinmetall booth 3A-100.

ITEC 2015: DiSTI Announces Contract Award for the UH -72A Lakota Virtual Maintenance Trainer

The DiSTI Corporation, a leading provider of graphical user interface software and customized 3-D virtual maintenance training solutions, recently announced a contract award from the U.S. Army to develop a virtual maintenance trainer (VMT) for the UH-72A Lakota helicopter.  The $4.4 million contract includes the development of twelve (12) interactive student workstations with a networked Instructor station, an additional “hanger” workstation to be collocated with a hardware-based trainer, and a “reach-back” training capability to deploy virtual training content on hand-held mobile devices.  The contract also provides for one (1) year of Interim Contractor Support (ICS).  The trainer will be delivered to the Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (WAATS) in Marana, Arizona in mid-2016.

Since the introduction of the UH-72A into the U.S. Army’s operational fleet in 2006 initial maintenance efforts focused on providing experienced Army aviation maintainers with factory aircraft familiarization training to maintain the UH-72A fleet in an FAA approved environment. Focus for UH-72A maintenance training is now shifting from contractor provided familiarization training to a U.S. Army Institutional Training Course for UH-72A maintenance. As part of that course, the DiSTI-built VMT will provide a virtual practical exercise interactive workspace designed to support the performance of UH-72A maintenance tasks to task standards.

“A key element of DiSTI’s UH-72A VMT development will be the use of DiSTI’s VE Studio™ software tools that provide an end to end solution for requirements analysis and traceability, design, development, and test. ” said Joe Swinski, President of DiSTI. “These tools, and the proven VMT development process they support, will ensure that the virtual maintenance trainer will fully support all required training objectives.”

DiSTI’s has a proven legacy in developing interactive 3D maintenance training applications. Over the past decade major OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers have used DiSTI’s software to produce world-class maintenance trainers at the lowest cost with unmatched performance and fidelity. Industry giants such as Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Textron deliver stunning virtual maintenance trainers supported by VE Studio.

In November 2014, DiSTI announced the commercial availability of VE Studio. The offering provides more than just a rendering or game engine. VE Studio leverages a proven end-to-end process that manages all aspects of the virtual environment development, including requirements analysis and tracking, interface definition, design and development, automated virtual content generation, and auto regression testing.

28 April 2015

Saab Deputy CEO Details Company's Future

At Saab's annual press trip, Lennard Sindahl, Deputy CEO Saab explained that Saab has grown its product portfolio and is positioned very well: "We feel very strong looking into the future," he said. "We have modern systems we can offer to Poland, the Netherlands,  Singapore,  and Australia. Today the focus has shifted from joint programmes to cooperations and partnerships, e.g. Damen or Boeing."  The latter, according to Sindahl, is an excellent business partnership opportunity to combine existing technology in specific areas: "The work with Boeing has been very smooth in a very short time. When we have succeeded to win T-X, there will be other products in the future. We are currently moving towards the test aircraft."

Lennard Sindahl explained that a design and production contract on A26 submarine with the Swedish government is to be signed in the very near future. "With the A26 we have a good chance of breaking the cost curve of NATO," he said. "We will make sure Kockums is a highly respectable shipyard building high quality technology. The shipyard has the great advantage in its composite technology."

In terms of unmanned systems Sindahl definitely sees market for unmanned systems,  but it is dominated by Israel and the US. Having said that, he mentioned an UAV looking like the GRIPEN could be done. "We focus on developing technologies in unmanned systems,  e.g. MIDCAS.  We also see growth in the offshore market in terms of ROVs."

India is still an extremely important market for Saab's entire product portfolio, according to the deputy CEO: "We have noted Indian PM Modi's Made in India policy, which is something we have shown we can do, as Brazil for example shows. India's Defence Minister recently said the need a single engine fighter like the LCH or another fighter. In India we would need to partner with a very reliable partner."

On other products and developments, Sindahl mentioned Saab has made tremendous developments in the radar world, and that there is more than a handful no potential customers worldwide for the RBS70 NG.

