News & information - Archives 2003

December 4, 2003 - SDS International Recognized As Industry Leader In Military Training Technology

SDS International (SDS) was awarded industry recognition for “Innovation” by Military Training Technology magazine as part of their annual Top 100 company rankings.  The Military Training Technology Top 100 is a listing of companies that have made significant impact in the military training industry this year.  The full list appears in the November 2003 issue and was presented to SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, General Manager, Ed Bryan, at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference in Orlando, Florida.  More information is available on the Military Training Technology website:

December 2, 2003 - SDS and fats Announce The Formation Of A Strategic Technology Alliance

SDS International and fats –a Virtual Training Systems Company, announce the formation of a strategic technological alliance, and the exciting new technology that has already resulted from that alliance.  SDS and fats have already fielded their first joint product, the Indirect Fire-Forward Air Control Trainer (I-FACT) system.  The I-FACT is the first commercially available system designed to train ground controllers in the tactics, techniques and procedures necessary to conduct successful joint close air support operations.  A software-based training solution, it supports laptop-based operation through classroom and domed screen events, as well as deployed training.


Features and benefits of I-FACT include:


  1. Incorporates both Virtual (fats Forward Observer Trainer) and Pilot-In-the-Loop (SDS LiteFlite® Reconfigurable Flight Simulator) Close Air Support training
  2. Supports Joint Forward Air Control training objectives
  3. Fully supports Joint Close Air Support, Joint Forward Observer and Universal Observer training
  4. Expandable to include fats simulated weapon training
  5. Expandable to include networking to actual aircraft flight simulators
  6. Can be a part of a HLA/DIS distributed training network via LAN or WAN
  7. Can be included in constructive and/or live simulation training events
  8. Provides centralized control of all training areas: selecting and starting training, monitoring student status, performance during training
  9. Replays and displays the training for after action reviews


fats designs and sells software and hardware simulation training systems that improve the skills of the world's military, law enforcement and security forces.  fats training systems provide judgmental, tactical and combined arms experiences, utilizing company-produced weapons and simulators.  The company website is

August 11, 2003 - SDS Awarded Contract to Develop an Automated Rapid Geo-Specific Terrain Generation Capability

SDS International has been awarded a contract by the Office of Naval Research to provide systems engineering and systems integration support to the USMC Deployable Virtual Training Environment (DVTE) program. Under a previous contract, SDS integrated its AAcuity® PC-based Image Generator as the Common Scene Manager for DVTE and also provided associated databases, 3D models, and special effects to support all (air and ground) DVTE participants. Under this contract, SDS will provide an Automated Rapid Geo-Specific Terrain (ARGoST) generation module that will rapidly build 3D synthetic-visual terrains (sub-meter resolution) using National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)-provided Defense Terrain Elevation Data (DTED), Defense Feature Additional Data (DFAD), and imagery data. ARGoST will greatly enhance DVTE training and mission rehearsal capabilities through the rapid generation and updating of synthetic-visual databases, including visual/sensor databases and Compact Terrain Databases (CTDB) – all can be regenerated well within a 24-hour turn-time. SDS will also develop an advanced 3D Viewer called NEXWARS (Naval Expeditionary Warfare System). Using inputs from operational PC-based command and control (C2PC) software, NEXWARS provides photo-realistic, geo-specific 3D visualization of control measures, artillery trajectories, no-fly zones, etc. to DVTE for use during exercise planning, monitoring, and after-action-review. The NEXWARS viewer can also expand the operational utility of USMC and US Army C2PC software by adding innovative 3D features that enhance 3D visualization and provide built-in 3D reasoning/logic features. Collectively, these added features effectively improve mission planning, monitoring, and execution by increasing overall situational awareness across the entire spectrum of operational users. Work for this program will be performed by SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida.

June 3, 2003 - SDS Awarded Grant by US Navy to Enhance Synthetic Vision Simulation

SDS International has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant by the US Navy to enhance synthetic visual simulations by developing a stand-alone, low-cost device which will provide edge blending, color correction, and frame synthesis, and also correct for image distortion from real-time analog or digital video inputs.


