It is a feeling within the Halldale team that the MS&T Awards go from strength to strength. Perhaps in this year more than ever it has been an honor for us to have the chance to showcase the people, products, processes, and organizations that deliver the sustained innovation and quality products and services of the military simulation and training industry and community.
Firstly, we would like to thank all of those who submitted entries in the six award categories. The judging panel evaluated submissions using a rigorous, criterion-based process, selecting three finalists in each category. Scoring was based solely on the information provided in the submissions. Then, MS&T’s readers were invited to choose the winners from the finalists.
Secondly, we give thanks to MS&T readers for your enthusiastic voting. In spite of the challenges of teleworking we have had a similar number of votes as last year at just under 5,300. Some categories were incredibly close, with two percentage points separating the winner and runner-up.
MS&T Publisher and Halldale Group CEO, Andy Smith commented: “2020 is a testing and difficult time for us all and has imposed very rapid change on the military training community as it has had to adapt to the constraints of Covid-19. Let us hope that it is a unique and never to be repeated year though we would be unwise to expect that to be the case. One of the key purposes of the MS&T Awards is to recognize the contribution of our industry to the military and we are therefore pleased at the quality and level of response from companies and the defense community amid such a dramatic change in their operations. This year’s submissions were stronger than ever and all deserve recognition. The nominees and winners represent real excellence in simulation and training design and delivery. It is a pleasure to be able to help recognize the contribution of our industry to society.”
As the leading simulation and training publisher, Halldale’s MS&T magazine is proud to announce the 2020 Award Winners, Finalists, and Honorable Mentions.
Outstanding Innovative Product
This award recognizes innovative products that provide enhanced value to the military client’s education, training or human performance domains. The category includes products such as instructional media, training devices or components, content development tools, analysis and evaluation tools and methods, and performance support.
The Award Winner: Varjo XR-1 Developer Edition
Varjo XR-1 Developer Edition is an industrial-grade, premium quality mixed reality device with photorealistic visual fidelity, ultra-low latency and integrated eye tracking. With the visual fidelity in Varjo XR-1, trainees can for the first time read fine text on displays and interact with the smallest buttons, switches and gauges as well as see objectives at realistic visibility ranges inside immersive training environments such as pilot cockpits. The XR-1 used with real-time chroma keying also enables multi-user training scenarios where it is possible to interact with co-pilots or other colleagues. The emergence of Varjo's photorealistic mixed reality device XR-1 potentially can bring major cost savings and portability and with built-in eye tracking promises more effective training design and assessment. More info.
The Varjo XR-1 photorealistic mixed reality device has the potential to significantly enhance the cost effectiveness and accessibility of simulation. Image credit: Varjo.
Finalist: CAE Swedish Navy’s Naval Warfare Training System (NWTS)
The Swedish Navy is not large and needs to maximize availability of its ships for operations rather than training. It required a flexible, cost-effective, low risk system that would deliver individual, crew, and whole ship training to replace their existing systems. Declared “ready for training” in 2017 with significant upgrades beginning in 2019, NWTS delivers training and education in naval tactics, procedures and doctrine for operations in Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Mine Warfare (MW), and Search and Rescue (SAR). NWTS has had a dramatic and positive effect on all facets of training and education and the Swedish Navy has been able to condense the basic training syllabus and the sailors are better prepared prior to going to sea. More info.
Finalist: Cubic Global Defense Littoral Combat Ship Immersive Virtual Shipboard Environment (IVSE)
IVSE supports the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program by immersing trainees in a fully operational, 3D replica of the ship, teaching tasks in settings virtually identical to real-life, shipboard scenarios. The virtual LCS is “launched” via high-end electronic classrooms, Virtual Reality Labs (VRLs), and networked together as a Virtual Ship Training System (VSTS). Each VRL can accommodate up to 24 students engaged in instructor lead or self-paced, individual or team training evolutions. Deck Ops enables up to seven multi-player participants, to take part in team training and certification in a virtual, immersive environment – a “first” for the Navy. Course lengths have been reduced by up to 40%, retained knowledge enhanced, and sailors can stay proficient while off-hull. More info.
- Appliedinfo Partners, Inc. dba D2 TEAM-Sim: Talon Robot Training Platform
- Aquila Learning: Aquila Learning and Risk Management System (ALaRMS)
- Cobra Simulation Ltd.: Cobra Curved Display
- Collins Aerospace: Joint Secure Air Combat Training System (JSAS)
- Moth+Flame: Moth+Flame VR training system
- Seeing Machines: Crew Training System
- Slitherine: Command wargame/simulation suite of tools
Outstanding VR/AR/MR Application
This award recognizes the innovative use of VR/AR/MR technologies to develop effective and efficient training and performance support interventions. Application of VR/AR/MR spans a broad continuum ranging from individual and team training to individual and team performance support.
