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MetaVR VRSG Provides Visuals for JTAC Simulation

MetaVR's Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™) is used in various configurations to simulate the functionality needed for joint terminal attack controller (JTAC), forward air controller (FAC), and forward observer (FO) warfighter training in close air support (CAS) exercises, ranging from desktop systems to dome systems.


AAJTS dome simulator at Hulman Field Air National Guard Base, Terre Haute International Airport, for the Indiana Air National Guard 113th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS). (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

U.S. Navy Combined Arms Virtual Environment (CAVE) immersive simulator

The U.S. Navy is using MetaVR visuals in its Combined Arms Virtual Environment (CAVE) training dome and desktop systems. The CAVE training system provides an immersive, large field-of-view partial dome display for sea-and land-based  Navy and U.S Marine Corps individual and team training in supporting arms and close air support.


The CAVE system at EWTGPAC San Diego, with MetaVR visuals, terrain, and 3D content, and BSI MACE and other products. Featured in the curved display is VRSG rendering MetaVR's geospecific Kismayo, Somalia, terrain.

Designed and built by Battlespace Simulations (BSI),  the CAVE is comprised of BSI MACE and MetaVR VRSG software in student desktop stations in a partial dome, an instructor/operator station, a role-player station, and a supporting arms station in an adjoining classroom. The CAVE systems are used for initial qualification and currency training for Naval Special Warfare, Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, and Marine Corps joint terminal attack controllers (JTACS) and joint fires observers (JFOs).

U.S. Air Force Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System (JTC TRS)

MetaVR was chosen as the 3D real-time visualization provider in the award of the Joint Terminal Control Training and Rehearsal System (JTC TRS) contract to QuantaDyn Corporation by Department of the U.S. Air Force – Air Force Material Command. A total of 20 JTC TRS systems have been installed since the start of the program, with an additional 12 systems planned for delivery in 2018 and 2019. The JTC TRS solution under contract is comprised of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components including QuantaDyn's DIScover, Immersive Display Solutions' immersive dome display system, Battlespace Simulations' (BSI's) MACE, and MetaVR's VRSG, which provides the out-the-window and sensor visuals for the dome display, a ROVER device, and emulated military equipment.

This partial dome simulator immerses the joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) or forward air controller (FAC) trainee in a 3D real-time virtual battlefield. These close air support simulators can be connected to the U.S. Air Force A-10 Full Mission Trainers (FMT) which are already standardized on MetaVR 3D visuals. The JTC TRS is accredited by the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee to replace live fly CAS aircraft for: type 1, 2, and 3 controls, day and night missions, controls requiring a ground-based laser target designator for terminal guidance operations/marking, utilizing an IR pointer for night target marking, video downlink for enhanced target description, and surface to surface and air to surface fires integration/deconfliction.


The JTC TRS at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Warrior Preparation Center, Einsiedlerhof Air Station, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devin Boyer.)

In addition to installations of this device across the US, the USAF Europe (USAFE) trains with JTC TRS installed at the Warrior Preparation Center at Einsiedlerhof Air Station, Germany. The simulator helps train service members and airmen in the USAFE-AFAFRICA theater in the tactics and procedures used for coordinating close air support missions from forward positions. The Warrior Preparation Center uses the dome simulator in large-scale exercises, such as the Spartan Eagle quarterly coalition event which includes JTACs in Europe as well as airmen stationed in the US. The USAFE at WPC has long used MetaVR visuals in JTAC, F-16, remotely piloted aircrafts (RPAs), and other training missions.


The JTC TRS at Ft. Benning, GA. (Photo courtesy of QuantaDyn.)

Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System (AAJTS / AJTS) dome simulators

The Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training System (AAJTS,or AJTS at non-Air National Guard sites) is a 5-meter, 270 degree FOV training dome system which fully immerses the JTAC trainee in a 3D real-time virtual battlefield. The system, a combined effort of QuantaDyn, USAF Trainer Development Division, BSI, Immersive Display Solutions (IDSI), and MetaVR is comprised of, in part, components provided by BSI (MACE as the CGF/SAF at the instructor operator station and pilot/role-player station), IDSI (5-meter dome with14-channel LED+IR projection system, audio system, and warp/blend) MetaVR (VRSG, geospecific terrain, and models), and ASTi (voice communication and sounds). The system also includes emulated military equipment.