ITEC 2015: Test Pilot Training Brings Norwegian Technology to the Mojave Desert

Proving that technology that leads to enhanced capability will win every time, 3D Perception in Asker, Norway recently announced it has delivered two of its Northstar immersive display systems for the US Air Force Test Pilot Training School at Edwards ir Force Base (USAF TPS) in California’s Mojave desert.

Delivered in late March 2015, the two Draco Northsatr mini-domes feature a 1.05 metre radius spherical screen, a dedicated heads-up display and a seamless 160° vertical x 60° horizontal field of view. The small footprint of the Draco range of mini-domes enables sophisticated simulations to be set up and operated in small office spaces.

Dr. Christopher Cotting, Instructor of Flying Qualities at USAF TPS, said “Proper immersion in a simulation environment is key, especially for Handling Qualities education and testing. We also use these simulators to provide synthetic vision for a ground station to fly our remotely piloted aircraft.”

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015: Presagis releases M&S Suite 14

The latest iteration of Presagis’ core product M&S Suite 14, is on view at ITEC in Prague this week.

Additional and improved functionality offers systems integrators and training providers the ability to add game-quality 3D content to their simulations in a fraction of the time previously required – and at significantly lower cost. Faster and easier to use and with a greatly expanded range of scenario development options, M&S Suite 14 empowers users to build effective solutions, rather than focus on the tools, framework and integration issues.

The demonstration on show from Presagis in Prague revolves around a security surveillance scenario developed with M&S Suite 14 from start to finish. The scenario is based in the Yemeni cityb of Aden, features tactical 2D and 3D maps, with a simulated ground control station and an armoured vehicle training system.

Stephane Blondin, the company’s Head of Product Management and Marketing, says that M&S Suite 14 provides for “…important gains in visual fidelity and… reduced development risks and costs by using platforms that have been field-proven by customers for over 25 years.”

Tim Mahon

ITEC 2015: Alenia unveils M-345 Ground Based Training Demonstrator Device

Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, chose ITEC 2015 in Prague to present the M-345 Ground Based Training Demonstrator Device (GDD) for the first time.

An advanced flight simulator, the GDD features a cockpit replicating the main flight controls of the M-345 ‘Master’ High Efficiency Trainer (HET) and is a key component of the aircraft’s Integrated Training System.

Users will benefit from an affordable and effective solution, particularly cost-effective with regard to through life costs. They will also be able to maximise use of the simulator’s e-learning components, which include computer-based training and procedural flight simulation facilities. These will lend themselves to easy integration with the Operational Flight Trainer, which will feature the same software as the procedural flight trainer and a 180° display.

As the M-346 programme continues to build momentum – particularly with regard to the forthcoming T-X trainer requirement for the US Air Force, in which some 350 aircraft will be required initially – the attention Alenia Aermacchi is paying to the comprehensive nature of the integrated ground based components of the training system will undoubtedly pay dividends.

Tim Mahon

27 April 2015

Saab Details Future Market Outlook and New Radar

On the Saab media trip 2015, Jerker Ahlqvist, Vice President Head of GRIPEN business area Aeronautics gave an overview of Saab’s future market activities. Central and Eastern Europe is one of the larger potential markets for Saab, as they are replacing their aging Russian fighters, and could be interested in GRIPEN C/D. The Czech Republic has leased 12 GRIPEN C and two D and, according to Saab are interested in six more C/D. Hungary has leased 12 Cs and two Ds with an option for four more C/Ds; while Croatia will start up a very aggressive procurement process with Type Selection by next year, needing replacement for MiG 21s, and Bulgaria is looking as well.

Finland is a very interesting country for Saab, due to synergies shared, looking to receiving an RfI next year, an RfP by 2018; with a contract by 2020 for 40-60 aircraft. In terms of competition, Saab sees some of the usual suspects there: “We know that the Fins are sensitive to an aircraft that has reached the end of development and want something with a future,” according to a Saab executive.
Sweden will see first delivery by 2019.

