23 Mar 21. InVeris Training Solutions appoints Al Weggeman as CEO. InVeris Training Solutions, the leading provider of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training systems and services for domestic and international military and law enforcement, announced today the appointment of Al Weggeman as CEO, effective April 5, 2021. InVeris Training Solutions is a portfolio company of Pine Island Capital Partners.
“InVeris Training Solutions has an unrivaled heritage in providing virtual and live-fire training solutions for those that put themselves at risk to protect and serve others. I’m committed to growing the business through innovative product development, excellent customer support, and optimized operations,” said Weggeman. “I am honored that the InVeris Board of Directors and their investors have selected me to lead the talented and dedicated men and women of the InVeris team. I am excited to work with the Board and the entire InVeris team in the coming years to grow and build an even more vibrant and innovative business.”
Weggeman has more than 20 years of experience leading top-performing teams to deliver sustained growth in engineered component and product businesses serving military, law enforcement, and other customers. He most recently served as President of Block Engineering, LLC, a leader in cutting-edge chemical detection systems for military, law enforcement, global government agencies, and process industries. Before that, he was President of L3 Technologies Security & Detection Systems, where he led their global security and detection systems business focused on aviation, transportation, government, and critical infrastructure markets. Weggeman earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 1992. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northeastern University in 1988.
“Al’s proven ability to engage and inspire teams and lead them to sustained growth makes him an ideal choice to lead InVeris,” said Chairman of the Board, Pine Island Capital Partners Partner, and Former US Sen. Saxby Chambliss. “The board looks forward to leveraging Al’s expertise for the company’s future growth and success in support of our valued customers, who protect countless lives around the world every day.”
25 Mar 21. US Army division recaps European cross-border challenges, modernisation plans. The coronavirus pandemic derailed the Pentagon’s Defender 2020 exercise plans, while also trapping soldiers from the US Army’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Armored Division on the continent for six months longer than anticipated. These troops, though, used the added time to hone their live-firing skills, glean lessons learnt to pass on, and shed legacy weapons.
Several “Spartan Brigade” leaders, including Commander Colonel Terry Tillis, fielded reporters’ questions on 24 March about their extended European deployment, boosted from 90 days to nine months, and provided some details on how the additional time enabled them to iron out logistics issues and prepare to receive a host of new ground combat vehicles.
In the lessons learnt column, the service used a private company to transport 29 M1A1SA Abrams main battle tanks from Poland to Lithuania over rail. The army was in the process of moving the entire lot at once when the plans went awry. Although the rail gauges are standardised across most of Europe, they change at the Lithuanian border. When the train couldn’t proceed, it was stopped for a “rail exchange” and a crane was used to take the tanks off one train and load them onto another, Sergeant Major William Black said. However, the new train was only able to carry 20 Abrams, and the remaining nine were delivered the following day.
“We just need to articulate the requirement of how many we’re trying to move and then it’s a very deliberate planning process,” Col Tillis added. “Once we aligned the resources, we were able to move between 10 countries relatively easily. But the key piece for us was to actually make sure that we understand to provide the actual requirements for our host nation partners.” (Source: Jane’s)
24 Mar 21. Insitu, Vigilance Extend ISR Training Strategic Collaboration. Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing and Vigilance Group B.V. today announced the extension of a software licensing agreement collaboration. This extension is the latest step in a strategic cooperation that has increased training access for Insitu customers, mission coordinators, and imagery analysts around the world.
Vigilance’s technology provides platform-agnostic UAS Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) training that easily integrates with Insitu media manipulation and management software platforms TacitView and Catalina. The company utilized the software to develop courseware covering ISR doctrine and fundamentals, ISR planning, airspace de-confliction/integration, as well as close air support integration, and full motion video fundamentals.
“At a time when our training teams have had to quickly shift to remote classrooms, our collaboration with the Vigilance team has enhanced the ISR training we offer our global customers,” said Mark Bauman, vice president of global growth for Insitu. “We look forward to the new capabilities and customized coursework this extension will bring to end users.”
Together, Insitu software platforms TacitView and Catalina were identified as the leading Full Motion Video (FMV) software, and in July 2019 Insitu met with Vigilance in the Netherlands to start the partnership. Vigilance was able to utilize the software to develop Insitu-unique courseware. The final courseware was delivered to Insitu in October 2019. Given the successful partnership, Insitu has now extended their software licensing agreement with Vigilance to continue providing valuable training to operators across the globe.