AAJTS installation with MetaVR visuals at Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, MS.
A JTAC with the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron in the AAJTS with MetaVR visuals and Afghanistan virtual terrain at the Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, MS. (Photo: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Sabrina Dalton.)

The partial dome simulator is accredited for types 1, 2, 3 controls for both day and night, and for laser target designation with a simulated military laser device by the US Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG); the system meets or exceeds current STANAG standards.

JTAC with the 238th ASOS, sitting in the role playing station of the AAJTS at Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, MS. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Sabrina Dalton.
JTAC sitting in the role playing station of the AAJTS at the simulation lab at Illinois Air National Guard, Peoria, IL. (Photo courtesy of QuantaDyn.)

The AAJTS/AJTS is in use at AFSOC, ACC, and ASOS JTAC training sites across the US. Overseas, the AJTS is in use at the Adazi Military Base, Latvia, and the Szolnok Air Base, Hungary. The AJTS is scheduled to be installed soon at the Slovenian Armed Forces Air Ground Operations School (AGOS) at Cerklje ob Krki Airbase, and at the Polish Air Force Academy in Deblin, Poland.

iCASS JTAC Trainer at UK JTAC Schoolhouse

MetaVR's business partner Close Air Solutions uses VRSG in its Immersive Close Air Support Simulator (iCASS) training system. The iCASS is in use in the UK’s FAC/JTAC Training Programme, at the Joint Forward Air Control Training and Standardisation Unit (JFACTSU), Royal Air Force Station Leeming, North Yorkshire, England.

Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator.
Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator. MetaVR's Kismayo terrain is rendered in VRSG. (Photo courtesy of Close Air Solutions.)

The iCASS system is a FAC/JTAC simulation system which provides a high-fidelity, immersive training environment with a full after action review (AAR) capability. The iCASS has been accredited by the US Joint Fires Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and NATO AIRCOM (STANAG 3797) to replace up to 8 out of 12 live controls required annually by each qualified FAC/JTAC.

JTAC desktop simulator classrooms

The Special Tactics Training Squadron (STTS) simulation facility at Hurlburt Field, FL, uses MetaVR/BSI desktop JTAC simulators in a two-classroom setup with 24 VRSG licenses coupled with BSI’s MACE software. Each classroom, designed, configured, and installed by BSI, consists of eight JTAC student stations, an instructor station, an instructor role-player station, and a NVIS Ranger 47 simulated laser range finder. Each station contains a communications suite on a tablet with BSI’s Viper DIS Radio software to simulate PRC-117, PRC-148, PRC-152 radios, and a ROVER feed of VRSG’s simulated sensor view. Two terrain servers are loaded with MetaVR’s CONUS++, Asia, and Africa terrain datasets and 3D content. The two classrooms share a DIS network, which enable students to collaborate on exercise missions.

One of the two classrooms of JTAC desktop simulators at the Special Tactics Training Squadron (STTS)  simulation facility at Hurlburt Field.
One of the two classrooms of JTAC desktop simulators at the Special Tactics Training Squadron (STTS) simulation facility at Hurlburt Field. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

BSI has been awarded an order by GB International to deliver two JTAC portable simulators to the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Special Warfare School that include eight VRSG licenses, terrain, and models. 3D terrain of the entire Korean peninsula in MetaVR’s round-earth Metadesic format is being provided by a collaborative effort between the Simulator Database Repository at Kirtland Air Force Base and the Joint Close Air Support (JCAS) Section of the Joint Staff, Joint Fires J6 division. The BSI JTAC simulators include an instructor station, student station, communications suite (with radios, ROVER feed, Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR)), and a BSI-developed emulated Laser Target Designator to provide the ROK a JTAC training system currently in use by US and NATO forces.

