Tactical Trainer Would Teach F-35 Pilots Decision-Making Skills

By Valerie Insinna
A new tactical trainer for fifth-generation aircraft would allow F-35 pilots to practice how to react in deadly situations that would be impossible to recreate in live exercises.

Orlando-based game developer GameSim showcased the new simulation, called the Tactical Training Rehearsal Environment, during the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.

In one scenario demonstrated at the conference, the user acted as an F-35 pilot defending Taiwan’s airspace. Four enemy aircraft attacked the player as two others dropped bombs.

The pilot had to decide which adversaries to engage and how, said Andrew Tosh, GameSim’s founder and president. Unlike “twitch-based” training where a user is judged on the ability to correctly aim and fire at an adversary, the pilot’s choices are evaluated. Like a role-playing video game, the user selects an action from a menu of options that specifies, for example, at which aircraft to fire and with what weapon.

“You’re not going to learn how to fly an F-35 on this kind of trainer, but you’re going to learn how to make good decisions,” he said.

The trainer is based on Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3d, an off-the-shelf software for creating training exercises. GameSim is programming the enemy’s artificial intelligence and developing scenarios, Tosh said. Instructors would also be able to generate their own lessons, which could be stored in a repository and shared.

Lockheed Martin is also providing GameSim information regarding fifth-generation aircraft like the F-22, Tosh said.

GameSim received funding for the first phase of the project through a small business innovation research award. The company currently is wrapping up its proof of concept, and will further develop and commercialize the trainer if it secures additional SBIR funding, he said.

The simulation is geared toward both home and classroom use. Tosh envisions having multiple hardware configurations that would incorporate anything from a simple laptop computer to multiple displays used with virtual reality goggles.

GameSim currently is developing the trainer exclusively for the Air Force, but “as time goes on, if we’re successful here, it could be adopted by other” services that plan to fly the F-35, such as the Navy or Marine Corps.

Topics: Aviation, Joint Strike Fighter, Business Trends, Simulation Modeling Wargaming and Training, Videogames

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