This October Boeing announced it completed its upgrade of all US Air Force F-22 Raptor Mission Training Centers with its high fidelity Constant Resolution Visual System (CRVS).The system up enhancement will permit Raptor pilots to more realistically train and rehearse for missions, and help the fifth-generation aircraft training system remain relevant well beyond this decade.
Boeing’s CRVS is supplied in a full 360 degree field of view (FOV) configuration, as well as 300 and 180 degree configurations, and provides nearly 20/20 visual acuity for pilots over the entire FOV.
Scott Whitaker, Boeing’s display team manager, pointed out two capabilities the CRVS provides for Raptor pilots when compared to the legacy-era visual system it replaced. In one instance visual range air combat maneuvering is at least 100% improved due to improved resolution. He added, “NVG training was very limited before, so this might qualify for an order of magnitude improvement.”
Boeing’s main industry partner for CRVS is JVC, which supplies its 8k e-Shift technology, providing 20/25 visual acuity over the entire FOV. CRVS was further designed to be both projector and image generator agnostic so it can always take advantage of the latest and greatest advancements on either of these technological fronts. “This allows Boeing to offer our customers a flexible display design that can be tailored to meet their specific training needs,” Whitaker said.
CRVS’ technology roadmap includes some “exciting upgrades” according to the St. Louis-based Global Services & Support team. Whitaker pointed out the 2016 baseline system will feature main projectors that are capable of providing a visual acuity of 20/25, with no increase in cost over the previous 20/40 capable device. “Additionally, we have made some further improvements in our stimulated NVG technology. The NVG imagery will provide a ‘crisper’ scene due to component improvements we will be implementing into the system. We are working with our supply base and will soon be able to provide projectors with laser technology light sources. The new laser light source will eliminate the replacement of costly bulbs and significantly reduce maintenance costs.” Also in development is the utilization of projection systems with 120Hz imagery technology. The industry expert noted the 120Hz systems will eliminate the need for smear reduction techniques resulting in brighter images and faster update rates. “The use of brighter images will translate into better dynamic range, and our R&D team is developing techniques to incorporate High Dynamic Range (HDR) into the Boeing CRVS product. The improvement to HDR will give a scene the realism that has never been seen before,” Whitaker added.
In addition to these performance increases and strategies, Boeing has a new option for the structure of the device. A linked aft screen has been designed into the CRVS allowing the aft screen to be lifted out of the way quickly and returned to the exact same position. Whitaker revealed the linked aft screen will provide the capability to more rapidly exchange crew stations within a simulator, providing the customer greater device flexibility and easing maintenance activities.
CRVS has found favor with a number of military services around the globe. Eleven different training programs and six different military forces have selected CRVS. Boeing expects additional activity in this product portfolio in 2016. Whitaker concluded, “We cannot name specifics but we will be installing numerous CRVS family of devices at both international and domestic sites in support of at least four aircraft platforms.” - Marty Kauchak