Elsewhere in Europe, the UK has leased one GRIPEN D, Sweden might need more aircraft in the future, and Austria is some years away, where Saab is monitoring the situation. According to Saab officials, Switzerland WILL come back in a few years time with new a new proposal, where the GRIPEN E/F will compete, while in terms of suppliers, Saab will honour the supplier contracts signed, in this case with RUAG. Saab also sees an RfP from Belgium late this year to replace their F16. The E/F will be offered.

Thailand, who currently has 12 GRIPEN Cs and two Ds, is one of the most advanced customers of Saab today. In the same region, Malaysia and Indonesia are interested in the fighter, with the latter starting a F5 replacement programme in a transparent procurement process by 2019, wanting to develop its own industry. As Saab in its weapons integration is agnostic and will go in the direction the customers asks them to, a possible cooperation with Roketsan’s missiles is possible.

The Phillipines have asked questions, complementing their T-50. For India, Saab is able to set up a similar programme as they did in Brazil, but are biding their time and watching the process.
Brazil has been a game changer for Saab. By 2023, the company sees more chances together with their partner Embraer in this market with the E/F, whereas the C/D could be an alternative for, e.g. Columbia, who would need replacements in the next five years. According to Saab executives: “Brazil has changed the scene for us, interest has grown.”

Recently, Saab has signed the weapons acquisition agreement with Brazil, with the Brazilian government not disclosing any more details. The Brazilian requirement is over 100 aircraft in three batches, with a possible materialisation of Sea GRIPEN by 2025, once Brazil will detail what they will do with their carrier.

In Africa, Saab monitors the region from South Africa export (17 Cs, 9Ds), as this region needs to mature more. Having a strong position with their industrial base in South Africa, Saab sees potential in Botswana (F-5 fleet replacement; fastest growing economy in Afrika), Kenya (shown interest in GRIPEN), and Namibia (ambitions; want to get rid of Chinese aircraft).

Saab is pushing for 300-450 aircraft over the next 20 years, i.e. 10-15% of the accessible market.

On the press trip, Saab unveiled their new PS-05/A Mk 4 upgraded multi-mode radar (x-band, no change in frequency; including wide-band receivers within the system bandwidth) offering a significantly enhancement in acquisition range: By 2017, an improvement of about 150% through a combination of hard- and software upgrades, using the present antenna. In low altitudes, by 2017 this has an improvement of 140%. By 2017, very small objects will be able to be detected. The development was internally funded by Saab without making any changes to the aircraft at very low cost. New functions are being integrated constantly into this and no hardware changes will be done to the cockpit. This is not an AESA radar, due to cost-effectiveness, leaving the aircraft modification to a minimum, but AESA technology is very important to Saab, and if there is a requirement or a partner that would include it, Saab would consider it. The roadmap for integrating this onto C/D is that Saab is in discussions with the Swedish Air Force, but nothing set yet, and have briefed all other C/D customers. Furthermore, there will be discussions with future export customers.

Saab has developed the PS-05/A fighter radar to a new version designated Mk4, which gives Gripen C/D improved performance and operating range. The development is a significant step on the roadmap for the future capability enhancement of the Gripen C/D. The PS-05/A Mk4 is the most recent development of the renowned PS-05/A radar, originally developed for the Gripen fighter. Through continuous spiral development it has maintained its position as one of the most competent fighter radars in the world.

A new hardware configuration with a complete new radar back-end gives significantly improved radar performance and operational range, enhances the GRIPEN Weapon System capabilities and offers full AMRAAM and Meteor integration. It also enables significant capability growth through software upgrades to successfully counter evolving threats in decades to come.

A new Air-to-Air mode has been implemented and demonstrated which takes full advantage of the signal processing capacity and the flexible waveform generation in PS-05/A Mk4. This mode increases acquisition range with 100% at low altitudes compared to previous version of PS- 05/A. This radar mode will also be useful for detection of targets with very low Radar Cross Section. The METEOR missile downlink is optimized to maintain radar performance during long-range data linking scenarios.

