News & information - Archives 2004

July 14, 2004 - FATS/SDS Team Successfully Demonstrates CAS Training Using I-FACT System In A 360 Degree Dome

The FATS, Inc. and SDS International team demonstrated a new benchmark in Forward Air Control (FAC) training by integrating their COTS, Indirect Fire-Forward Air Control Trainer (I-FACT) system into a 40-foot diameter dome currently used for Stinger missile crew training at the United States Marine Corp’s (USMC) Smyrna, Georgia facility.  This represents the first-ever opportunity to see how an existing Stinger training dome (without modification) could be used to conduct Forward Observer (FO), FAC, or Joint Tactical Air Control training in a highly immersive and realistic 360º environment.


Several factors made this successful demonstration possible: the quality, portability, and versatility of the I-FACT system already in use by USAF, USMC and SOCOM personnel; that SDS’ AAcuity® PC-IG is the image generator (IG) on both the I-FACT system and the recently-upgraded USA/USMC Stinger Training Domes; and that SDS’ SuperSight™ model technology provides improved Detection, Recognition and Identification (DRI) capabilities even with the lower-resolution (12x10) projectors resident in the Stinger domes.


SDS engineers required less than four hours to integrate the commercial, laptop-based I-FACT system with the existing 16 AAcuity® PC-IGs providing a continuous software-based edge-blended and distortion corrected 360º horizontal and 70º vertical training environment within the dome.  Once the integration was complete, FATS and SDS personnel selected an appropriate FAC observation position (OP) and rapidly developed a highly-realistic training scenario that included stationary and mobile simulated enemy ground forces (tanks, etc), call for fire artillery, and FAC controlled A-10 close air support provided by SDS’ LiteFlite™ Reconfigurable Flight Simulator.


Imagine walking onto a virtual observation post surrounded by 360 degrees of the 29 Palms terrain with a 15 MPH wind and less than 10 miles visibility in haze--all in the middle of a 40 foot dome that towers over 20 feet high.  Standing on the OP, you can see the Delta T intersection and an enemy tank assembly area, to the east you witness the effects of your SEAD fires suppressing the ZSU, and red smoke now marks the target area.  Looking south toward IP Bravo you locate the in-bound A-10 (over 6 miles away), when out of the corner of your eye you notice one of the tanks trying to escape--a quick check, and you clear the A-10 "hot" and watch the aircraft roll-in, strike the target, and then exit the immediate target area; all that done by simply turning your head.  The only thing that brings you back to reality is the room’s carpeted floor and icy cold air conditioning.


Sounds too realistic to believe?   Well, that’s what the FATS/SDS team demonstrated to US Army FORSCOM, USMC TECOM, and USASOC personnel.  This limited technology demonstration, developed entirely with FATS/SDS corporate funds, clearly demonstrates the overwhelming training potential to be gained through use of an I-FACT-360 system, particularly, when that I-FACT system can be easily integrated with existing upgraded Stinger training domes.

June 15, 2004 - SDS Awarded Research Grant to Develop a Fidelity Analysis Tool for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Simulator

SDS International has been awarded a Phase I small business innovative research (SBIR) grant by the US Navy to develop a Mission Essential Competencies Fidelity Analysis Tool (MECFAT) comprised of innovative procedures and software tools that will aid in the instructional system design (ISD) of simulators, particularly focused on simulator fidelity. This Phase I SBIR (performed by SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida) will concentrate on identifying tools that will enhance the selection of appropriate fidelity levels for training devices, and identifying the processes by which simulator specifications are to be developed, based on ISD training objectives. The ultimate goal is to produce a model and toolset that will automate the fidelity selection process, accounting for a full range of likely training tasks (i.e., pilot and maintainer) for psychomotor and cognitive task requirements, and for different levels of fidelity required at different stages of training (i.e., beginner verses highly qualified students).


The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the immediate target aircraft for research using the MECFAT. To accomplish the SBIR goal, SDS will define specific mission essential competencies and skill level requirements; define specific, and generic airframe hardware and software simulator system requirements and components; collect, consolidate, and analyze existing research literature describing methods of fidelity assessment; implement the Fidelity Anchoring Method to underpin a systematic justification of simulation fidelity requirements and ensure that fidelity decisions and resource investments are based upon identified users of the simulation; and conceptualize the design components and methods for the MECFAT.

June 11, 2004 - SDS Awarded Research Grant To Focus On Spatial Disorientation Training Solutions

SDS International has been awarded a Phase II small business innovative research (SBIR) grant by the US Navy to develop a Spatial Awareness Training System (SPATS). This Phase II SBIR (performed by SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida) will concentrate on developing a comprehensive training solution that allows students to recognize the onset of spatial disorientation (SD) and practice recovery through a three-tied approach. That approach will consist of initial, secondary/reinforcement, and advanced/refresher training utilizing classroom multi-media computer based training/web based training (CBT/WBT); non-motion-based flight simulation using SDS’ LiteFlite™ Reconfigurable Simulator; and self-study CDs for refresher-training.


The CBT/WBT phase will consolidate individual incidents into a comprehensive lesson that enables students to learn the root causes and types of SD and possible preventative measures for each. The high -fidelity visual simulation will allow the student to observe and fly real-world SD occurrences/scenarios while permitting rapid generation/capture of media (QuickTime™ movies) for inclusion in future CBT/WBT. Use of SDS’ LiteFlite™ simulator with its embedded AAcuity® PC-IG, will ensure the high-fidelity visualization and flexibility needed to develop scenarios that present real-world situations allowing students to experience the effects of SD in realistic, mission-oriented environments. Each scenario will be captured by the embedded XML (eXtended Markup Language) capability in LiteFlite™ which provides a post-mission debriefing depicting what the students saw, how they reacted, and why they reacted a certain way, as well as corrective actions that could be taken to res the situations.