The Award Winner: Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) Virtual Reality in Land Training (VRLT) Pilot Study
The use of VR for military collective training (CT) prior to VRLT had previously been untested in the British Army. Conducted in an armoured infantry training context, the pilot demonstrated that 35+ trainees could be supported in VR/MR in periods up to 60 minutes to train, test and evaluate team communication and coordination skills under pressure. Working closely alongside the British Army using an agile ‘crawl, walk, run’ approach, BISim led an industry team including Cervus in the pilot. The pilot also tested competence-based training measurement and evaluation, workload and biometric monitoring, cloud technology-based simulation, and artillery piece integration into virtual CT. As a direct result of the pilot, Commander Field Army (3*) instructed that that VRLT’s scalable, deployable and flexible capability be implemented immediately into the Field Army. More info.
BISim working with the British Army demonstrated that 35+ soldiers could use VR/MR within the same training scenario. Image credit: Bohemia Interactive Simulations.
Finalist: Design Interactive, Inc. EXTRACT
EXTRACT is designed to ensure that the value of AR/MR as a technology to support training is realizable without needing training and instructional technology experts. Aimed at Naval maintenance training, EXTRACT is built upon Design Interactive’s AUGMENTOR™ system used in commercial trucking and USAF aviation maintenance. Funded by the Office of Naval Research and PEO Carriers, EXTRACT guides SMEs through the process of extracting their knowledge and know-how before commencing AR authoring. Once in the AR environment, EXTRACT then provides step-by-step guidance to the SME so they develop effective content that effectively transfers their expertise into the job performance aid. EXTRACT has been implemented onboard the CVN-78 with independent evaluations conducted by the Center for Naval Analysis in partnership with Naval Education Training Command. More info.
Finalist: Ryan Aerospace HELIMOD Mark III Helicopter Simulator
The US Army at Fort Rucker sought more cost effective and rapid training for up to 1300 pilots per year, each conducting around 80-150 hours of helicopter training. Ryan Aerospace, partnered with SAIC, delivered 32 VR-based HELIMOD Mark III Helicopter Simulator Training Systems in April 2019 to support this training task. The design aim was to train student pilots in the primary flight training phase including basic effects of controls, how to hover, how to fly a traffic pattern, course rules, formation flying and even some emergency procedures. The evaluation system ensures that pilots progress through the curriculum as they meet the set desired learning objectives. Students trained with the simulators perform better and with less time on live aircraft (by up to 40%) than with traditional methods. More info.
- Engineering & Computer Simulations: Tactical Combat Casualty Care simulation (TC3) military medical VR trainer - TC3Sim
- Modest Tree: Synthetic Maintenance Procedural Trainer (SMPT)
- Pinnacle Solutions: Augmented Reality Technical Manual Integration System (ARTEMIS)
- The DiSTI Corporation: VE Mentor, VE Studio
Outstanding Service and Support Program
This award recognizes those exemplary programs that provide outstanding value to clients. The category includes but is not limited to programs such as training as a service, long-term maintenance, management of facilities, exercise support, or any other long-term service and support arrangement.
The Award Winner: CAE Royal Australian Air Force Hawk Mk 127 Lead-In Fighter Training
The RAAF Hawk Mk127 is a lead-in fighter training aircraft that prepares pilots for conversion to F/A-18F Super Hornet, E/A-18G Growler and F-35A Lightning II frontline combat aircraft. Three CAE Hawk Mk127 full-mission simulators entered service in late 2016 and early 2017 with one installed at RAAF Base Pearce and two at RAAF Base Williamtown. In 2017 CAE Australia were awarded a contract to provide comprehensive support and training services for the program. CAE Australia staff are embedded with RAAF staff from 76SQN at RAAF Base Williamtown, which is the home to the RAAF's tactical fighter element of the Air Combat Group. In a certificate of appreciation awarded by Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts, Head of Aerospace Division in June 2019, it was noted that CAE’s efforts had been “outstanding”. More info.
The latest graduates of the RAAF’s Introductory Fighter Course made extensive use of the synthetic training provided by CAE. Image credit: Royal Australian Air Force.
Finalist: Applied Training Solutions, LLC DMS-MES M&S Program
The Disaster Management Simulation and Media Emulation Software Modeling and Simulation Program provides off-the-shelf and customizable software to support M&S for exercises, experiments and training events. It provides USNORTHCOM a simulation capability that enables it to train and exercise with the complete range of DoD and non-government organizations. The contract vehicle allows the flexibility for organizations with similar exercise programs to pool resources; and the contract vehicle allows partners to access the tools for their own exercise programs, giving them the flexibility to conduct their own exercises separate from USNORTHCOM exercises. As the DMS-MES M&S program is leased, it enables clients to avoid the cost of ownership, and empowers ATS to ensure the clients always have access to the most effective and cost-efficient software. More info.
