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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) or forward air controller (FAC) warfighter training in close air support (CAS) exercises, ranging from desktop systems to dome systems.


AAJTS dome simulator at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY, March, 2015. (New York Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Eric Miller/Released.)

U.S. Air Force JTC TRS

MetaVR has been 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. This award supersedes a limited contract for the JTC TRS program that the U.S. Air Force awarded to Fidelity Technologies in February 2009. This partial dome simulator, which uses MetaVR visual channels, geospecific 3D terrain, and culture and entity models, 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.


USAF site acceptance testing of the JTC TRS at Ft. Benning, GA, June 2016. (Photo courtesy of QuantaDyn.)

QuantaDyn's 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) Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE), and MetaVR's Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) which provides the out-the-window and sensor visuals for the dome display, a ROVER device, and emulated military equipment.


USAF site acceptance testing of the JTC TRS at Ft. Benning, GA, June 2016. (Photo courtesy of QuantaDyn.)

Under the contract, QuantaDyn will initially install and support two JTC TRS devices in 2016, with additional options for 30 more devices. The first delivery milestone was met in June 2016, with successful completion of USAF site acceptance testing at Fort Benning, GA, the site of the first JTC TRS installation.

JTAC desktop simulators in SOTACC classrooms at Yuma Proving Ground

MetaVR VRSG, 3D terrain, and 3D content are in the new desktop JTAC simulators that are replacing the current call for fire trainer (CFFT) simulators at the Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course (SOTACC) as part of an award made in late 2015 by Special Operations Command to Battlespace Simulations (BSI). The two-classroom setup uses 24 VRSG channels in total coupled with BSI's Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) software.

Each station contains a communications suite on a tablet to simulate PRC-117, PRC-148, PRC-152 radios, and a ROVER feed. All new hardware, including two terrain servers loaded with MetaVR's 3D terrain and 3D content were delivered to the SOTACC facility at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma, Arizona, in December 2015. The desktop JTAC simulators replace the CFFT simulators delivered several years ago by Fidelity Technologies.

AAJTS / AJTS dome simulators at Nellis JTAC Schoolhouse, Hurlburt Field, and other sites

The U.S. Air Force's primary joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) Virtual Training Facility at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, uses MetaVR visuals in multiple training dome and desktop configurations for joint fires simulation training. At the facility, often referred to as the "Nellis JTAC schoolhouse," the 6th Combat Training Squadron (CTS) provides the JTAC Qualification Course (JTACQC) and JTAC Instructor Course (JTACIC) to US Air Force JTAC and JTAC instructor trainees. As the main USAF JTAC training facility, the schoolhouse offers the largest number of co-located and networked USAF JTAC simulators.

For the partial dome simulators, the Headquarters Air Force purchased two Advanced Joint Terminal Attack Controller Training Systems (AJTS) for the facility. The systems, described below, were installed in July 2014.


One of the two AJTS dome simulators at Nellis JTAC Virtual Training Facility. (Photo courtesy of BSI.)

The AJTS or the Air National Guard AJTS version (AAJTS) is a high-fidelity, immersive simulator and is the combined effort of QuantaDyn, USAF Trainer Development Division, Battlespace Simulations (BSI), Immersive Display Solutions (IDSI), and MetaVR. This 5-meter, 270 degree FOV training dome system, which uses 10 MetaVR 3D visual channels, is similar in appearance to a miniature IMAX theater and fully immerses the JTAC trainee in a 3D real-time virtual battlefield. The system is comprised of, in part, commercial off-the-shelf components: Immersive Display Solutions’ immersive domed visual display system; BSI’s Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) computer generated force and semi-automated force application with call-for-fire, 5-line and 9-line interfaces; a simulated rangefinder/designator, and MetaVR’s Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG), geospecific 3D terrain, and model libraries.

The partial dome simulator is designed to support all JTAC and combat controller squadron level continuation, qualification, and mission rehearsal training. The AJTS encompasses high-fidelity visual displays, geospecific visual databases, equipment emulators, and associated hardware and software.

