Army CCTT simulator uses COTS equipment

ORLANDO, Fla. - Engineers at Lockheed Martin Information Systems in Orlando, Fla., have designed an interactive simulator for the U.S. Army with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment.

Nov 1st, 1998
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By John McHale

ORLANDO, Fla. - Engineers at Lockheed Martin Information Systems in Orlando, Fla., have designed an interactive simulator for the U.S. Army with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment.

The Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT) simulator system provides real-time, interactive collective task training for units from individual crew through company level, with the potential to grow to battalion or regimental task force levels, Lockheed officials claim.

The CCTT is the first operational distributed interactive simulation system and is part of the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) family of virtual trainers. CCTT is composed of computer-driven combat vehicle simulators and emulator workstations that operate interactively over local- and wide-area networks.

The CCTT uses COTS because the commercial industry has the state-of-the-art technology, says George Olson program manager for CATT at Lockheed.

Obsolescence is a factor, because CCTT designers rely on the consumer market for their technology, Olson says. In 18 months a feature of the system could become obsolete, he adds. In terms of simulation, commercial vendors drive the market, Olson says.

Commercial equipment includes PowerPC 604e processors from Motorola Computer Group in Scottsdale Ariz., and image generators from Evans and Sutherland in Salt Lake City. Lockheed officials declined to list the specific COTS products used in the CCTT

As the first simulation system to include the Army`s entire combined arms team, CCTT will train armor, cavalry, and mechanized infantry platoons and support training for more than 83 percent of their tasks. CCTT manned modules will consist of the M1A1 and M1A2 main battle tanks, M2A2/A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, M113A3 armored personnel carrier, and the FIST-V and HMMWV vehicles.

An M1A1 tank simulator was the first of 54 units to be produced under a $70 million contract. Follow-on production of 229 units is planned for the next four years.

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team worked with the U.S. Army`s Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM) in Orlando, Fla., to set up and test the new production line.

The system enables unit commanders to train their units` collective tasks in day, night, and varying fog densities, own-force complexity, and various enemy capability/skill levels.

Simulators have evolved over the years from little block figures like the Atari games of the 1970s to sophisticated virtual reality systems of today, Olson says. The next step for simulator training is to deploy it in the field, he says.

Soldiers will train on the way to battle, Olson adds. The army eventually wants "something like the holodeck from Star Trek," he says.

The mission is to create virtual database of more than 100,000 moving things, says John Sorokowsky, director of the CATT program for Lockheed. "We should always push the limit," he says.

CCTT adds logistics, artillery, mortar, and aviation units to a synthetic battlefield enabling warfighters to move, shoot, and communicate by operating with or riding inside combat vehicles and employing simulated weapon systems.

Key features of the CCTT include a distributed interactive simulation, validated realistic terrain and entity models, fixed and mobile configurations, intelligent semi-automated forces, real-time data logging and after-action-review. Lockheed is also under contract to add digitization enhancements to the system.

The M1A1 tank simulator is an example of CCTT capability. It physically replicates the individual crew stations of the tank commander, gunner, loader, and driver. The computer-generated visual system is displayed on high-resolution monitors placed outside the commander`s, gunner`s, loader`s, and driver`s vision blocks.

Vehicle dynamics include realistic visual feedback on changes in terrain and effects of vehicle movement. Firing effects include muzzle flash, ballistic detonation, fire, and smoke.

Speakers reproduce sounds and vibration with a realism that enables crew members actually experience cues, stress, and distractions of a real life combat situation, Lockheed officials claim.

The tank commander`s station consists of the commander`s control panel, power control handle, Gunner`s Primary Sight Extension, and commander`s weapon station.

The gunner`s station has a fault induction option, providing the gunner with degraded-mode gunnery training. A visual system provides target detection in day and thermal modes to 4,000 meters. Target recognition varies from 1,100 meters to 3,100 meters depending on strength of magnification, company officials explain.

The driver`s station provides the lights, indicators, buttons, controls, and gages as found on the actual vehicle. The driver`s visual system provides target detection in day and night modes to 2400 meters and target recognition out to 500 meters.

Click here to enlarge image

The close Combat Tactical Trainer simulator from Lockheed Martin Information Systems uses COTS equipment to train the U.S. Army`s entire combined arms team.

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