By providing this three-tied approach to SD training, it is anticipated that students will learn to react properly when confronted with critical SD situations inflight, without loss of aircraft or life. Since SD is a potential problem for all aviators -- and potentially in all phases of flight -- the resultant SPATS will have direct cost benefits to training military, private, and commercial aviators.

April 27, 2004 - SDS Awarded Contract to Support the Space Access Vehicle Mission Operations Simulation Project

SDS International was recently selected to provide support to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/VA), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio on its Space Access Vehicle Mission Operations Simulation (SAVMOS) project. Under the SAVMOS project, AFRL is developing a comprehensive set of simulation, test, and analysis capabilities to evaluate space vehicle concepts under development within AFRL/VA. The SAVMOS project uses SDS’ LiteFlite™ Space Operations Simulator (SopsSim) and SDS’ AAcuity® PC Image Generation (PC-IG) software to simulate a broad range of space operations scenarios.


AAcuity® PC-IG and LiteFlite™ SopsSim will provide the principal on orbit visualization and simulation/recording/playback system needed to enhance the overall understanding of evolving capabilities and assist program managers in making decisions regarding capabilities associated with various on orbit alternatives. Work will be performed by SDS International’s Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida in cooperation with General Dynamics AIS, Universal Space Lines, Schafer Corporation, and AFRL/VA.

April 26, 2004 - SDS Enters into Cooperative Research And Development Agreement With AFRL

SDS International (SDS) and the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to advance the development of a new Joint Close Air Support (JCAS) system to more effectively meet the training needs of the United States Air Force and other Joint Service users. This CRADA was implemented following AFRL’s purchase of the Indirect Fire-Forward Air Control Trainer (I-FACT) simulation system that already satisfies many of the JCAS requirements. The I-FACT, a joint SDS/FATS product, 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.


During phase one of this collaborative project, SDS will work with AFRL and FATS to examine current military training shortfalls, and using SDS and FATS technologies, demonstrate that technology can solve many of these training issues. The overall technical task will be to explore, develop, and integrate technologies that would provide a high-fidelity mission training and rehearsal environment supporting Distributed Mission Operations and Training for JCAS and Special Tactics (ST) operators. The resulting technology/systems will enable service personnel worldwide to conduct mission training and rehearsal using tailored, dynamic scenarios that are relevant to mission tasking, and can be linked and networked with other simulators. I-FACT will serve as the baseline technology/system used for JCAS assessment under this CRADA.

April 5, 2004 - SDS Delivers Close Air Support Training Systems to the USAF and USMC

SDS International (SDS) and FATS, Inc. have completed delivery of Indirect Fire-Forward Air Control Trainer (I-FACT) systems to the United States Air Force (USAF) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The I-FACT, a joint SDS/FATS, product, 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 (CAS) operations. A software-based training solution, I-FACT supports laptop-based operations through classroom and domed screen events, as well as providing a deployed training capability.


Features and benefits of I-FACT:


•Incorporates both Virtual (FATS Forward Observer Trainer) and Pilot-In-the-Loop (SDS LiteFliteTM Reconfigurable Flight Simulator) CAS training using SDS’ state-of-the-art AAcuity® PC-Image Generation software


• Supports Joint Forward Air Control training objectives


• Supports Joint CAS, Joint Forward Observer, and Universal Observer training


• Expandable to include FATS simulated weapon training


• Expandable to include networking to actual aircraft flight simulators


• Compatible with DIS/HLA training via LAN or WAN


• Compatible with constructive and/or live simulation training events


• Provides centralized control of all training areas: selecting and starting training, monitoring student status, performance during training


• Replays and displays training events for after action reviews of the five I-FACT systems delivered under this contract, 4 are being used by the USAF -- 6th Combat Training Squadron (CTS), Air Ground Operations School (AGOS), Nellis AFB, NV; 12th CTS, Ft. Irwin, CA; Air Force Research Laboratory, Mesa, AZ; and the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS), Wurzburg, GE. The fifth system was delivered to the USMC Training and Education Command (TECOM) Electronic Warfare Training Group Atlantic (EWTGLANT), Little Creek, VA. By embedding I-FACT in their curriculum, AGOS personnel have already experienced notable improvements in student performance.

January 3, 2004 - SDS’ AAcuity® PC-Image Generation (PC-IG) Provides Visualization for US Army Convoy Training

SDS International (SDS) is providing technologies to enhance the training of US Army troops engaged in the global war on terrorism. The Lockheed Martin/FATS Virtual Combat Convoy Trainer (VCCT) recently delivered to the US Army includes SDS’ AAcuity® PC-IG that provides the realistic visuals needed to support flexible convoy training tasks. VCCT was developed to provide advanced combat convoy operations training to troops supporting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. To fill this urgent Army requirement, the Lockheed Martin/ FATS team delivered VCCT, composed of the FATS virtual small arms trainer (SAT), indirect fire trainer (IFT) and close air support (CAS) simulation; Lockheed Martin's Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT); and SDS’ AAcuity® PC-IG, to the Army in record time.


This successful, record time integration of the AAcuity® PC-IG, developed by SDS’ Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando FL, demonstrates the close, cooperative relationship that exists between FATS and SDS. Another example includes the fielding of the Indirect Fire-Forward Air Control Trainer (I-FACT) system currently in use by many US military customers including the USAF, US Army, USMC, and SOCOM. This strategic relationship, aimed at improving the quality/realism of FATS existing and evolving training systems, has resulted in the total integration of SDS’ AAcuity® PC-IG on all FATS training systems.