22 April 2015

Acceptance Tests for Rheinmetall LEOPARD 2 simulators Passed for the Indonesian Army

Within 15 months after contract award, Rheinmetall has produced  state-of-the-art driving simulator and gunnery simulator systems for training Indonesian LEOPARD 2 personnel. The order is worth several million euros.

The LEOPARD Gunnery Skills Trainer (LGST) and Driver Training Simulator (DTS) are specifically designed for training LEOPARD 2A4 tank crews, and will primarily be used for sharpening the gunnery and combat skills of commanders, gunners and drivers. Rheinmetall’s modern TacSi technology features prominently in these simulators.

Rheinmetall LEOPARD Gunnery Skills Trainer (LGST) (Photos: Rheinmetall)

Rheinmetall LEOPARD Driver Training Simulator (DTS)

In March 2015, a delegation of Indonesia conducted the factory acceptance test (FAT) at Rheinmetall and both simulators passed them successfully. The delivery and installation of simulators will begin soon to complete the project in time.


Recurring Military and Technological Abbreviations and Acronyms

AESA - Active Electronically Scanned Array
AEV - Armoured Engineer Vehicle
AEW - Airborne Early Warning
AEW&C - Airborne Early Warning and Control
AFB - Air Force Base
AFV - Armoured Fighting Vehicle
APC - Armoured Personnel Carrier
ASW - Anti-Submarine Warfare
ASuW - Anti-Surface Warfare
ATGM - Anti-Tank Guided Missile
AUV - Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
BAAINBw - Germany's Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support
C2 - Command and Control
C4 - C2, Communications and Computers
C4I - C4 and Information
CAS - Close Air Support
CASEVAC - Casualty Evacuation
CBRNE - Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive
COIN - Counterinsurgency
COMINT - Communications Intelligence
COTS - Commercial Off The Shelf
DGA - French Procurement Agency
DIRCM - Directed Infrared Counter Measure
DPP - Defence Procurement Procedure
DPSU - Defence Public Sector Undertakings
DRDO - Defence Research and Development Organisation
EDA - European Defence Agency
EEZ - Exclusive Economic Zone
EFP - Explosively Formed Penetrator
ELINT - Electronic Intelligence
EO - Electro-Optical
EOD - Explosive Ordnance Disposal
ESM - Electronic Support Measure
FIBUA - Fighting in Built Up Area
FLIR - Forward Looking Infra-Red
FMS - Foreign Military Sale
GDP - Gross Domestic Product
GPS - Global Positioning Satellite NEUNEUNEU
HALE - High Altitude Long Endurance
HAZMAT - Hazardous Materials
HEAT - High Explosive Anti-Tank
HF - High Frequency NEUNEUNEU
HMMWV - High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle
I2 - Image Intensified
IDF - Israel Defense Forces
IDIQ - Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity
IED - Improvised Explosive Device
ICV - Infantry Carrier Vehicle
IFF - Identification-Friend-or-Foe
IFV - Infantry Fighting Vehicle
IOC - Initial Operational Capability
IR - Infra Red
ISR - Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
M-ATV - MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle
MALE - Medium Altitude Long Endurance
MANPADS - Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems
MBT - Main Battle Tank
MEDEVAC - Medical Evacuation
MOTS - Military Off The Shelf
MOUT - Military Operations in Urban Terrain
MPA - Maritime Patrol Aircraft
MRAP - Mine Resistant Ambush Protected
MRO - Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
NVG - Night Vision Goggle
OEF - Operation "Enduring Freedom"
OIF - Operation "Iraqi Freedom"
OPV - Offshore Patrol Vessel
PEO - Program Executive Officer
PEO STRI - Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation
PRR - Personal Role Radio
R&D - Research and Development
ROV - Remotely Operated Vehicle
RPA - Remotely Piloted Aircraft
RPG - Rocket Propelled Grenade
SDSR - Strategic Defence and Security Review
SINCGARS - Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
SME - Small and Medium Sized Enterprise
STOL - Short Take-Off and Landing
SWaP - Size, Weight and Power
UAS - Unmanned Air System
UAV - Unmanned Air Vehicle
UGV - Unmanned Ground Vehicle
UHF - Ultra High Frequency NEUNEUNEU
UOR - Urgent Operational Requirement
USSOCOM - US Special Operations Command NEUNEUNEU
USV- Unmanned Surface Vehicle
UUV - Unmanned Underwater Vehicle
UXO - Unexploded Ordnance
VHF - Very High Frequency NEUNEUNEU
VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol
VTOL - Vertical Take-Off and Landing