Portable JTAC simulators installed at the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Special Warfare School. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)
Portable JTAC simulators installed at the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Special Warfare School. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

The simulator is designed for a classroom setup or a configuration that can easily transition to custom ruggedized cases for use in the field. In additon to VRSG, the ROK JTAC simulator uses BSI’s MACE, Viper DIS radio, and Worldwide Open Street Map software, and Close Air Solutions’ C-EAGR emulated DAGR software.

JTAC desktop, portable, and mobile training systems

Since 2013, the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Combat Command (ACC), and Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) JTAC training sites in the US and abroad have used MetaVR and BSI’s software in JTAC desktop simulation systems. These systems include the AFSOC JTAC Simulator (AJS) and the JTAC/TACP-Operational Simulation Suites (J/T-OSS 2.0) used by Air Combat Command (ACC).


Role player station of the BSI-MetaVR JTAC desktop simulator. BSI MACE is shown on the left and MetaVR visuals are on the plasma screen in the center and on the laptop's sensor view on the right.

This JTAC simulator is comprised of BSI's MACE scenario/entity generator and MetaVR’s VRSG. The system also includes an integrated software based Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) radio, a recording capability for recording and AAR/playback of missions, and a simulated laser range finder/laser designator. This privately funded COTS solution, enables users to perform training missions on a virtual battlefield with close air support interfaces such as 9-Line, 5-Line, and Call for Fire. Features that support training missions include physics-based weapons performance, laser target designation, full-motion infrared video feeds, a mission editor, human-level behaviors, path finding, blast effects calculations, complex weather system control, and a robust weapons and entity library.


J-T/OSS JTAC desktop simulator at Ft. Riley.(Photo courtesy of BSI.)

The JTAC system is capable of importing existing military topographic database information to allow operators and instructors to quickly develop scenarios appropriate for mission rehearsal. These MetaVR and BSI’s JTAC simulation system is accredited by the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee for types 1, 2, 3 for both day and night, and for laser target designation with simulated military laser, in accordance with the JTAC Memorandum of Agreement.

MetaVR VRSG and BSI’s MACE are also part of the initial configuration of the new Joint Fires Mobile Trainer (JFMT) in use by the UK Ministry of Defense for the British Army's 1st Artillery Brigade. The training classroom is completely self-contained within a 20 ft. trailer, and uses the same underlying technology as the abovementioned installations.


Joint Fires Mobile Trainer (JFMT) in use by the UK Ministry of Defense for the British Army's 1st Artillery Brigade, with MetaVR visuals. (Photo: QuantaDyn.)

This system uses IDSI's VisionStation 3 to render an immersive virtual environment. The setup includes a student station with a full suite of simulated military equipment, an instructor/operator station, a pilot or role player station, and a mission brief/after action review station suitable for a team of four. Like other systems described on this page, this new mobile JTAC training facility provides fully accredited training for Type 1, 2, and 3 day and night close air support control; laser designation and call for fire training. QuantaDyn is the developer and integrator of the JFMT system, partnered with Elbit Systems UK, the prime contractor for this contract to provide a managed training service.

Air National Guard’s initial use of MetaVR visuals for JTAC training

Prior to the AAJTS and other training systems described on this page, Air National Guard JTACs initially adopted the use of VRSG for simulation training several years ago when they developed their own desktop close air support training simulators in 2009. Trainees used VRSG in a first person shooter mode with a gamepad as the navigation device.

JTAC trainees at the Air National Guard Simulation Lab, shown with VRSG’s simulated UAV camera payload of an area of MetaVR’s Afghanistan database.
JTAC trainees at the Air National Guard Simulation Lab, shown with VRSG’s simulated UAV camera payload of an area of MetaVR’s Afghanistan database. The soldier on the left is wearing a headset that enables a voice interface on a simulated radio over the network. The soldier on the right has a NaturalPoint TrackIR tracker clipped to the brim of his cap. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

JTAC at the Air National Guard Simulation Lab, shown with VRSG’s out-the-window and simulated UAV camera views of an area of MetaVR’s Afghanistan database.
A JTAC at the Air National Guard Simulation Lab, shown with VRSG’s out-the-window and simulated UAV camera views of an area of MetaVR’s Afghanistan database. The soldier has a NaturalPoint TrackIR tracker clipped to the brim of his cap. On the desk sits a simulated laser designator. (Photo courtesy of the Illinois Air National Guard, Peoria, IL.)

