Ryan Aerospace Australia has won yet another major contract with the US Air Force, being tasked with building mixed reality simulators for aviators training on the T-38C jet for the Fighter Bomber Fundamentals course, training the next generation of fast-jet pilots.

RYAN will be working with long-time partners, Vertex Solutions on an upgrade package that will turn the US Air Force’ existing Immersive Training Devices (ITD’s) into higher-end solutions taking them from virtual reality to mixed reality solutions. Mixed reality is where (using pass through cameras on the virtual reality headset) part of what the pilot sees is real and part of it is virtual. So he or she can interact with cockpit elements which they see as real whereas everything outside the cockpit is virtual.

Managing Director, Chris Ryan said he was thrilled to win this contract as it is the next stage of their ground-breaking work on the Pilot Training Transformation Program (PTT) where they delivered close to 300 virtual reality training devices. The fact that they were designed with the future in mind, they can now rapidly and cost-effectively be transformed into mixed reality simulators for a different aircraft. This is important for government and taxpayers as they are getting great value for money.

According to the Defence Innovation Unit (DIU), “The introduction of 5th Generation aircraft fundamentally changed the nature of air warfare and the training required for U.S. military pilots. Specifically, this evolution revealed major limitations in the legacy pilot training ecosystem, which relies heavily on monolithic simulator systems and live-flights and suffers from limited network interoperability and content-delivery capabilities.

The initial contract requirement is to deliver a T-38C tactical trainer aircraft simulator for 19AF’s new FBF course under AETC. The unique modularity of the design, however, allows DIU, RYAN AEROSPACE and Vertex Solutions to develop a capability that can be rapidly extended to multiple other tactical jet trainer aircraft, like the F-16, and soon, the T-7A.

Vertex Solutions (with RYAN AEROSPACE as its hardware partner) is developing the innovative reconfigurable The Virtual TRaining for Air Dominance (VTRAD) MR simulator VTRAD simulator under an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) contract vehicle. OTAs allow this and other projects to succeed in an environment that is faster to field—think having an “Easy Button” for contracting. Similar contracts in the past would typically take two to three years to bring the capability to the end user. This concept will deliver a prototype within one year from the announcement of the solicitation, and a full solution (five devices initially) within a 19-month period of performance.