By John McHale
WASHINGTON - BAE Systems has selected the Thermite Tactical Visual Computer (TVC) from Quantum3D in San Jose, Calif., for use in its Bradley A3 Embedded Tactical Training Initiative (BETTI).
The embedded trainer was demonstrated at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting last month.
The BAE Systems embedded trainer is designed to enable every Bradley A3 to provide a range of mission-critical part-task, unit and collective training activities, including conducting virtual gunnery training in several environments.
Each training system uses line-replaceable units (LRUs) that include several commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Thermite TVCs to support driver, gunner, and commander displays, as well as Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT) host and vehicle interface, instructor operator station, and one semiautomated-forces test-bed baseline support.
In addition, the BETTI trainer could be used in the future for embedded tactical engagement simulation systems (TESS), mission rehearsal, robotic-based sensors, and command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) applications.
“BAE Systems has been working on embedding training in the Bradley for several years now,” says Mark Russell, BAE systems manager for training systems at the company’s Orlando, Fla., facility. “The advent of Thermite allows us to bring the trainer under armor in an open-architecture system. Our solution enables a no-compromise virtual-environment training experience that preserves the fidelity of institutional training systems while meeting the Army’s requirements for deployed use.”
The main goal of BAE Systems was to bring the trainer out to the vehicle to improve training, says Ross Smith, Quantum3D president and cofounder. They want to “bring the schoolhouse to the soldier instead of the soldier to the schoolhouse.”
“We started working with BAE back in 2002 implementing advanced embedded training capabilities into the Bradley,” Smith says. “I’m very pleased to see that our early efforts together, coupled with a shared vision of how vehicle-based embedded training will help save troops’ lives and enhance mission effectiveness, has progressed to where we’re collectively ready to deploy these systems today.”
Quantum3D’s first solution was a prototype based on the Sentiris computer, Smith says, noting that it was too bulky and did not have enough horsepower. But with time and miniaturization came the Thermite.
The Thermite is software-independent hardware, Smith says. It can run with Windows or Linux as it does in the Bradley application. “The software also does not have to be recertified,” Smith says, adding that this is a huge savings in time and money.
Freeing themselves of the burden of recertifying software is even more of a relief for prime contractors, who often do not originate the software. Arranging for the government to recertify redesigned software could take months or years, Smith explains.
Thermite is Quantum3D’s small COTS real-time visual computer that combines low-power mobile processor technology, advanced embedded 2-D/3-D graphics subsystem with video-capture capabilities in a ruggedized, sealed alloy enclosure with mil-spec connectors for hosting C4ISR embedded training and other graphics and video-intensive applications in man-wearable and vehicle-based deployed environments.
Designed to enable rapid migration of PC-based applications, the Quantum3D device is PC compatible-with support for Windows and Linux operating systems.
For surveillance and sensor applications, Thermite also includes video-capture and video-out functionality, with support for color space conversion, scaling, and overlays for NTSC, PAL, S-Video, and RS-170A formats.
The computer is available with solid-state and shock-resistant rotating disk drives and includes PC I/O capabilities as well as Ethernet IEEE 802.3 USB 2.0, IEEE 802.11X, Bluetooth, and a range of factory I/O options including Mil-Std-1553B, Fibre Channel, tactical/secure radios, and global-positioning-system capability. For more information about Quantum3D see www.quantum3d.com.