back to article RAF builds massively multiplayer flight sims

A UK defence initiative hopes to link up military flight simulators in the US and UK , allowing British pilots to train for complex multi-aircraft missions together with their American counterparts across the pond. Front line aircrew are now involved in the experimental phase of the £7.8m Mission Training through Distributed …

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Join the Enemy in as wekk

Why not join the enemy into the simulation as well? Then you could have the aerial war without anybody getting hurt. And the post war reconstruction would amount to pressing the reset button.

"We beat you, your army is destroyed, we won the war"

[Presses rest button]"Best of three?"

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Anonymous Coward

Built-in chat macro for The American Team..

"sry 4 fragn u Limy."

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The Future in a Sentence

Sounds like Virtual Reality for Real to me....... well, one small Bit of IT.

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Anonymous Coward

Friendly fire

I hope they turn friendly fire off or the majority of the RAF will be dangling from bits of simulated silk within minutes.

Then again, how about a bit of aversion therapy... Connect jump leads to the USAF pilots soft bits, and for every "blue on blue" bullet, they get 240v through em (110v if they hit US servicemen)? You never know, they might even have some sperm still swimming by the time they work it out.

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Star Trek got there first

(There's an episode where a couple of planets are at virtual war - they changed to that when they realised how crippling a real war is.)

Does the simulation include things like patriot batteries that don't work, and "friendly fire"? Or is that the reason for the transatlantic hook up - we can't get the friendly fire AI to be as stupid as our real allies? :)

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Join the enemy in?

That would be silly, then everybody would be able to watch the replay and see quite clearly that it was an Americ-, sorry, an Allied missile which struck the embassy, not a terrorist scud like we've been telling the press.

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ROVs in warfare

The F22 can already pull more Gs than the pilots. Of course, it'll be a long time before we have autonomous fighters.

But no airforce ever won a war. We'll still need ground pounders. And soldier robots are a long, LONG way off. They said WW III would be fought with tanks and anti-tank aircraft. Looks like it's being fought with privates and corporals.

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FF

Will they have servers without Friendly Fire turned on for the yanks?

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Anonymous Coward

Title

OMG kick that smacktard he shot me for a plane!

Seriously though, If they made a consumer version they might be able to earn some money instead of wasting it.

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Anonymous Coward

Nice toys, but old news...

'Networked UK battle sims are relatively cheap because they don't tilt and swivel like normal flight simulators' isn't exactly accurate - NONE of the fast jet sims have full motion systems because it just wouldn't do anything worthwhile - it doesn't give the right cueing and it couldn't give the right level of G input anyway.

A G-cueing seat (positive/negative/lateral G cue simulation), hookups for the pilot equipment (suit etc) and a dome visual is more than adequate to provide all the realism you could need in fast jet sim.

A motion system for a conventional full flight sim is necessary for something like an A320, or a cargo or surveillance plane because you don't have the suit, seat and dome visual to give you the cues instead.

And just for the record, missing out the motion system doesn't save any money & make the sims cheap, as the rest of the device more than makes up the difference. Indeed the fixed base fast jet sims are MUCH more expensive than the normal A320 types, because they're much more sophisticated.

As for the networked sims in this case, you'll find they're generally low fidelity devices compared to the 'Full Mission Simulators' used for the majority of training, and which can be used for all sorts of training and rehearsals. The low fidelity sims tend look like the kind of thing an enhusiastic DIY person could knock together with basic mocked up cockpits (and 13 projectors? Try 3), the high fidelity ones can cost the same as the aircraft and have full, working representative cockpits (and do have high projector counts).

Networked sims have been in use for years, though usually within the same site/country. The biggest problems with wider exercises are the sheer cost of inter-site links (the fattest dedicated link money can buy is needed to meet the data transfer and latency requirements), and the plain fact is that no-one wants the security headaches of linking their simulators and related databases together - this latter one is what kills most multinational sim networks, so they tend to only be done for test purposes with reduced functionality eg.“First WAVE”.

The simple fact with simulators is they always contain the full, real performance data for the aircraft itself, plus all the performance data that exists on the other equipment and aircraft that the aircraft will be used with/against. And this kind of data is highly protected, and not the kind of thing casually shared between nations - even with your friends you don't want to let them know everything about your kit, or let them find out just how much you know about theirs.

Anyway, it's all good toys, and much more entertaining to use than most games, though the cost is huge and obviously learning to work a 'properly' simulated aircraft isn't a 2 minute job unless you already know how to work the real ones. Most consumers would probably give up if they tried it as a game. And they'd run a mile when they got the bill!

But it does at least provide the opportunity to try out weapons and tactics in an environment where if it all goes wrong the only thing you need to do is restart the exercise, rather than clean up a smoking mess. Or deal with an enquiry about why you just killed that F22... ('sorry, wrong button!')

Plus the opportunity to do mission rehearsal is always useful - always better to find out the plan doesn't actually work before you're finding out the hard way.

As for the final point - autonomous aircraft are perfectly possible as even the current civil airliners can takeoff, fly a route and land automatically: the pilot is only there as a trust thing for the passengers, and to deal with equipment problems.

And the current generation fast jets are even easier - the pilot only provides an input to the computers flying the plane so can easily be replaced by a remote and/or programmed command system, the outcome of a crash is less of a problem, and there aren't any passengers to get worried. Indeed I believe that part of the future development path for the current generation includes updates to autonomous use, and this update is supported within the current avionics code.

Quite where this leaves the pilots, and all the training facilities is obviously a good question - somehow I suspect that while drones are useful there'll always be a need for a pilot in a cockpit, if only to deal with the situations that no-one thought of.

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Title

Actually there is one simulator that is capable of fast jet simulation. Very expensive but it is possible.

http://ffc.arc.nasa.gov/vms/vms.html

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Re: ROVs in warfare

"They said WW III would be fought with tanks and anti-tank aircraft. Looks like it's being fought with privates and corporals."

I think the current wars are being fought by privates, but not the military sort.

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Civilised warfare

"Why not join the enemy into the simulation as well? Then you could have the aerial war without anybody getting hurt."

It's not the sim we need to get them involved. It's the remote controlled vehicles.

It would be the ultimate Robot Wars. Each country has it's own battle arena and when two countries want to go to war they fight it out there and which ever team wins gets to collect the taxes in that country. No-one gets hurt, it's far away from civilian buildings and infrastructure and it would make fantastic TV. Naturally the losing side would get a chance to win the territory back in the next season.

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Anonymous Coward

re : Star Trek got there first

Indeed, but Graham misses the point. When a virtual target was deemed to be destroyed, its real inhabitants were *still* required to walk into an execution chamber. This prevented the possible escalation to total annihilation which would have resulted from real warfare, thus giving them no reason to stop the war.

If virtual warfare was used as a practicality, it would be meaningless and we'd soon be back to the real thing, because in reality, unlike Star Trek, nobody would voluntarily step into the death chamber.

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Transatlantic latency was only 0.2sec in the recent trials, apparently?

errrr that's 200ms, right?

Which is pretty sh*te, in the corporate world, for a major network...

With the cost of "The War on Terror" at £430Bn and rising (http://costofwar.com/) I would have thought they'd be able to do better than that...

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