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D3A team demos mortar simulator

25th March 2020 - 12:00 GMT | by Trevor Nash in London


The concept of creating a single simulator to train the complete mortar team has been an idea that has intrigued the military for many years. Such a system is now available and was demonstrated at the recent DSET event in Bristol, UK.

The device has been developed by a D3A Defence-led team comprising MetaVR, Battlespace Simulations Inc (BSI) and Minerva Simulation & Training.

The concept demonstrator simulator on show at DSET featured three networked training stations representing the Mortar Fire Controller (MFC), the mortar Command Post (CP) and the mortar crew.

The MFC was equipped with binoculars and a laser rangefinder (LRF) and wore a head-mounted display complete with MetaVR’s Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG).

The trainee was immersed in a 360°, mixed-reality environment that allowed interaction with the virtual world through VRSG while handling and operating LRF and binoculars in the real world.

Fire orders were then sent to the CP using emulated radios by the MFC.

The CP translates target data and coordinates from the MFC into bearing, elevation, ammunition type and fuze settings for the mortars.

BSI’s Modern Air Combat Environment was integrated with VRSG to provide real-time ballistic information and to replicate the effects of fired ordnance accurately within the virtual environment.

The mortar crew station featured a physically representative mortar fitted with tracking sensors provided by Minerva Simulation & Training. The mortar was integrated into the virtual environment so that fire missions were replicated in the virtual environment with accurate fall of shot.

The demonstration scenario took place in a virtual world shared by all three operators and rendered by VRSG. The high-resolution, geospecific 3D terrain built in MetaVR Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS is rendered in MetaVR’s Metadesic format, to enable trainees to conduct fire missions within a dense Middle Eastern urban area.

The new training simulator can be adapted to any 81mm mortar and can be packed and transported in a single two-man portable ruggedised case.

‘One of the biggest challenges we currently see in the military training market is the Chinese Whisper effect that creates a significant disconnect between military requirements and industry interpretations of system requirements, which often results in personnel training on equipment that does not reflect real-world hardware or operational scenarios,’ said Scott Winter, chief technology officer and head of IRaD at D3A Defence.

‘Our approach here is to demonstrate that the use of mixed-reality virtual training environments can deliver simple training solutions using off-the-shelf products that are easy to use and do what they need to ...

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