This service-developed Air National Guard JTAC simulator helped provide the basis for the ACC to approve MetaVR VRSG for use in simulated JTAC training. With this approval, issued in 2009, the training hours JTACs spend using VRSG contribute to approved simulator training credits for terminal attack control requirements.

Using subject matter experts, the DTOC develops and maintains a series of training scenarios that create simulated threats on the network for the Air National Guard sites. It also creates a Multiple Unified Simulation Environment/Air Force Synthetic Environment for Reconnaissance and Surveillance (MUSE/AFSERS) simulated UAV camera video feed that the Air National Guard uses to jointly simulate a close air support mission on geospecific terrain that correlates across both facilities' simulation applications. The JTAC simulations are fully interoperable with the A-10 Full Mission Trainers, F-16 Air National Guard simulators, the MUSE/AFSERS program, and the Army National Guard UAV trainers, as well as others.

JFIRES at Grayling Air Gunnery Range

The Michigan Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) at the Grayling Air Gunnery Range in Alpena, MI, uses the accredited MetaVR/BSI JTAC solution in its JTAC simulation training system, called the Grayling 4m JFIRES Dome.

JTAC TRS at AFRL

Since 2007, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Warfighter Readiness Research Division, 711th Human Performance Wing, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (AFB) has used VRSG in its JTAC training research in three JTAC dome training systems. These three systems, called Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training Rehearsal System (JTAC TRS), were developed and installed in 2007 at the AFRL site in Mesa, AZ, and then moved to Wright-Patterson AFB in 2012. The simulators are the precursors to the next generation JTAC dome training systems currently fielded or in production today. The dome systems provide AFRL with the testbed capability to continue the research and development for training in all facets of CAS and joint fires.

Using MetaVR's visualization software, the JTAC TRS simulator, at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). Inset image shows a view from outside a 360-degree field-of-view dome. (Photos courtesy of AFRL.)
JTAC virtual trainer dome using MetaVR visualization software.
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The JTAC TRS system provides a high-fidelity, fully immersive, realistic training and rehearsal environment with real-time sensor, simulator, and database correlation. Its primary focus is to provide a persistent total air-ground virtual training environment for networked air/ground training and mission rehearsals. This prototype system is used to train both JTAC and combat air crews assigned to accomplish complex missions in close proximity to ground forces. The JTAC TRS connects to distributed mission operations networks to enable geographically separated high-fidelity close air support platforms and JTAC and CCT teams to train together. Additionally, the JTAC TRS enables operators to conduct Joint Close Air Support (JCAS) training and mission rehearsal using tailored, dynamic scenarios that are relevant to mission tasking.

JTAC virtual trainer dome
Operator inside AFRL's JTAC training dome, looking through a simulated laser designator. (Photo courtesy of AFRL.)

VRSG view through a simulated laser designator.
VRSG real-time screen capture of a scene on MetaVR's virtual Afghanistan, which the operator on the left sees when looking through the simulated laser designator with embedded 3D graphics hardware. With information such as the laser code, and the target location, this view is the same view as seen in the desktop-based JTAC simulator. The desktop and dome simulators produce the same designator view.

The JTAC TRS simulator built by Lockheed Martin, uses 19 VRSG channels, 14 of which are for the dome itself. There are 7 VRSG channels for 360-degrees around the bottom half of the dome, and another 7 channels for the top half of the dome. The remaining VRSG channels are used for various emulated hand-held command and control (C2) devices inside the dome (binoculars, laser range finders, and so on), a sound channel, and a single AAR/stealth channel. The DIS/HLA compliant system interoperates with legacy systems and provides the capability to network with other air and ground simulators, including simulators of the A-10 program.

* The information on this web page is not an endorsement by the Air Combat Command or the Air National Guard of MetaVR products.

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