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2021/09/07

Simloc's leading contribution to European Defense Programme, EDIDP

By Enrique M. Vallas


One of the defense projects in which the flight simulator manufacturer SIMLOC has been involved since 2020 is the “European Defense Industrial Development Program” (EDIDP), where it leads the design and development of an Interactive Multimedia Instruction System (IMI ) based on Virtual Reality and Haptic Technology for the “Combat Aircraft Training Platforms” project.

Simloc represents Spain within the FITS4TOP industrial consortium, selected by the European Commission to carry out the development of an European ITS (Integrated Training System), for the EDIDP-ACC-CJTP “Combat Jet Training Platforms” programme. 
In this environment, the company is designing and developing the GBTS (Ground Based Training Systems) that will provide future European combat pilots with a training tool based on the most advanced technologies. In this programme the referred tools are named IMI (Integrated Multimedia Instruction).

On the other hand, Simloc is also responsible for obtaining and managing the technical requirements, derived from operational experience. This aspect is key to ensure that the product is fully adapted to the real needs of the European air forces, avoiding the forced and undesired adaptation to products already developed by companies in the simulation sector.

The programme encompasses the following phases:

  • Design and development of a ground training environment, including mission simulators (FMS) and Part Task simulators (PTT)
  • Design and development of a computer-based training (CBT) environment supported by virtual and augmented reality
  • Design and development of an Integrated Mission Planning System and a training management system 
  • Design and development of a LVC (Live, Virtual and Constructive) training environment

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Simloc is leading the application of disruptive technologies to ground training in the CBT sector, such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality, 5G network technologies and haptic technology. 

In order to achieve the objective of delivering an IMI  demonstrator / prototype to the Spanish Ministry of Defense, based on the user operational requirements provided by the Air Force, it is essential to have a deep knowledge of these requirements and their "translation" into the design engineering language.

In this regard, the company is working closely with the Air Force Staff. To verify in situ that the requirements used in the design and development of the training systems coincide with those required by the Air Force units, a work team from the company has already visited Talavera Air Base, headquarters of the 23rd Wing. In this facility, advanced courses for Air Force combat pilots are held, known as training phases III and IV. Once it has been confirmed that the initial alignment of these requirements is optimal, the final set of requirements will be refined with successive iterations throughout the program.

With this solid foundation, Simloc is developing a flexible, secure, scalable and modular system that will allow the reduction of the effective time that a student needs to carry out the training on the ground. The system will be made up of two large functional groups. The first one, cost-effective driven, is aimed at individualized basic training that allows the student to carry out training activities at any time and without the need for complicated connections. It uses virtual/mixed reality and haptic technologies (for the necessary tactile sensation) to its fullest extent.

The second group, much more complex, provides many more functionalities, such as working in environments with operational scenarios adapted to the mission, connectivity between systems and even with simulators, without ruling out a more extensive use of mixed reality.

 

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Furthermore, the ability to apply 5G connectivity and cloud computing will allow a huge reduction in the cost of the systems that the student manages and therefore its ease of use outside of dedicated simulation facilities. 

The reduced cost of the system will facilitate its individualized use, allowing the pilot to choose the duration of the training, the place and the right time to do it. In this way, the desired objectives are achieved, that is, reducing the ground training period while at the same time increasing its quality.

Although the specific objective of the program, which has already passed the planning milestone 1, is the training of combat pilots, the final scope will be much more ambitious and transversal. The same technologies and concepts are easily applicable to other air training systems, including transport or helicopters pilots. In the same way, they could also be used in other teaching environments such as naval or land operational units and even outside the defense sector.