Categories: News Story| 2 min read|

The technology lets pilots experience simulated scenarios in a real airborne environment (Picture: Red 6)

The Royal Air Force will be trying out a new technology which could revolutionise pilot training and the art of air-to-air combat.

The Advanced Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS), developed by a company called Red 6, has already been adopted by the US Air Force for its fighter pilot training aircraft the T-38 Talon and now will be used in RAF Hawks too.

The helmet-mounted augmented reality display is designed to be worn while flying and when the pilot turns it on they are transported to a virtual world in the sky.

The system allows pilots to undergo complex training with synthetically generated entities in the sky, all while flying an actual aircraft.

These virtual scenarios include include air-to-air refuelling, formation flying and air combat manoeuvring.

Watch: British military fast jet pilots to get their hands on an augmented reality dogfight training system


Dan Robinson, the CEO of Red 6 is a former RAF pilot, so understands the importance of realistic training.

Speaking to Forces News, he said: “First and foremost, you’re experiencing the cognitive loads of flying an aeroplane.

“So all of the Gs and all the kind of stuff you’re used to is there.

“That’s important because our brains just don’t work the same way when we’re under G. You close a canopy, you just don’t think the same way.

“It takes maybe one or two rides to understand what you’re looking at because the first time you see it is mind-blowing.”

Mr Robinshon added: “You look at these entities and they are almost life-like. You are very quickly immersed in to an environment. That’s called the suspension of disbelief.

“You think you are there.”

The software is already being used in America.

The US Air Force has put the training system onto its T-38 which is used to train its fighter pilots. And this summer British pilots will get to try out the system in the Hawk.

It means pilots can practise dogfights against enemy fighters routinely, learning about their capabilities and tactics away from the classroom.

British personnel will be able to give their verdict later this year.