New simulation tools for PCs help bring down costs of training

ORLANDO, Fla. - A combination of the SIMTools product line from Science Applications International Corp. of McLean, Va., with graphics systems from Real 3D, a Lockheed Martin company in Orlando, Fla., is being promoted as a broad and cost-effective set of solutions for the Defense Department and commercial virtual simulation markets.

By J.R. Wilson

ORLANDO, Fla. - A combination of the SIMTools product line from Science Applications International Corp. of McLean, Va., with graphics systems from Real 3D, a Lockheed Martin company in Orlando, Fla., is being promoted as a broad and cost-effective set of solutions for the Defense Department and commercial virtual simulation markets.

The SIMTools VR Stealth Real 3D R3D/PRO-1000 integrates the SIMTools scalable real-time networked architecture with Real 3D`s Professional series image- generation system on a low-cost, high- performance Windows95/NT-based desktop PC. This solution was announced at the December Interservice/Industry Training Systems and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando.

This provides a "modular, cost-effective, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution to meet varied customer requirements," says SAIC vice president Tony Virgilio.

Basically, the combined SAIC/R3D system can provide a military commander with multiple views of a virtual battlefield, can simulate a weapon trajectory, can rapidly integrate legacy systems to create a global "system of systems" or a stand-alone application - when using distributed interative simulation standards.

SAIC officials also used I/ITSEC to debut SIMTools Environment, which integrates SIMTools core architecture with the Windows95/NT Scenario Toolkit and Generation Environment (STAGE) from Virtual Prototypes in Montreal. This combination enables designers to create dynamic entities and scenarios. One application would be virtual prototyping, in which system tests and evaluation could be conducted prior to any metal-bending.

"With its flexible training capabilities and COTS components, the SIMTools Environment offers state-of-the-art networked simulation solutions at the desktop," says Philippe Collard, director of the Virtual Prototypes simulation business unit.

A merging of the SIMTools package with an F-16 flight simulation from Military Simulations Inc. in Vancouver, Wash., also is in beta testing as a Windows95/NT application called SIMTools Flight, an immersive cockpit simulation environment that includes a basic set of 3-D models, terrain databases, and tactical scenarios.

SIMTools Flight also can be used with SIMTools VR Stealth, enabling a training officer to observe the virtual space environment in 3-D from several viewpoints. SIMTools Flight is expected to be used for pilot training, DIS engagements, and virtual prototyping, SAIC officials say.

SIMTools not only gives the customer opportunities to have more desktop capabilities, but also a commercially available product to plug-and-play new PC software legacy tools, and DIS components. So it ties it all together," says SAIC business development director Carol Wideman.

"SIMTools is the glue giving all systems a common interface and providing distributed control," Wideman says.

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