May 3, 2010 - Woburn, MA --[ASDWire]-- With hundreds of individual training simulator systems on the market each offering differing capabilities, getting the right mix of high-fidelity realism along with mission and task accuracy can be literally an exercise in tradeoffs. That challenge is being addressed by the Air Force Research Lab in a novel 'best of breed' approach, in which it integrated two free-standing simulators from Aptima, Inc. and Link Simulation & Training, yielding an enhanced training capability more rapidly and less costly than developing a completely new training product.
While high-fidelity simulators offer high-sensory realism and vivid imagery, they can lack richness in replicating job performance requirements such as effective decision-making and team-based coordination. Their complexity can also often make them impractical or inflexible for modifying to a desired mission scenario.
The solution by AFRL, which evaluates and creates training systems to improve U.S. warfighter readiness, was to combine Aptima's DDD(r), an inexpensive, desktop-based training simulator that lets users quickly and easily design training scenarios, and Link Simulation & Training's Blue Box HDTM, a simulation environment that provides immersion in a complex high definition living world.
AFRL's Warfighter Readiness Research Division of the 711th Human Performance Wing, Human Effectiveness Directorate integrated the two independent training simulators without modifying their underlying software, making them interoperable for Live, Virtual (human-in-the-loop), and Constructive (agent-based) training. The goal of AFRL's seedling effort was to demonstrate the rapid integration and application of existing and relevant technologies for a new training requirement, without developing a new training system out of whole cloth.
DDD & Blue Box HD in Action
AFRL demonstrated the DDD-Blue Box integration at the 2009 InterService/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference, featuring a humanitarian disaster response scenario created in DDD, merged within the Blue Box high definition virtual world. DDD's rescue and support scenario, populated with entities representing emergency responders, victims, fire trucks and other rescue resources, was displayed within the Blue Box high definition computer generated imagery, which creates geo-specific virtual simulations using dynamic visual system database content. The combined simulation exercise also included a remotely piloted aircraft, providing the trainee an "eyes in the air" overhead UAV perspective for an exceptional level of realism and operational situational awareness from which to rehearse and manage the disaster relief mission.
The DDD-Blue Box HD integration addressed the dual needs of being able to create highly mission-relevant scenarios with an appropriate level of fidelity to maximize training effectiveness and ROI.
DDD's strength is that it can be easily configured to simulate a wide range of team-based scenarios and environments, such as AWACS air battle operations, Joint Task Force command, and emergency disaster management. DDD's Visual Scenario GeneratorTM is the software component that guides novice and expert scenario developers through the steps to build the simplest to the most complex scenarios without programming, using drop-down menus. A wide range of simulation scenarios can be created, including: design of environments from general terrain to building floor plans; human roles with command chains and resources; events such as earthquakes, attacks, storms and their impact on players and resources; and even assignment of AI agents with attributes and capabilities.
The integration also leveraged DDD's built-in performance measurement tools, which track and record individual and team player interactions, tasks, and communications. These quantified measures provide essential feedback to guide trainee skills development. The measurement tools also allow AFRL to use DDD as a test bed to evaluate the newly combined simulators' effectiveness.
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