SGI has signed a five-year co-operative research and development agreement with the USAir Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to evaluate enhanced, low-cost flight simulator visual system technologies.

The agreement is aimed at meeting the requirements of the USAF's Distributed Mission Training (DMT) initiative. Under DMT, units assigned to an expeditionary air force will train together before deployment, using mission training centres which will be geographically separate, but networked.

Under the co-operative agreement, SGI and AFRL's Warfighter Training Research division in Mesa, Arizona, will integrate into a DMT testbed the capability to acquire and display space-based imagery in real time. This will allow pilots to rehearse missions in the simulator over the real terrain and against the real target.

SGI says the programme will develop a link between its image generators, used in DMT simulators, and its imagery exploitation supercomputers, widely used by the intelligence community. The company plans to develop the capability to update simulator visual databases, possibly in real time, using texture patterns derived from satellite imagery.

SGI and AFRL will also develop the capability to download video from a Predator-type unmanned air vehicle in real time, and present the imagery in the simulator's cockpit and visual displays. A process will be developed to amend the visual database "on the fly" to allow the pilot to preview or rehearse a mission.

Source: Flight International