The Ukrainian Air Force F-16 training enterprise is quickly taking shapeOne major development in this article was Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder’s statement that the US DoD will begin training Ukrainians to fly and maintain F-16 fighter jets – most likely starting next month, facilitated by the Air National Guard's 162nd Wing.  

MS&T Editor Marty Kauchak provides the first periodic “deep dive” into the learning technologies supporting the establishment of that service’s mission-capable F-16 units. 

A key part of the Morris Air National Guard Base’s 162nd Wing’s training infrastructure is the Air National Guard Mission Tactics Trainer simulator (MTT) furnished by Trident Military Systems (Mesa, Arizona). 

There are a total of eight MTT cockpits at the site, incorporating two systems each with four trainers. The simulator visuals are provided by MVRsimulation’s Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG). 

A total of 380 VRSG licenses are used by the ANG F-16 MTT simulators. Garth Smith, MVRsimulation’s president, told MS&T these reconfigurable flight simulators are capable of representing either an F-16C block 30 SCU 9.0 or a block 40 M7.1 actual aircraft. Peering “under the training device hood,” Smith pointed out, “the simulators each use 15 VRSG channels, 3-D terrain, and 3-D models; in an immersive virtual cockpit to simulate multiple views: out-the-window, embedded HUD, HMD/HMIT, real-time streaming protocol in the central display unit, ground map radar, targeting pod, and Maverick missile displays.” Of special note in the quest for increasingly higher-fidelity training, Smith added, that combined with MVRsimulation’s 3-D terrain and models, the cockpit displays with native 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution offer combat pilots an immersive field-of-view that renders the out-the window virtual environment with near 20/20 visual acuity.

For this expected Tucson-based training audience, included in the 3-D terrain is MVRsimulation’s virtual replica of Tucson International Airport, which was built from 0.15 mpp per-pixel source imagery of the airfield area blended into 1 mpp underlying imagery of MVRsimulation's CONUS++ terrain. Smith continued: “The terrain's elevation was built with interpolated NED [National Elevation Dataset] 1/3 (10 mpp) blended into underlying DTED [Digital Terrain Elevation Data] 1 data. The round-earth terrain was built with Terrain Tools. Culture models of the geospecific control tower and other structures were placed with Scenario Editor.”

Building a Ukraine Training Focus

MVRSimulation’s current efforts are also focused on updating VRSG’s Ukraine terrain, which will be available on the company’s Europe terrain drive in Q4 2023. The company president further explained: “This update will include several imagery enhancements including a continuous high-resolution 50cm [20in] imagery basemap of eastern Ukraine. Within our eastern Ukraine terrain, the city of Luhansk, built with 30cm imagery blended to the underlying 50cm imagery, will feature 3-D buildings, tree models, and compiled-in road vectors from OSM [OpenStreetMap].” The Ukrainian terrain will also include several high-resolution imagery insets ranging from 30-50cm across various regions throughout Ukraine. Combined with the updated higher resolution imagery, the underlying elevation data now includes a 30m SRTM [Shuttle Radar Topography Mission] elevation dataset. Smith concluded, “This high-resolution, geospecific terrain will allow trainees, who may use the 162nd’s training infrastructure to train in a virtual environment that closely replicates Ukraine.”