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MetaVR Visual Systems Used in the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) Program

SRI International's FlexTrain multi-mission instrumentation mobile training system uses Virtual Reality Scene Generator™(VRSG™) in the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program. MetaVR™ visuals are used to monitor the movements of vehicles and soldiers and other participants in tactical Live Virtual Constructive (LVC) exercises in the portable pre-deployment battlefield training system. The VRSG display of geospecific terrain with live instrumented soldiers is combined with video shot in the field to create the AAR. In addition to providing 3D visualization for real-time monitoring of these LVC exercises, VRSG provides the visuals for the After Action Review (AAR) which takes place after the exercise is finished.

  After action review of XCTC training mission with VRSG rendering a geospecific training database and simulating activity in the XCTC training mission.
  After action review of XCTC training mission with VRSG rendering a geospecific training database and simulating activity of live-instrumented soldiers and vehicles. Image courtesy of SRI International.

SRI's FlexTrain system is a rapidly deployable technology-readiness-level-9 instrumentation system based upon global positioning system (GPS) satellite navigation and wireless shared medium networks. FlexTrain provides multi-level/multi-mission support in a wide variety of training environments to support U.S. Army National Guard Training.

Since 2005, a total of 50 VRSG licenses have been in use in FlexTrain for the XCTC training program, and in the US Army Reserve’s Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) at Ft. McCoy and at Ft. Hunter Liggett. SRI has also used VRSG to provide visuals for the Joint Training Experimentation Program (JTEP) in homeland defense and disaster management exercises since 2003.

The XCTC program, of which SRI International is a founding member and sole provider of instrumentation and communications support, is a National Guard Bureau initiative for creating a transportable combat training capability. Starting in 2005, the program has delivered battalion-level combat-readiness training to National Guard units to their home station locations instead of requiring the units to travel to the National Training Center or Joint Readiness Training Center for pre-deployment training. As of November 2011, 32 XCTC exercises have been conducted in 17 states. XCTC exercises in 2011 were held at Camp Blanding, Camp Roberts, Camp Shelby, Camp Gruber, Ft. Hunter Liggett, Whiteman Air Force Base, and Ft. McCoy.

VRSG rendering of an XCTC training database, comprised of geospecific terrain to simulate the training area.
Click to view high-resolution version.

The XCTC system simulates an immersive combat environment where mobile infantry soldiers of the player unit, opposing forces, and role-playing civilians all wear GPS and laser-based equipment that records their location and each movement and engagement in an exercise. Such activity is also monitored at the Tactical Analysis Facility (TAF) in real time. The vehicles are also instrumented with tracking devices to record and monitor their location, movement, and engagements.


The Tactical Analysis Facility, in which the MetaVR VRSG display (shown rightmost) provides 3D visuals of the instrumented soldiers and vehicles in action, simulated on the training database.

At the TAF, Army trainers use the software to monitor instrumented troop movements during a training exercise at an urban training site. In addition to having video cameras located at discrete locations, a commander can monitor all the troop movements with the scope of an infinite number of video cameras independently of light conditions, fog, or dust. With 3D virtual terrain of the actual training facility rendered in VRSG, the instrumented soldiers appear in the virtual world in the identical location to where they are in the real world.

MetaVR VRSG (rendering a geospecific training database and simulating activity in the XCTC training mission.
VRSG (in the foreground) rendering a geospecific training database and simulating activity of live-instrumented soldiers and vehicles in the training mission at Camp Atterbury, Joint Forces Maneuver Training Center.

VRSG’s 3D simulation of the exercise, coupled with the video, enables trainees and instructors to review the tracked action of the exercise to gain insight into the mission execution and learn tactical and strategic lessons.

Click to see high-resolution version.      
Scenes from Oregon National Guard at Orchard Training Area, Boise, Idaho, August 2008. The image on the left shows the Tactical Analysis Facility, in which the MetaVR VRSG display (leftmost) shows visuals of the instrumented soldiers and vehicles in action shows visuals of the instrumented soldiers and vehicles in action, placed on the terrain database. On the right is a scene from the After Action Review, with VRSG providing visuals on the left screen. Images courtesy of SRI International.

During July-August 2009, eight National Guard units participated in training with the XCTC system at Camp Grayling, MI. During this theater immersion training at the largest National Guard training center in the US, trainees were faced with various real-world scenarios that take place in Afghanistan and Iraqi villages; actors portraying Iraqi citizens provided an additional quality of realism. The trainees will be deployed overseas in the coming year.

Two XCTC rotations took place in 2008. In the first rotation for which XCTC was used to train an entire brigade, more than 2,700 soldiers from the Illinois Army National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and supporting units trained at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas for three weeks in June. In August, the Oregon Army National Guard's 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of 3,400 trained at the Orchard Training Area at Gowen Field, Idaho. By August 2008, 1,200 soldiers and 105 vehicles were tracked at one time in the XCTC system. It is estimated that over the next two years that number will increase to 5,000 per exercise.

MetaVR VRSG providing visuals in the XCTC after-action review theater.
MetaVR's VRSG providing visuals in the after-action review theater at Camp Atterbury, Joint Forces Maneuver Training Center, July, 2006.

During July 2006, more than 750 Indiana National Guard and Army soldiers participated in one of the initial rotations, XCTC06, a three-week Train-As-We-Fight exercise held at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, and at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

Click to see high-resolution version.      
On the left is a VRSG screen capture of the training database, comprised of geospecific terrain to simulate the training area AND shows visuals of the instrumented soldiers and vehicles in action, placed on the terrain database. Click to see a high-resolution image of the database.


Buildings on the training database are geo-located with photospecific textures as shown in the above photograph of a structure used in the XCTC training and its corresponding 3D model. Images courtesy of SRI International.

Photos on this page were taken in July 2006 by MetaVR during the XCTC 2006 exercise at Camp Atterbury, Joint Forces Maneuver Training Center, unless otherwise noted.

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