The training system is designed to meet the requirements for unit training at Air Support Operations Squadrons (ASOS) and Special Tactics Squadrons (STS) and 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.

Throughout 2014 and 2015 QuantaDyn fulfilled a production contract for the installation of 21 AAJTS / AJTS across the U.S. Installations include the aforementioned Nellis AFB JTAC Schoolhouse, Peoria Air National Guard Base, Hurlburt Field, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fort Indiantown Gap, Gowen Field, Boise, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, Savannah Air National Guard Base, Hulman Field at Terre Haute International Airport, Randolph AFB, Camp Murray in Tacoma, WA, New London Air National Guard Base, NC, Ellington Field in Houston, TX, Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, Joint Air Base San Antonio, TX, and Hancock Field in Syracuse, NY.
  MetaVR visuals in the AAJTS training dome at Fort Indiantown Gap. Click to view original high-resolution image.
Pennsylvania National Guard’s 148th Air Support Operations Squadron’s new AAJTS at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA, September, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Culeen Shaffer/Released.)

QuantaDyn installed the 21st AAJTS at 238th ASOS, Key Field, Meridian, MS.


AAJTS at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, October 2016.

The unveiling of first operational AAJTS in the U.S. took place April 21, 2014, by the Oklahoma Air National Guard at the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City. The first European installation of the simulator was installed at the Adazi Military Base, Latvia, in September 2014. QuantaDyn was recently awarded the contract for delivery of an AJTS to Hungary.  HDF 86 Szolnok Helicopter Base in Taborfalva, Hungary, will be the second system installed in Europe.

AAJTS installation with MetaVR visuals at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City.
AAJTS installation with MetaVR visuals at the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, April 2014. (Photo courtesy of QuantaDyn.)

In 2014, the partial dome simulator participated in two coalition training events:

  • May 2014, the AAJTS took part in the annual Bold Quest 14.2 live-virtual CAS exercise, conducted at Holloman Air Force Base and other locations.
  • In September 2014, the commercial version of the immersive dome simulator (AJTS) took part in the NATO Exercise Ample Strike 2014, held at Namest Air Base, Czech Republic. During the one week exercise, JTAC teams from 12 NATO countries accomplished 95 accredited controls on the AJTS device. 

Also during Exercise Ample Strike 2014, Close Air Solutions demonstrated their new immersive Close Air Support Simulator (iCASS), a NATO accredited JTAC/FAC training simulator with a 3-meter dome display. This simulator, described next, also uses BSI's MACE, and MetaVR's visuals, terrain, and 3D content.

iCASS JTAC Trainer at UK JTAC Schoolhouse

In partnership with prime contractor Finmeccanica Selex ESClose Air Solutions has announced the acceptance of its Immersive Close Air Support Simulator (iCASS) training system by the Joint Forward Air Control Training and Standardisation Unit (JFACTSU) of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). The iCASS, which uses MetaVR visuals, will be used to fulfill the MoD's forward air control training requirement at the Royal Air Force Station Leeming, North Yorkshire, England.

The iCASS system, installed at JFACTSU in February 2015, is a FAC/JTAC simulation system which provides a high-fidelity, immersive training environment with a full after action review (AAR) capability. The system meets DIS/SISO standards. This system, developed by MetaVR's business partner Close Air Solutions, features a 3 meter 240 x 120 degree FOV immersive dome display from Immersive Display Group and uses MetaVR visuals: 12 VRSG channels for the projected views and simulated laser target designator and range finder, and 3D content. The iCASS also features computer generated/semi-automated forces and threat generation from MetaVR's business partner BSI's MACE, which includes CFF, 9-Line, and 5-Line interfaces as well as the virtual pilot station. The iCASS also uses BSI's Viper DIS radio for communications and DIScord DIS recorder for after action review (AAR).


Close Air Solutions' iCASS simulator at Joint Forward Air Controller Training and Standards Unit (JFACTSU), RAF Leeming, UK. February, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Close Air Solutions.)