Finalist: Conflict Kinetics Marksmanship and Firearms Training Support
Conflict Kinetics’ technology is rooted in decades of professional sports human performance optimization training techniques and has provided support to warfighters since 2008. Supporting US forces and NATO allies in their missions, Conflict Kinetics has trained over 30,000 Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Sailors, and multinational partners through synthetic programs of instruction (POI). These training evolutions have accounted for over nine million rounds fired and the completion of over 970,000 combat marksmanship drills - forcing the warfighters to make over three million decisions while under intense physical and mental stress. Throughout the recent Covid-19 pandemic the Conflict Kinetics team was designated “Mission Critical” and continued to train warfighters to the tune of over 3,400 shooters trained, over 1.4 million rounds fired, and no missed training days. More info.
- PLEXSYS Interface Products, Inc.: USAF Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Mission Training Center (MTC)
- Raytheon Intelligence & Space: Afghanistan Air Force training program
Outstanding Training System Integration Project
This award recognizes projects that have designed, developed, integrated and delivered complex training systems with a delivery date within the past three years. An outstanding training system integration project is one that has not only met or exceeded the project success criteria but also provides exceptional value to the client as the positive impacts on the client organization or environment.
The Award Winner: CAE NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program
The NFTC program is owned by the government of Canada and operated in cooperation with CAE combining basic, advanced, and lead-in fighter training as part of a comprehensive pilot training program. CAE operates the NFTC base facilities, delivers the ground-school classroom and simulator training, and supports the live flying training on a fleet of Beechcraft T-6 trainer aircraft and BAE Systems Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft. CAE also manages ground operations and performs aircraft and facility maintenance. Since CAE started running NFTC just over four years ago, there have been a series of enhancements that have helped make the NFTC produce the highest quality and quantity of pilots since its inception. Originally intended to end in 2021 NFTC has been extended to 2023 and possibly 2024. More info.
CAE has performed major upgrades on CT-156 Harvard (shown here) and CT-155 Hawk flight training devices used as part of NFTC. Image credit: CAE.
Finalist: Cubic Global Defense SPEAR
SPEAR (Simplified Planning, Execution, Analysis and Reconstruction) is Cubic’s next generation live monitoring and debrief mission support software suite for multi-domain operations and LVC training. Used as the live monitor, data collection, adjudication, and debrief system for two separate multi-domain FY19 Red Flags, it ingests the multi-domain kinetic and non-kinetic data for analysis and display during the live mission. Post mission, the enhanced multi-domain data was quickly prepared for the mass debrief and then archived and ready for further analysis, a turning point for future military training and a positive step toward informed C2 and AI development. Proven during Red Flag exercises, SPEAR saves mission crews valuable time in debriefing, while yielding higher quality insights for follow-on training through advanced real-time analytics and data archiving tools. More info.
Finalist: Northrop Grumman Mobility Air Force Distributed Missions Operations program
The MAF DMO program integrates over 50+ high-fidelity US Air Force flight simulators, spanning six different platform types, into a “train as you fight” global, on-demand, training solution. Accomplishing the integration of these disparate, distributed, complex, System of System devices drove the development of an innovative distributed training infrastructure, automated tools, and virtual data analytics capability to rapidly evaluate test data and network throughput, and fuse simulator outputs in a combined three-dimensional battlespace to diagnose simulator performance and evaluate system interoperability. Contractually required to maintain 90% network availability and 95% network reliability for MAF DMO, the DTC Network has maintained a 100% availability and reliability rate for the previous 12 months – the customer has been able to train for a year without interruption due to a network problem. More info.
- Moth+Flame: US Air Force’s Virtual Reality (VR) training system
Small Business of the Year
This award recognizes exemplary small businesses in the military S&T domain. Our definition of a small business is “a non-subsidiary, independent firm that employs fewer than 50 employees.” An exemplary small business leverages human capital, innovation and agility to grow and meet client needs, while cultivating a growing technical and social influence in the community.
The Award Winner: Ryan Aerospace
The small footprint of Ryan Aerospace’s VR-based helicopter training systems means multiple devices can be placed in classrooms. Image credit: Ryan Aerospace.
