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Boeing and startup Red 6 are to develop augmented reality pilot training systems for the USA’s T-7 and F-15EX fighter jets.

The partnership with Boeing is the first tie-up Red 6 has had for its Advanced Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS), and Augmented Reality Command and Analytic Data Environment (ARCADE).

The joint agreement “sets the stage” for future integration of the systems into Boeing’s aircraft with the T-7 and F-15EX platforms amongst the first to receive augmented reality (AR) training aids.

Earlier this year Red 6 demonstrated the first use of AR during a flight that simulated a mission involving multiple aircraft. The flight from Santa Monica Airport in June used two Berkut 540s connected in a common AR environment that also displayed a KC-46 Pegasus Tanker and simulated a refueling mission.

Using AR system, pilots can see and interact with augmented reality aircraft, targets and threats on the ground or in the air while flying and training in their actual aircraft, reducing the cost of and need for multiple platforms and ‘real world training exercises.’

AR and virtual reality (VR) are cautiously being introduced into fighter aircraft and defense systems around the world. For example, the F-35’s helmet uses AR to superimpose information about telemetry and targets on video footage captured from around the fighter jet.

So-called synthetic air combat training would be considerably cheaper and easier to implement for air forces.

Red 6 is also working with the US Air Force to integrate ATARS into the T-38 Talon jet trainer and other training aircraft under a US$70 million, five year contract.

Dan Gillian, vice president and general manager of US Government services for Boeing Global Services said, “Red 6’s augmented reality system with the pathfinding T-7 and the F-15EX represents another transformational leap in capability. This agreement is the latest example of Boeing’s commitment to investing in technology and our drive to lead innovation in the aerospace and defense sectors.”

According to Red 6, ATARS enables a multitude of tactical training scenarios delivered through AR. These include air combat manuevers, refueling, tactical formation and surface-to-air weapon engagements. ARCADE increases the efficiency of mission planning, briefing and debriefing through real-time 3D visualizations to construct and re-construct sorties.

Daniel Robinson, founder and CEO of Red 6 said, “Readiness and lethality are critical if our warfighters are to prevail against peer adversaries. Boeing’s next-generation platforms will be the first aircraft in the world that are capable of entering our augmented reality training environment. Together, we will deliver a paradigm shift in the quality, quantity and cost of training future pilots.”