17 April 2015

2015 US Navy League Exposition Report: The US Navy “Gets It”

What a difference a year makes. At the 2014 iteration of the US Navy League’s annual event there was much hand wringing and looking in the community’s rear view mirror, about the service’s long-range budget stability, the behind schedule and over-cost Lockheed Martin F-35 programme and other matters. In retrospect, the confluence of events were out of the hands of all but a few senior military and civilian leaders in the Pentagon’s E-Ring, and political leaders across the Potomac River on Capitol Hill. However the malaise drifted down through the ranks of the military-industry team. The Navy simply looked adrift, seeking a course with calm and following seas in the turbulent post-Afghanistan and Iraq wars era.    

In 2015, a seemingly revitalised US Navy (USN) is addressing festering doubts and issues about high visibility programmes – including its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) programme. In this instance the service is embarking on a new frigate subprogramme to address what was to be hull numbers 33-52. The service’s embryonic frigate programme belatedly addresses long-standing doubts on the waterfront and inside the Washington, DC Beltway about the survivability of the hull platform and lethality of onboard weapons systems for current LCS-1 and -2 classes.  

At the same time, the service is more aggressively and purposefully embracing unmanned systems by establishing offices on its Pentagon staffs to better guide the service into the era of unmanned missions – and none too soon.

One rapidly moving technology project on the service’s burgeoning unmanned vehicle list is the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) effort being supported by Textron. Bill Leonard, the director of Unmanned Surface Units at Textron Systems, told MT on the very busy Navy League conference floor that last September his company was the sole source winner of the competitive contract award. “We accomplished our second major milestone, the preliminary design review, last week,” he said. “We’ll have a series of critical design reviews over the next four months. Then we start building up the system, then test it and hand it over to the Navy in September 2016.” Textron is using its Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) as its baseline vehicle technology in the UISS programme.

Very telling remarks by the service’s leaders made it clear that program managers will literally be looking on both sides of the Atlantic – and possibly beyond – for materiel solutions. While long gestating, deliberately paced R&D projects are still necessary to bring high risk, cutting edge technologies to operators, in some instances the service cannot wait to navigate the very unwieldy Pentagon acquisition process. So, while Pentagon leadership deserves credit for recently implementing its new Better Buying Power 3.0 acquisition strategy, some programmes, including the rapidly evolving frigate (LCSs-33-52) programme quickly need mature technology solutions, ranging from weapons to communications systems.

Sensing opportunities in the US maritime defense market, a number of oversea companies exhibited at this year’s Navy League conference. The Canadian and UK pavilions offered the USN customer and US industry members to view and discuss capabilities ranging from shipbuilding to diesel engines.        

On the topic of R&D and “the future,” the service signaled its intentions throughout the conference that it is expanding the realm of possibility as it pursues and fields next-generation weapons and weapons systems. Indeed, Cpt. Mike Ziv, the programme manager for Directed Energy and Electric Weapons Systems at Naval Sea Systems Command, told conference attendees the service will conduct the first at-sea test firing of its electromagnetic gun in late summer 2016.

The railgun will conceptually fire a hypervelocity projectile at three times the velocity of the service’s legacy-era 5in gun shell.  

The service’s programme of record calls for operational deployment of a shipboard electromagnetic weapon in the mid-2020s. The development will provide intriguing opportunities to revolutionise (not evolve) the naval gunfire support mission.                