Under this SBIR, performed by SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida, SDS will build upon its highly successful AAcuity® ShAAdow Buffer® software which currently provides software-based, soft-edge-blending and distortion-correction, and color-correction as an integral part of the AAcuity® PC-IG software. Research will focus on developing a single, stand-alone prototype device, constructed from inexpensive commercial off-the-shelf components coupled with variations of SDS’ AAcuity® ShAAdow Buffer® software that together provide software-based soft-edge-blending, non-linear-image-mapping, color-correction, and frame-synthesis which can be used with a wide variety of projectors. The ultimate goal is to cost-effectively improve fidelity of legacy visual simulations without having to replace existing image generation systems.

April 2, 2003 - SDS Awarded SBIR Grant To Focus On Advanced Spatial Disorientation Training Solutions

SDS International has been awarded a Phase I small business innovative research (SBIR) grant by the US Navy to focus on a Spatial Awareness Training System (SPATS). This Phase I SBIR (performed by SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida) will concentrate on developing a comprehensive set of materials that will allow the Navy to specify the components of an effective SPATS. Phase I research will follow a three-tired approach consisting of classroom multimedia computer based training (CBT), supplemented by real-world study data, and coupled with simulated “stick time” utilizing SDS’ PC-based LiteFliteTM reconfigurable simulator. The SPATS will be designed to provide the Navy with a flexible, cost-effective means to familiarize and educate student pilots on the dangers associated with spatial disorientation by teaching them how to recognize the onset of spatial disorientation and practice recovery through a low-cost, high-fidelity simulator supported by synthetic vision. That simulation will provide real-world, synthetic vision examples of the different phenomena that they might experience while inflight, as well as providing the forum to practice procedures in the synthetic visual world, allowing pilots to recover from any spatial disorientation that might be experienced. By providing this type of “classroom” training, it is anticipated that pilots will learn to react properly when confronted with the situation inflight, without loss of aircraft or aircrew. Since spatial disorientation is a potential problem among all aviators -- and potentially in all phases of flight -- the resultant product will have direct benefit to training military, private, and commercial student pilots and aircrews.

March 26, 2003 - SDS Awarded Research Grant for Decision-Skills Training Research

SDS International has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant by the Department of Defense to develop, implement, and evaluate a scenario-based, distributed training system to enhance decision-skills training for geographically distributed teams. Work for this SBIR (performed by SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Mesa, AZ) will focus on the design and development of a Decision Skills Training-Web Module (DST-WM) aimed at exploring the feasibility of -- and exploiting team participation in -- scenario-based distance training to enhance problem-solving and decision-making skills. The initial objective of DST-WM is to enhance problem-solving and decision-making skills for USMC Combined Arms Teams and USAF Force Protection units.


This DST-WM research effort will leverage Distributed Mission Training technologies that directly support military teams’ participation in scenario-based training. As an add-on web-module, DST-WM will supplement and enhance legacy, current, and future DIS/HLA distributed simulations, e-Learning, Web-Based Training, and Computer-Based Training systems -- and on-line Video Games. DST-WM will also assist instructor/operator briefings as well as the execution and debriefing of scenario-based distributed-exercises for geographically distributed, en-route and/or deployed military units. The resulting training system will have applications for any operation that requires rapid set-up and coordination of multiple teams performing a common mission.

March 25, 2003 - SDS International’s Low-Cost, High-Performance AAcuity® PC-IG Now Operational in AFRL DMT Testbed

The Air Force Distributed Mission Training (DMT) program provides warfighters with ground-based training for complex, multi- player combat operations using a distributed network of flight simulators and other systems. DMT successes at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Human Effectiveness Directorate, Warfighter Training Research Division (AFRL/HEA) in Mesa, AZ have led the way to fielding DMT systems throughout the USAF that promise to enable warfighters to “train the way we fight.” While there is little question regarding the effectiveness of such systems, there is an awareness that the high cost of many Image Generation (IG) systems supporting current flight simulators could impact the timely fielding of such systems. However, PC-based IGs (PC-IG) providing significantly upgraded features and capacity while dramatically reducing costs are set to revolutionize training. AFRL/HEA, working in cooperation with SDS International during the development of its AAcuity® low-cost, high-fidelity PC-IG, ensured the IG’s successful integration into the AFRL/HEA DMT testbed facility. Each AAcuity® DMT system provides state-of-the-art visuals simultaneously for eight visual channels and a sensor channel (Night Vision Goggle or Imaging InfraRed) for less than $100,000. The direct payoff for US military training is two-fold -- increasing scene realism while dramatically reducing cost. PC-based software, hardware, databases, system maintenance, and upgrades are decreased by as much as 90% as compared to legacy systems.


