News & information - Archives 2010

August 9, 2010 - SDS Delivers ROVATTS™-based MQ-1 and MQ-9 Simulators to the University of North Dakota

SDS International (SDS) recently completed delivery of two ROVATTS™-based Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) simulators to the University of North Dakota (UND), Grand Forks, ND. One-each ROVATTS™-based MQ-1 and MQ-9 Tabletop simulators were delivered to the University’s Center for UAS Research, Education and Training for use in USAF sponsored efforts to study issues associated with operating unmanned systems in the National Airspace. Under a contract with the USAF, UND will initially use SDS’ UAS simulators to evaluate proposed unmanned aircraft operational scenarios for Grand Forks Air Force Base; unmanned aircraft operator/Air Traffic Control interactions; and ground-based systems being developed to enable risk-mitigation of other aircraft with unmanned aircraft. These, and follow-on UAS efforts will help contribute to UND’s key role in North Dakota’s Red River Valley Research Corridor initiative.

ROVATTS™-based MQ-1 and MQ-9 Tabletop simulators, provided to UND by SDS’ Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, FL, were delivered with pilot and sensor operator stations composed of adjustable, wheeled COTS tables holding properly sized/placed flat-panel displays for the head-up-display (HUD), tracker, command and status displays; game-level keyboard, trackball, stick, throttles and rudders; and networking connectivity. Each system includes host-aircraft simulation software (MQ-1or MQ-9 as applicable), pilot-station and sensor-operator-station software operating on COTS PCs, EO/IO sensor scenes provided by SDS’ AAcuity PC-IG, plus one laptop-based instructor-operator station providing mission planning and system operation. Since ROVATTS™ systems are DIS/HLA-capable, the delivered systems can also operate with a variety of live, virtual, and constructive systems in local or distributed exercises.

SDS’ ROVATTS™-based MQ-1 and MQ-9 systems are delivered as easy-to-use, hardware/software turnkey systems. To ensure the systems provide both flexibility and training fidelity at affordable prices, SDS offers its turnkey systems in both Tabletop and Laptop versions, each using COTS computers and associated hardware (tables, displays and controls, as applicable). The Tabletop version preserves system functionality and control station physical layout including correctly sized/placed displays and an optional Desktop Control Unit (DCU) that provides a control stick, throttles, keyboard and trackball with form/fit/function that closely approximates those of the actual ground-control station, while also providing ease of set-up/movement within a facility. The Laptop version also preserves system functionality while increasing mobility and reducing system footprint by placing all functions (tracker, status, command and HUD) in selectable windows on one COTS laptop per pilot and sensor operator station. Either version, which is designed to operate in a common office environment using standard AC power, uses COTS hardware components carrying commercial OEM warranties. Additionally, ROVATTS™ uses SDS’ AAcuityÆ PC-IG to provide the robust virtual environment (visual/sensor) needed to support realistic training, mission rehearsal, R&D, and T&E activities.

June 15, 2010 - SDS Delivers MQ-9 Simulator to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Mesa, AZ

SDS International (SDS) recently delivered its ROVATTS™-based MQ-9 Mission Training Device (MTD) to the AFRL, Mesa AZ. SDS’ Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, Florida which originally developed the MQ-9 MTD to support crew training within the Air National Guard (ANG), delivered the first MTD to AFRL to support Distributed Mission Operations (DMO) research and training. The MTD, which is an integral part of Mesa’s new Integrated Theater Combat Operations Training Research testbed, with demonstrated connectivity to--and interoperability with--AFRL’s 5-meter domed Joint Terminal Attack Control Training and Rehearsal System (JTAC TRS) and the Joint Theater Air/Ground Simulation System or JTAGSS for air support coordination and operations training, will provide a realistic Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) component for use in a variety of current AFRL DMO and future Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) operations training research activities.


The delivered MQ-9 MTD consists of two tabletop simulator stations that preserve the correct physical layout of the MQ-9 pilot and sensor operator components of the actual MQ-9 ground control station. The system, which operates in a normal office environment (A/C, power, etc.), includes two adjustable, wheeled COTS tables holding properly sized/positioned flat-panel displays for the MQ-9’s head-up-display (HUD), tracker, command and status displays; specialized USB-based Desktop Control Units comprised of form/fit/function stick, throttle, keyboard and trackball controls; and game-level rudders. The MTD also incorporates an SDS-developed high fidelity MQ-9 aerodynamics package (supporting takeoff/enroute/landing operations including flight with turbulence effects and control-delays); pilot and sensor operator HUDs; and electro-optical/infra-red sensor displays including high-fidelity terrain scenes provided by SDS’ AAcuityÆ PC-IG. The MTD’s pilot and sensor operator control stations include functioning variable information tables and menu button interfaces, tracker displays, selected normal and emergency procedure functionality, and AGM-114 Hellfire missile and GBU-12 laser guided bomb weapons employment capabilities. In addition, the MTD has a separate laptop-based instructor-operator-station capable of supporting mission planning/tactical scenario generation (including fixed and moving 3D targets/humans) and mission control.

SDS’ MQ-9 MTDs support individual (pilot or sensor operator) and/or crew training in a stand-alone environment, plus distributed operations involving a variety of live, virtual and constructive systems in either local or distributed exercises using DIS or HLA connectivity. As such, the MQ-9 MTD represents a low-cost, high-fidelity simulation system capable of supporting a wide variety of realistic training, mission rehearsal, R&D and T&E applications.