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Austria converts Pandur vehicles into air defence systems with Sky Ranger

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  • USAF Slashes Helo Training Time With Virtual Reality

    17 octobre 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    USAF Slashes Helo Training Time With Virtual Reality

    By using virtual reality (VR) devices, the U.S. Air Force's 23rd Flying Training Squadron (FTS) at Fort Rucker, Alabama, has slashed flying time by 35 percent, given students 15 hours of additional practice time with aircraft controls, and cut the time needed to complete undergraduate pilot training by six weeks for the first six students using the experimental program. The 23d FTS is responsible for all Air Force undergraduate rotary-wing pilot training and is a geographically separated unit under the 58th Special Operations Wing (SOW) at Kirtland (New Mexico) AFB. It is the sole entry point for Air Force careers in the Bell UH-1N, Sikorsky HH-60G, and Bell-Boeing CV-22 tiltrotor. The experimental training program began in 2017 when the squadron found internal training efficiencies that led to a 25 percent increase in overall student pilot production. They decided to take their innovation efforts further by combining technology and innovation. The squadron initially stood up the program with six VR systems loaded with software for a Bell 412, paid for with $350,000 in 58th SOW innovation funds. Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training-Helicopter (SUPT-H) class 20-02 was the first class to use the VR training systems starting in May 2019. The students' introduction to VR took place during the initial 19-day academics portion of the curriculum. “After 23.5 hours of VR instruction, students were able to hover, taxi, and perform various other helicopter maneuvers unassisted by their instructor pilots on their very first flight [in an actual aircraft],” said Capt. Matt Strick, 23rd FTS innovation flight lead. “We assessed the students to be at least seven days ahead of schedule at that point.” The initial goal of the project, called “Project da Vinci” or "Rotary-Wing Next," was reducing the time needed to teach the syllabus from 28 weeks to 14 weeks and to increase student production from 60 to 120 students a year without needing additional aircraft or flying hours. “We're seeing the vast potential of this program unfold right in front of us,” said Lt. Col. Jake Brittingham, 23rd FTS commander. “This is just the start,” he said. “We are focused on ensuring we continue to get even more efficient with our training, while at the same time maintaining the quality of our graduates the Air Force needs and expects.” The program's VR software is being updated to reflect the unit's Bell TH-1H primary trainer. “The [VR] acquisition proved challenging because of federal computer purchasing laws and limitations and took some time and effort between us, the 42nd Contracting Squadron at Maxwell AFB, 19th AF, and the 338th Specialized Contracting Squadron at Randolph AFB to make the initial purchase,” Brittingham said. “We really couldn't have done this in eight months without the help of the contracting team enabling us to make these purchases smarter and faster.” https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2019-10-16/usaf-slashes-helo-training-time-virtual-reality

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  • Army: Individual Soldiers Will One Day Control Swarms of Robots

    28 juin 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Army: Individual Soldiers Will One Day Control Swarms of Robots

    By Matthew Cox Army robotics officials at Fort Benning, Georgia are trying to give individual soldiers the capability to control swarms of air and ground robotic systems for missions that often require large numbers of troops to accomplish. U.S. ground forces have used small ground robots and unmanned aerial systems for years, but only on a small scale, said Don Sando, director Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate at Benning. "To really get a large benefit from robotic systems, we have to break the one-soldier, one-robot link, because right now, you generally need one operator for one robotic system and that is effective and interesting, but when I can have dozens of robotic systems controlled by one soldier, now I have a significant advantage," Sando told a group of defense reporters today on a conference call. A single soldier could conduct reconnaissance over "large areas with fewer soldiers and many dozens of robotic systems," Sando said. "That starts to matter especially in conditions such as dense urban environment," Sando said. "The problem with urban environments is they consume soldiers ... limited lines of sight, tunnels, buildings -- all the things that just take manpower to overcome and control. "If we can expand that with robotic systems, both air and ground, then that has significant impact." The concept could be developed to enhance communications battlefields when networks are hampered by enemy activity as well as natural obstacles. "If our communications infrastructure is going to be contested, as we know it will, then how can I regenerate quickly and effectively in a given area with robotic systems, both air and ground, to create that network?" Sando said. CDID officials are developing a common controller that can control air and ground robots regardless of the model. "We are very close on that; we did some assessment last year. We proved the feasibility of about three different versions of controllers that can effectively control air and ground robotic systems," Sando said. "The advantage to that is a soldier only has to learn one system as opposed to every robot has its own unique controller." The goal is to make a decision on a common controller by late fiscal 2019, Sando said. But the problem is more than just choosing the right controller. "How do you train a soldier, and how do you train leaders to do that? Sando said. "It's one thing to have two hands on your rifle -- one soldier, one system. It's one thing to be a small unit leader, to have a few subordinate leaders under your control -- it's something else to have dozens of under your control." Organizations continue to come to Benning to "practice and develop algorithms to employ swarming unmanned aerial systems," Sando said. "The next thing beyond that is OK, how do I swarm ground robotic systems? How can I do that?" he said. "That is the thing we are least developed on and that's the thing we want to start trying to emphasize. "We are going to continue to develop that and test that and I think that poses the next really large return on investment as we expand robotic systems." https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/06/27/army-individual-soldiers-will-one-day-control-swarms-robots.html

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