Concurrently, the USN is looking to move forward with friends and allies who operate the same weapons systems and weapons platforms. Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, provided some very telling comments on Day 1 of the conference. The service chief stated his interest to continue cooperating with the UK on a Common Missile Compartment that would be used in the new classes of US and UK SSBNs. And not lost on delegates was the reiteration the US and its Australian Navy counterparts will operate identical Boeing P-8s – opening the door to synergies through the aircrafts’ life cycle.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

One of the more peculiar omissions on the conference agenda was the absence of panel discussions and briefings by service leaders on the Middle East. While the USN and its sister services, the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, still support the Afghanistan war and an increasing list of other missions in the Middle East and North Africa, there was a glaring absence of formal discussion about the services’ plans for future engagement and operations in the regions.

Alternatively, senior leaders from the US naval services did highlight their challenges and opportunities in the Pacific Region. Of particular interest were the expanding number of US partnerships and collaborative programs with nations in the region, most noticeably the USMC's evolving regional presence program that allows it to rotate units into bases in Australia for training and short-notice employment.      
Marty Kauchak

LAAD 2015: Rockwell Collins and CIAC Sign Cooperation Agreement for Colombia

On 16 April, Rockwell Collins and CIAC have signed a cooperation agreement for repair service of Rockwell Collins’ avionics systems for Colombian Military and National Police aircraft. CIAC will be responsible for the Rockwell Collins products (e.g. MRO) used by the Columbian Forces. The agreement was signed at LAAD in Rio by Flavio Enrique Ulloa Echeverry, a retired Air Force General of Columbia and CEO of CIAC (Corporacion de la Industria Aeronautic Columbia S.A.) and Alan J. Prowse, Vice President and Managing Director Americas and Global Services BD Rockwell Collins. That ceremony was hosted by the Deputy Minister of Defence Columbia, General (ret.) Jose Gabriel Perez.

Signing ceremnony: Alan J. Prowse, Vice President and Managing Director Americas and Global Services BD Rockwell Collins; Deputy Minister of Defence Columbia, General (ret.) Jose Gabriel Perez and Flavio Enrique Ulloa Echeverry, CEO of CIAC. (Photo: AF) 

The agreement, a five-year Firm-Fixed Price repair contract, will enable CIAC to receive expedited repair service of Rockwell Collins avionics equipment. As part of Rockwell Collins’ strategic objective to expand service and support capabilities in Latin America, CIAC will become the primary service channel to market for Rockwell Collins’ systems in Colombia. This marks the first phase of the alliance, which can be expanded as CIAC’s service capabilities grow in Colombia and Latin America.

Furthermore CIAC offers capabilities in maintenance services (e.g. level III inspections, primary beam replacement, level 1/2 rotor blades replacement, MRO composite materials, MWO, main fuselage check, recovery of crashed aircrafts) and logistical support (hardware and consumable material, primary structure elements, etc.) for the UH-60 BLACK HAWK of the Columbian Air Force and is responsible for the Modernization of the T-27 plane (cabin, navigation and communication equipment, total rewiring, structurally reinforcement (wing).

Foto signing ceremony kommt nach:

LAAD 2015: Simulation for the Brazilian Navy

While simulation is on everybody`s mind in Brazil, the Marinha do Brazil CASNAV (centro de analyses de sitemas navais) is bringing more innovation than ever with its new proof of concept simulator. This ship bridge simulator called simpass is a complete solution for training allowing ship bridge crew to train for virtually any type of vessels. And it is presented at LAAD.

Simpass embeds high fidelity dynamics simulation of vessel movements, wave generation of all sea states, visualization and rich graphics for instruments visualization and out of the window displays. The control software allows to create scenarios in several locations and for different types of operations. Simpass specifications follow DNV certification standards.

Assisted by Adventure tech, CASNAV team lead by Captain Coreixas, was able to add this year some innovative products for visualization (Oculus) and for motion. (D-BOX). Simpass is now capable to make trainees not only see and hear but also feel their training exercises (and ship movements).

