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ST Engineering Antycip accelerates synthetic mission training with F35 prototype

Four-ship simulator system forms a Capability Concept Demonstrator (CCD), providing the Royal Air Force with important insights into team and collective training on the F-35 and other platforms

ST Engineering Antycip has partnered with Nova Systems to provide its technical integration expertise towards a Capability Concept Demonstrator that will investigate novel mission training solutions for the RAF. The prototype aims to enable pilots to exercise capabilities, tactics and procedures that would be difficult and very expensive in the live environment due to airspace, aircraft availability or security constraints. 

Capability Concept Demonstrators (CCDs) are intended to aid understanding and investigate military utility without committing to major expenditure until more relevant factors are better understood. In this particular project, the F-35 – known as the most survivable and connected aircraft in the world – is being integrated into the Gladiator platform in the form of low-cost, targeted-fidelity simulators allowing interaction for the first time in a synthetic training environment between F-35 and a host of other platforms. 

The hardware used in this project, selected by Nova Systems, forms part of the four simulator “cockpits” which comprises of two fixed based 180-degree domes and two deployable VR systems, utilising mixed reality headsets to provide the visual display. The prototype explores how the use of GOTS/COTS products can be maximised to introduce additional synthetic training capacity to the RAF. 

“Both Nova Systems and ST Engineering Antycip have experience working with the RAF’s Gladiator systems which makes them well suited to this complex project,” commented Alex Rowan-Smith, digital technologies, modelling, and simulation engineer at Nova Systems International. “If successful, the CCD will demonstrate a low-risk, costed route to swift delivery of additional, synthetic capacity for the RAF’s F-35 (Lightning Force) and enable personnel to participate in Gladiator-enabled synthetic collective training”. 

The Nova selected hardware consists of COTS cockpits providing F-35 representation targeted towards the mission training task. The Cobra Dome and the XTAL headset are the chosen display systems to compare simulator domes with mixed reality displays. The 180-degree Cobra Dome has been selected for its compactness and innovative single projector system. The XTAL has an unusually wide field of view for a VR headset, which is an important feature for pilots. Providing the ideal platform for this project, the software selected is the Gladiator Stack, which includes many MAKOne products. 

Rowan-Smith explained that the successful collaboration between Nova and ST Engineering Antycip played an important role throughout the project: “The dynamism of a collaborative and open ethos surrounding the project was successfully demonstrated by both companies. The exhibition created enthusiastic interest in the project and brought positive exposure along with exciting prospects for future opportunities.” 

Katie Howe, senior account manager at ST Engineering Antycip, added: “The brief for ST Engineering Antycip has been to ensure that the maximum value is being achieved throughout the timeline of this project. This requires good communication and continuous assessment of priorities with the customer. A project of this importance showcases the talent within the UK office, with specialist skills of numerous engineers coming to the fore.”