Bell Helicopter, a Textron company, uses 7 MetaVR visual systems and full sets of CONUS++ and Asia round-earth 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 Corporation's (a subsidiary of Textron Systems) Shadow Tactical UAS hardware-in-the-loop system integration lab.
The lab 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 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.
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.
The Kiowa Warrior simulator uses 5 VRSG channels to provide a 245° x 63° FOV out-the-window display. 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.