Feeds

RAF builds massively multiplayer flight sims

World's greatest LAN party is go

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

A UK defence initiative hopes to link up military flight simulators in the US and UK , allowing British pilots to train for complex multi-aircraft missions together with their American counterparts across the pond.

Front line aircrew are now involved in the experimental phase of the £7.8m Mission Training through Distributed Simulation (MTDS) demonstrator programme at RAF Waddington. MTDS is being delivered by Qinetiq, the sold-off MoD defence operation, in partnership with Boeing.

"Initial trials with front line RAF and US aircrew have gone extremely well," according to MDTS chief Kevin Williams in a Qinetiq release last week.

The RAF agrees, sort of. "We are still working within the realms of what we consider acceptable," Wing Commander Mike Dobson, synthetic training staff officer* at RAF Strike Command, told New Scientist yesterday.

The MTDS facility includes eight Tornado and Typhoon fighter-bomber cockpits and a seven-seat AWACS radar-plane mockup. The system has been integrated with the UK's Apache attack-helicopter simulators, famous for taking so long to arrive that the British Apache fleet had to be mothballed for two years after being delivered.

The British virtual-battlespace facilities can be connected to similar sites in the USA where American F-16, Apache, and AWACS jockeys train. Additional synthetic aircraft and ground vehicles can be injected into the simulations, though there was no suggestion of any Warcraft style virtual marketplaces or taverns.

The networked UK battle sims are relatively cheap because they don't tilt and swivel like normal flight simulators. Nonetheless, they allow military air crews to practice team operations in much the same way as gamers at a LAN party or using an internet hookup. Transatlantic latency was only 0.2sec in the recent trials, apparently.

Of course, the ability to give a pilot all the information he needs to carry out his mission almost instantly across thousands of miles can have other implications. It's already quite normal for pilots handling remote Predator drones over Iraq or Afghanistan to be sitting in a comfortable base near Las Vegas.

It's also perfectly possible to modify helicopters or even combat jets for remote control - as of last month no less than 217 mothballed 15-tonne F-4 Phantoms had been converted to remote control for use as targets or decoys.

The latest generation of drones are actually true flying robots which can land and take off autonomously - such as the US Warrior auto-plane and Fire Scout droid gunship. They don't even need a trained pilot on the remote control.

The very technology which Qinetiq and the RAF are using to train pilots may soon make flight personnel largely obsolete. ®

*The training is synthetic, not Wg Cdr Dobson. We assume.

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.