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MetaVR Visuals in Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) Simulation Lab

Bell Helicopter, a Textron company, uses 7 MetaVR visual systems and full sets of North America and Asia Metadesic terrain for an OH-58 Kiowa Warrior simulation facility located in the Manned Unmanned Operations Capability Development Laboratory (MUMO CDL) in Huntsville, AL. The laboratory is adjacent to, and operationally connected to, AAI Corp's Shadow Tactical UAS hardware-in-the-loop system integration lab.

The laboratory, which opened in December 2012, provides a high-fidelity interoperable MUMO or manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) simulation environment to support individual operator requirements for UAS and helicopter mission crew requirements, and extend the future capability of the Kiowa Warrior. The lab’s purpose is to support the US Army objectives for MUM-T UAS operations by advancing the manned-unmanned capability from inside the helicopter cockpit.

The Kiowa Warrior simulator uses 5 Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) channels to provide a 245° x 63° FOV out-the-window display.

  OH-58 Kiowa Warrior simulator at the new Bell Helicopter Manned/Unmanned Operations Capability Development Lab in Huntsville, AL.
The OH-58 Kiowa Warrior simulator at the Bell Helicopter Manned-Unmanned Operations Capability Development Lab in Huntsville, AL. (Photo courtesy of Al.com).

Two additional VRSG channels are used for onboard sensors or alternatively, 1 channel for an onboard sensor and 1 channel for a chase plane (third-person) view. The VRSG simulated UAS payload video is streamed with KLV metadata from AAI’s co-located lab to the helicopter cockpit to simulate Level of Interoperability (LOI) 2, which enables the pilot see the camera payload from the UAV in the helicopter cockpit.

Real-time MetaVR VRSG screen capture of a MUM-T scene with OH-58 entity in flight near a ground control station (GCS) model. The MUMT scene takes place on MetaVR's virtual Afghanistan terrain. All entities and culture models are from MetaVR's 3D content libraries.
Real-time MetaVR VRSG screen capture of a MUM-T scene with OH-58 entity in flight near a ground control station (GCS) model. The scene takes place on MetaVR's virtual Afghanistan terrain. All entities and culture models are from MetaVR's 3D content libraries.

Currently, the actual Kiowa Warrior helicopter supports LOI 2 with UAS platforms control; it can receive UAS payload data and act as a radio relay. Advancing its capabilities to LOI 3 (control the UAS camera and sensors), and eventually to LOI 4 (control the UAS’s flight path and weapon systems) will increase the efficiency and situational awareness of teamed missions and aid the UAS operator.

Real-time MetaVR VRSG screen capture of OH-58 entity in flight and characters within a ground control station (GCS) model. The GCS has a modeled interior.
Real-time VRSG screen capture of a MUM-T scene with OH-58 entity in flight and characters within a GCS model. The GCS has a modeled interior. The scene takes place on MetaVR's virtual Afghanistan terrain. All entities and culture models are from MetaVR's 3D content libraries.

Although the MUM-T simulation lab currently simulates LOI 2, it will be able to eventually prototype increasingly advanced control of a UAS from the helicopter prior to being fielded in real-world systems. As well, the simulation lab enables significantly lower cost evaluations of existing interoperability capabilities, such as those demonstrated by Manned Unmanned Systems Integration Capability (MUSIC) exercises conducted with live assets.

Real-time VRSG screen capture of a MUMT scne featuring Grey Eagle and OH-58 entities in flight over MetaVR's virtual Afghanistan terrain.
Real-time VRSG screen capture of a MUM-T scene featuring Grey Eagle and OH-58 entities in flight over MetaVR's virtual Afghanistan terrain. All entities and culture models are from MetaVR's 3D content libraries.

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