In February 2015, Close Air Solutions delivered to and installed at the school both an iCASS-240 immersive simulator and an iCASS desktop simulator (similar to the BSI/MetaVR AJS Desktop simulator described later on this page) with Teleplan Globe's FACNAV Digitally Aided Close Air Support (DACAS) system. The iCASS-240 is an accredited FAC/JTAC simulator in accordance with the NATO STANAG 3797 and US Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

Training on the system began at JFACTSU on April 7th. JFACTSU at RAF Leeming is the only NATO and US Joint Services accredited UK Defence facility for training FACs/JTACs. The JFACTSU currently trains around 100 FACs/JTACs per year from all UK military services (Army, Royal Marines, RAF Regiment, and Special Forces). 

Combined Arms Virtual Environment (CAVE) dome simulator at NAS Fallon

The Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nevada, uses MetaVR visuals in its Combined Arms Virtual Environment (CAVE) training dome and desktop systems for the simulation portion of the JTAC qualification course at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC).

In January 2015, MetaVR's business partner BSI completed a contract to overhaul/refresh the technology of the Multi-Purpose Supporting Arms Training (MSAT) dome at NSAWC's Joint Close Air Support schoolhouse. BSI led a team of engineers from partner companies Scalable Display Technologies, Boston Tech Partners, NVIS, and MetaVR in the rapid upgrade of the system, which has since been rebranded as CAVE. Students began training on the upgraded system within 3 weeks of delivery and installation of the systems.


NAS Fallon CAVE system, with MetaVR visuals and 3D content as part of a technology overhaul/refresh of the MSAT dome at NSAWC's Joint Close Air Support schoolhouse.

The 22 VRSG visual channels in the CAVE system provide out-the-window (OTW) views for the dome, instructor station, and role player stations, as well as views for UAV camera feed and the simulated rangefinder/designator. As a significant cost savings measure, which also demonstrates the flexibility of the COTS systems installed for the upgrade, the existing rigid shell 5-meter 240 degree FOV dome and Sony projectors were fully repurposed in the upgraded simulator. BSI is under contract to install this new baseline simulation training system at two other Navy training sites to replace other legacy JTAC simulators.

The system uses BSI's MACE as the CGF/SAF at the instructor station, pilot station, and in the two desktop-based classroom systems, and MetaVR's VRSG, geospecific 3D terrain, and model libraries. It also uses BSI's Viper DIS radio for an operationally realistic communications environment and DIScord for AAR and debrief. As part of the simulation technology upgrade, MetaVR has built and delivered to NAS Fallon 2 cm per pixel resolution geospecific 3D terrain of two target ranges on the Fallon Range Training Complex (FRTC) used for field training in the JTAC qualification course. The 2 cm per pixel imagery of the B-17 and B-19 ranges was captured by MetaVR's portable UAV, MetaVRC. The portable UAV was built and flown by Swift Radioplanes in military controlled air space.

JTAC desktop simulation system

Since 2013, 32 Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Combat Command (ACC), and Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) JTAC training sites in the US and abroad took delivery and installation of MetaVR and BSI’s JTAC desktop simulation system. These systems include 10 AFSOC JTAC Simulators (AJS), 20 JTAC/TACP-Operational Simulation Suites (J/T-OSS 2.0) used by Air Combat Command (ACC), a desktop system at the 169th ASOS in Peoria (ANG) and a desktop system at Camp Murray, WA (ANG).


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

These installations followed the accreditation in 2012 of MetaVR and BSI’s JTAC simulation system granted by the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee for JTAC training. The system is accredited 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. Type 1 accreditation requires either a head-mounted display (HMD) or a 220+ degree FOV dome display. The JFS ESC accreditation applies to any JTAC simulator that uses VRSG version 5.7 or greater and BSI MACE version 1.0 or greater, such as the AFSOC JTAC trainer, USAF J-T/OSS, AAJTS, JFIRES, and JTAC-TRS prototype systems.

The accreditation followed a demonstration to members of the Joint Fire Support Executive Steering Committee (JFS ESC) at Hurlburt Field, FL, on May 24, 2012. Initial consideration for this accreditation resulted from a competitive fly-off at Hurlburt Field in August 2011, in which the BSI and MetaVR joint system was ranked the highest among five competing simulation systems in meeting the requirements for JTAC simulators.