This ship bridge simulator is a flexible simulator, capable of a large versatility in term of vessels, its modular structure allows different layers of immersion. D-BOX Motion Systems added the ultimative layer of immersion delivering the precise feeling of operating in the ship bridge,” sid Capitao de Corveta Ricardo Sampaio, CASNAV.

The D-BOX motion tools allow a small footprint, plug & play operations (USB connections for integration to all software available on the market) and cost effective (0.04 KW/H energy consumption, 8+ years without maintenance) performance. The actuators are based on electro-magnetic and therefore are very compact, need no liquids and have no friction. There are several available with extensions of 1.5 to 6 inch lifting. Their high frequency signals simulate the real vibration of the ship engines and the wave motions. The following simulation software solutions are currently integrated with D-BOX technology:

  • CarSIM & TruckSIM by Mechnical Simulation Corporation
  • Flight Simulator by Microsoft
  • Helism by Presagis
  • Prepar3D by Lockheed Martin
  • VBS2/VBS3 by Bohemia Interactive Simulations
  • Vortex by CM Labs Simulations and
  • Xplane by Laminar Research.

The system has an open plug & play architecture and can be set up by the end user.

LAAD 2015: Air Operations Management Cooperation

Odebrecht Defense and Technology, its subsidiary Mectron and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have recently agreed on a partnership to jointly offer the Brazilian Air Force an Air Operations and Air Defense Management solution capable to support the Brazilian Aerospace Defense System evolution.

We are aware that some time ago the Brazilian Air Force issued an RFI looking for candidate alternatives to upgrade their current Air Defense Control System. We at Odebrecht believe that the Air Force deserves the best critical system to support air operations, and we are glad to extend our partnership with Rafael on Air Operation Management scope. This partnership can provide to the Brazilian Air Force a good product which delivers combat proven, safe and secure capability allied with an upgradable system in-country,” said Rogério Salvador, Odebrecht Defense and Technology Business Development Director.

The partnership takes advantage of existing combat-proven RAFAEL systems, which are capable of fulfilling Brazil's air defense and air operations management needs. Some of these system’s main features are:

  • Provide highly accurate, rapid and reliable Air Situation Picture (ASP) information.
  • Capable of interfacing with active and passive sensors.
  • Processes both military and civilian flight planes.
  • Can be easily integrated with existing customer military and civilian sensors and infrastructure.
  • No limit on number of connected sensors.
  • Tracks both high performance (modern fighters) and low performance/low speed targets, and hovering helicopters.
  • Three levels of redundancy that guarantee 24/7 operation.
  • Wide range of safety features adapted to military applications.

In our system, like in Brazil, we have the same a hybrid Aerospace Control System where military and civilian infrastructures are shared to gain optimal efficiency. Our systems were developed by and for the air defense controllers, being operational not only in our country, but enforcing the sovereignty of several other countries,” said Meir Ben Shaya (Col. Res.), RAFAEL C4I S.M.E & Business Development Manager.

Mectron will guarantee that any proposed solution supports the actual and planned Brazilian Operational Model, while interfacing with the existing and planned Brazilian infrastructure. Mectron and RAFAEL plan to work together to deliver a system with the capability to create an unified Air Situation Picture ,screens, interfaces, and functionalities according to the Brazilian Air Force requirements. The transfer of technology embedded into this work will provide Mectron the needed knowledge to in-country maintain and evolve the system.

We have a complete technology strategy that will allow Mectron to maintain and evolve the system´s functionalities independently from RAFAEL. We believe it is paramount to give the Brazilian Air Force a fast response to any need of evolving the system. Our actual and successful experience on the Link Br2 shows that the companies indeed trust each other and that we have a truly value added partnership, which can be proven by the results already delivered by the project,” Said Avi Krengel, RAFALATINO Deputy General Manager.