Beginning in January 2003, AFRL began using SDS International’s AAcuity® PC-IG on one of four, full field-of-view F-16 simulators (Viper 4) during a scheduled training research exercise with Air Combat Command pilots. While receiving extremely favorable pilot reviews, this first-ever use of a PC-IG during a research exercise demonstrates that a state-of-the-art PC-based IG, operating on commercial-off-the-shelf equipment, is fully capable of supporting warfighter training. This is an important accomplishment as it frees the DoD from relying upon specialty, high-cost IG software and associated hardware to meet DMT needs in favor of PC-based IG software operating on commodity priced PCs. As a result, the government can not only be hardware vendor independent, but also can upgrade hardware and improve capability at the same rapid rate as experienced in the commercial PC market. Further, this PC revolution does not reduce fidelity, rather, it actually increases fidelity with high-resolution, photo-realistic, geo-specific terrains, realistic weather, lighting and special effects, all at significantly lower costs.


These technological innovations were made possible by funding from the DoD Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program. Initial development of the AAcuity® PC-IG was funded by a joint US Navy/US Air Force SBIR contract awarded to SDS. AFRL/HEA built upon that success by awarding SDS an additional SBIR to evolve the AAcuity® PC-IG to meet USAF needs to provide Ultra High-Resolution visualization for simulation training systems. Focusing on the benefits that could be realized through use of low-cost PC-based IGs, SDS worked closely with AFRL program managers and subject matter experts to ensure the developing AAcuity® PC-IG capabilities met or exceeded specific AFRL DMT requirements. That cooperation resulted in successful implementation of the PC-IG on Viper 4.

March 4, 2003 - Real-Time Shadows a Reality on SDS International’s AAcuity® PC-IG

SDS International announces a significant breakthrough in PC-based simulation technology. Real-Time Shadows are now a reality in SDS International’s latest version of its AAcuity® and AAcuity® ShAAdow Buffer® PC Image Generator (IG) software. This latest breakthrough of SDS’ PC-IG technology successfully fulfills the promise of true Real-Time, Dynamic-Perspective Shadows with per-Pixel Lighting. SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida perfected the addition of true shadows providing an entirely new level of realism in visual and night vision goggle (NVG) simulation for our military customers. With no specialized hardware required, the new Real-Time Shadows work in conjunction with other AAcuity® features such as detail-texture and bump-mapping, providing 60Hz performance on single processor PCs configured with NVIDIA GeForce4 Graphic Cards. Higher performance is expected with the NVIDIA F/X Graphics Cards which will be released soon.


Unlike other systems with limited shadow capacity that simply project a few planar projections onto flat surfaces, SDS’ AAcuity® PC-IG provides true lighting-driven shadows of objects projected on themselves and onto ALL other objects. SDS’ Real-Time Shadows, working in conjunction with the software-based Soft-Edge-Blending and Distortion-Correction features of AAcuity® ShAAdow Buffer® software, will be available on the software currently being delivered with the US Army/USMC Stinger Improved Moving Target Simulator (IMTS) upgrades.

February 11, 2003 - SDS Awarded Contract to Support Development of a Satellite Training Simulator

SDS International has been awarded a contract to assist the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Warfighter Training Division, Mesa, AZ in the development of a satellite simulation training system. Work (performed by SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida) will build upon a previous contract under which SDS developed the software for a prototype Satellite Operations Simulation System (SOpsSim) initially focused on proof of concepts for a Space Maneuver Vehicle (SMV) system. Under this contract, SDS will integrate the current SOpsSim, which takes advantage of capabilities provided by SDS’ LiteFlite™ Reconfigurable simulator and AAcuity® PG Image Generation software, with existing Air Force software to include the Satellite and Missile Analaysis Tool (SMAT) and the Crew Training Emulator (CTE) in an effort to provide a prototype capable of improving satellite operations training in the near term, and ultimately space operations training at large.