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. The BSI/MetaVR JTAC simulation system, a 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. 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.

This joint effort JTAC simulator is offered as a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) firm fixed price simulator with publicly available pricing, and is available in portable and desktop configurations with a head-mounted display, and as an integrated system with a fully immersive dome


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

The BSI/MetaVR system has been fully integrated at several sites, including multiple AFSOC sites such as Special Tactics Training at Hurlburt Field, FL, the Michigan Air National Guard's 4-meter Joint Fires Dome in Grayling, MI, McChord-Lewis Joint Base, Ft. Benning, Pope AFB, Cannon AFB, Kadena Air Base, Japan, Milden Hall RAF, UK and AFRL's JTAC-TRS 5-meter domes, and is currently being developed for additional US and international customers. Several other sites use the simulator through the U.S. Air Combat Command (ACC) under which the system is called the JTAC-TACP/Operational Simulation Suite (J-T/OSS) are listed below.

The US Air Combat Command (ACC) is fielding MetaVR visuals in J-T/OSS, which is used at the US Air Force’s Distributed Mission Operations Center (DMOC) at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) and other sites across the US. Note that VRSG's simulated UAV-produced ROVER feed for the J-T/OSS is through the Air Force Synthetic Environment for Reconnaissance and Surveillance (AFSERS). This system has been chosen by the ACC as the interim solution for the Joint Terminal Controller Training Rehearsal System (JTAC TRS).  J-T/OSS version 2.0 (which includes the accredited MetaVR/BSI JTAC simulator) will be the Interim Distributed Mission Operational (DMO) capable trainer until the JTAC TRS is fielded.

In addition to the DMOC at Kirtland AFB , the J-T/OSS is used for training at multiple sites across the US, including Nellis AFB JTAC Schoolhouse, Joint Base McChord-Lewis, Ft. Hood, Pope, Ft. Carson, Ft. Campbell, Ft. Riley, Scholfield Barracks HI, Ft. Drum, Ft. Benning, Ft. Polk, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK. *

Air National Guard

Air National Guard JTACs initially adopted the use of VRSG for training several years ago when they first developed their own desktop close air support training simulators with MetaVR VRSG 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.

MetaVR's Afghanistan virtual terrain, shown in several images on this page, is optimized for ground attack training missions in JTAC simulation, such as A-10 missions.

Approximately 30 ASOS sites in the US and overseas use VRSG for JTAC training in first person shooter JTAC mode and via a regeneration station. Networked environments that do not have the bandwidth to handle VRSG’s streaming MPEG (simulated UAV camera video feed) directly set up a UAV regeneration station to capture the streaming MPEG of the VRSG-simulated UAV camera payload video in the form of data packets. These data packets are then regenerated as video, and streamed to another device on a local network, such as a ROVER.

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.

Used in conjunction with the Human Effectiveness Directorate studies on JTAC simulator training, the Grayling JFIRES dome is comprised of a 4-meter dome with 4 MetaVR VRSG channels, an installed BSI MACE instructor operator station, a MACE person-in-the-loop pilot station with 1 VRSG channel dedicated to out-the-cockpit views and another VRSG channel for the sensor view. The dome has a 4-meter spherical screen, which gives a JTAC trainee a 160° to 170° horizontal field of view. The JTAC trainee also has two additional VRSG channels available for a monocular/binocular used for laser range finding and target designation as well as a full motion video ROVER-type feed for external targeting information. The simulator has a variety of DIS tools, including DIS radios and a DIS recorder. The instructor can control all constructive entities (including attacking aircraft and artillery), as well as ground entities and threats.

JTAC TRS at AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Warfighter Readiness Research Division, 711th Human Performance Wing, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base uses 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, such as the AAJTS system described above. 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.

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, the target location, and the compass rose, this view is the same view as seen in the desktop-based JTAC simulator. The desktop and dome simulators produce the same designator view. Click the image to see an enlarged version.

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.

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 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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