LAAD 2015: CONTROP with a New Comprehensive Airborne Surveillance Mission System for Helicopters

CONTROP Precision Technologies Ltd. of Israel is a world leader in EO/IR defense and homeland security solutions and unveiled its recently developed and certified A-SMS Airborne – Surveillance Mission System for helicopters at LAAD 2015. The A-SMS is a complete turnkey solution especially designed for converting Law Enforcement and Government Helicopters into an advanced EO/IR surveillance mission configuration.  These surveillance helicopters are most commonly used for a variety of Law Enforcement applications including Police, Search and Rescue (SAR), Fire Fighting and Coastal/Border Surveillance.

CONTROP A-SMS Airborne Surveillance Mission System  with STC certification 

According to VP Marketing Mr. Johnny Carni, "We are proud to present for the first time at LAAD 2015 this new affordable airborne surveillance suite for helicopters".  The A-SMS is offered with a variety of CONTROP’s EO/IR Gyro-stabilized Payloads, including the Full HD and high performance DSP-HD, the Full HD medium-range QUAD-HD or the compact and lightweight SHAPO. This variety enables the Customer to select a configuration which best matches the operational requirements as well as the budget.

In addition to the payload, the A-SMS includes an Operator’s Work Station with a display monitor, DVR, Control Unit, Mission Computer and Moving Map Software. This software features Augmented Reality (AR) as well as several additional (optional) capabilities such as Cockpit Display, Video Downlink and a Searchlight which is “slaved” to the payload’s Line-of-Sight (LOS).  Also included is a certified A-Kit for mounting the payload and the entire system on the helicopter.
CONTROP’s A-SMS recently received STC (Supplementary Type) Certification by the Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) and is in the process of receiving certificate validation by the Brazilian Civilian Aviation Authority (ANAC) as well as by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the most popular type of Police/Government helicopters in Brazil, the AS 350/355.
Mr. Carni goes on to say that “Now that we have received these important certifications, we have the capability to offer this upgrade package to all AS 350/355 Operators and we are also more than ready to certify the package on other helicopter models, upon Customer’s request. CONTROP’s A-SMS is very attractively priced relative to similar systems on the market and is ITAR free.” A-SMS is recently tested by the Brazilian Police and in May will be demonstrated at the German Police and some other countries.

The A-SMS was developed and certified in conjunction with CONTROP’s Brazilian partner, the well-known TAM Aviaco Executiva and Taxi Aero.  The A-SMS will be promoted, installed and supported in Brazil by TAM Aviacao.

CONTROP offers dual optronic/IR cameras for airborne and land applications in all sizes and for ranges from 100 m to 30 km (ground system Epedd-LR), cooled and uncooled (e.g. T-Stamp 3 kg) with continuous zoom lenses. According to the company the smallest and lightest (beginning at 300 gr.) IR zoom lenses available on the market. Mr. Carni pointed out, that his systems offer a 40% weight reduction in comparison to other system on the market. They are all 3-axes and highly stabilized for an extreme high quality and the capability to really look directly vertically or horizontally. As an option laser designator are available. The ground system Speed-LR can automatically detect moving targets, even UAVs and classify them (to avoid fals alarms e.g. for animals). The SPIDER can detect simmer at 1 mile away, even in rough sea.

LAAD 2015: Photographic Recap of Day 3

LAAD 2015: LAAD by numbers

LAAD in Brazil is one of the major shows (together with FIDAE in Chile) in Latin America. This year more than 600 exhibitors (189 from Brazil) from 45 countries around the world are presenting their products and solutions. There are 28 national pavilions, one of the biggest are from Israel, the US and China. At the first 9.205 and at the second day 10.638 visitors attended the show. Among them 158 delegations from 71 countries. Most of them high raking (Chief of Staff, Chief of Procurement) and eight foreign Defence Ministers (e.g. South Africa) and 15 foreign Vice Defence Ministers (e.g. Columbia). Germany let alone had three Generals attending, with General Erhard Buehler the head of Planning MoD. Defence Ministers: (from Jamaica, Portugal, Czech Republic, Suriname, Mauritania, Sao-Tomé and Principe, South Africa)