Ryan Aerospace was founded in 2005 with one employee until around 18 months ago, growing to four full-time employees, several key subcontractors, and key partners around the world who assist with sales and technical support. RA specializes in the design, manufacture and through-life support of low cost, modular and reconfigurable VR-based helicopter training systems. The small footprint means multiple devices can be placed in classrooms taking up a fraction of the footprint of traditional simulators with dome projection screens etc. Whilst in development since 2007, it has only been in recent years that military customers have seen value in such devices, including US Army and US Navy, and worldwide sales have grown exponentially with manufacturing space increasing by a factor of four. More info.
Finalist: Cobra Simulation Ltd.
Cobra Simulation provides affordable immersive dome display visualization to the training and simulation market in the UK, Europe, the US and Asia. Cobra achieves affordability by addressing the most common end user requirements and utilizing innovative design to minimize the number of optical channels. With surface mirrors manufactured using a proprietary process, the innovative screen plus hood design allows the geometry of the projector and mirror and screen to be maintained without the necessity of any external structure and thus enables products to be set up quickly and easily. Cobra Simulation currently has three full time employees and over the last three years it has more than doubled its turnover, staff has tripled, and the Scottish Government has identified Cobra Simulation as a Pivotal Enterprise with high growth potential. More info.
Finalist: SIMETRI, Inc.
Founded in 2009, SIMETRI, Inc. supports operations and training through M&S and training technology, medical training and training aids, medical subject matter expertise, analytical and computational chemistry, and research, engineering, technical, and logistics talent. SIMETRI is a woman-and-minority owned small business that delivers innovative, state-of-the-art products and services that leverage creativity and technology to enhance the human experience. SIMETRI has worked closely with the US Army, Defense Health Agency, and others in Government to develop solutions that enhance training, performance, and ability to care for and treat warfighters in life-saving situations. SIMETRI started with one employee, the President & CEO, Angela Alban, and now employs 28 professionals. The team and capabilities are growing and with an awarded backlog for 2021, the trend in revenue looks set to increase. More info.
- Conflict Kinetics: Human Performance Optimization, Training, and Data company specializing in small arms simulation
- Modest Tree: 3D immersive content software
The defense S&T community plays an essential role in supporting military commanders’ development and maintenance of capability and readiness. Within this community there are individuals who demonstrate outstanding and significant technical and social leadership. This Award recognizes their contribution to the defense S&T community.
The Award Winner: Jan Uebersax, RUAG Simulation & Training
In a journey from military S&T instructor and strategist, to his regular speaking engagements as an internationally recognized authority, and to his current professional business career as S&T strategist with RUAG Simulation & Training, Jan Uebersax remains a passionate advocate of S&T’s vital role within the defense and security landscape. He served the Swiss Armed Forces in multiple S&T positions from 1994, culminating in leading the design and implementation of the SAF’s future S&T landscape. He has represented his country in a number of NATO bodies including the NATO M&S Centre of Excellence, the NATO Modelling & Simulation Group and chaired the NATO Training & Simulation Working Group and the Simulation for Training & Operation Group. He states, “Saving lives is our goal for every simulation and training system designed”.
Finalist: Waymon Armstrong, Engineering & Computer Simulations
Waymon Armstrong is founder and CEO/President of Engineering & Computer Simulations and a visionary in the simulation and training industry and the Central Florida community since 1997. He is recognized for his commitment to the MS&T industry and for his ingenuity, entrepreneurial skills, and community leadership. A keynote speaker at the 2015 I/ITSEC, Armstrong gave voice to Small Businesses, discussing the challenges of serving the Department of Defense. He has testified before the House Aviation Sub-committee on safety and security, and the State of Florida's House Select Committee on security. He was recently honored as the Entrepreneurial Vanguard - Mid-Florida Business Hall of Fame by the Junior Achievement of Central Florida, and he is passionate about STEM, developing our next generation of leaders, and supporting our warfighters.
Finalist: Robbie “Rob” Phillips, Lockheed Martin Training and Logistics Solutions
Robbie “Rob” Phillips has dedicated the past 25 years to advancing military mission readiness through M&S. With a focus on live and synthetic training solutions and sustainment, he has 10 years of work experience in Business Development and 15 years in systems and software engineering. Currently, Rob is a Principal Business Development Analyst and Senior Technical Manager for Lockheed Martin Training and Logistics Solutions. Previously, he held a variety of positions in companies including Thales and Boeing. Rob has actively participated in the NATO Urban Combat Advanced Training Technologies Working Group since 2016, introducing new technology such as AR and supporting the integration of vehicles and EXCONs with LVC systems. Rob is dedicated to communicating the ‘so what’ factor and regardless of the M&S technology focuses on its application.
A final thank you to all who took part in this year's MS&T Awards. We look forward to a better, healthier 2021 for us all and to the 2021 MS&T Awards. Also new for 2021 will be the CAT Awards to recognize the great work of the airline simulation and training industry.