(Source: PR Newswire)
23 Mar 21. The institute of Helicopter Technology, part of the Aerospace and Geodesy Department at Technical University of Munich, recently took their helicopter simulation environment offering to a whole new level, upgrading their BO 105 helicopter with the latest cutting edge technology from Barco. In 2012, as part of the high-quality education and research at Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Rotorcraft Simulation Environment (ROSIE) was designed and constructed for Pilot-In-The-Loop simulation of flights close to ground and in obstacle proximity. Such simulations require a highly realistic simulation of terrain and environment, which means high-fidelity external views are of utmost importance.
The BO 105 simulator was originally equipped with 6 Barco F22 WUXGA projectors, achieving a large field of view of 200 degrees horizontal and +30/-50 degree vertical on a spherical display from project: syntropy. In line with the major technology shift that has happened over the past few years in resolution and pixel quality, the system was now ready to take the next step in boosting its helicopter simulator offering to a new high-resolution standard.
Commissioned by ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH, system integrator project: syntropy upgraded the rotorcraft simulator with the latest powerful simulation projection solution, the FL40 4K projectors from Barco, auto aligned and calibrated to a seamless, uniform image using the ProjectionTools-Update from domeprojection.com.
“Reproducing an environment so close to reality requires cutting-edge technology on all levels”, says Harald Haß at ESG. “Choosing the right partners to get the job done is crucial. project: syntropy, Barco and domeprojection.com always deliver to the highest standard, and we’re really pleased with the result achieved with this upgrade.”
Education that stays cutting-edge
High-quality engineering education has been central for the Institute since its foundation in 2010 when the company Eurocopter, now Airbus Helicopters, invested in the unique and close collaboration of academic education, basic research and applied engineering at TUM. “project: syntropy sees the importance of providing educational institutes with professional tools and equipment for research, preparing students for work in similar environments following their studies, and we are delighted to be asked to bring our initially delivered system up to current technologies” says Christoph Bode CTO at project: syntropy.
“We are very pleased with the result of this upgrade. The sheer detail achieved in the image with the Barco projectors is second to none and provides the rotorcraft simulator with exceptional image fidelity”, says Tim Mehling PhD Candidate at TUM.
“Staying in sync with the technology developments happening in a fast-paced environment is important to us in order to provide the best possible education, research, and training offering out there in our field”, concludes Professor at TUM Manfred Hajek. (Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report)
19 Mar 21. US Air Force’s T-38 trainer could soon dogfight with augmented reality adversaries. In the future, when U.S. Air Force fighter pilots face off in aerial combat training missions, they could be dogfighting the video game version of Chinese and Russian warplanes at a fraction of the cost of using real jets like the F-22 Raptor.
At least that’s the pitch the California-based company known as Red 6 is making to the service.
For the past three years, Red 6 has been working with the Air Force to mature its Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System, or ATARS, which allows pilots flying real fighters to see projections of other aircraft through their helmet visor.
Now the company is on the brink of finalizing a Small Business Innovation Research Phase III contract with the Air Force that will allow it to integrate its technology with a Northrop T-38 Talon — the supersonic jet trainer used to train fighter pilots, according to its founder and CEO, Dan Robinson.
“We’re working in partnership with the test community at Holloman Air Force Base to do that, and then we’re going to be working hand in hand with them to evolve that and make sure that it’s ruggedized,” he told Defense News in a March 17 interview.
The company is also using internal funding to network multiple ATARS together so that more than one aircraft can train as a group against a larger set of adversaries. The hope is to demonstrate that capability for the Navy and Air Force sometime this year, Robinson said.
Unlike virtual reality, where everything the user sees through a headset is simulated, augmented reality superimposes simulated images over the real world.
The ATARS system comprises a custom augmented reality headset designed to be worn with a standard HGU-55 helmet used by F-15 and F-16 pilots. It also includes hardware and software responsible for tracking the pilot’s head in space and displaying information, all driven by a game engine.
“It’s minimally intrusive. It’s designed to be platform agnostic,” Robinson said. “It will incorporate into any aircraft, and there will be slight adjustments to determine antenna positioning and things like that.”
If Red 6 proves that its technology works, it could solve one of the Air Force’s longstanding requirements: the need for cost-effective “red air” training that gives fighter pilots experience in close-quarters aerial combat.
In 2019, the Air Force awarded a contract to seven companies that provide red air training services: Air USA, Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, Blue Air Training, Coastal Defense, Draken International, Tactical Air Support and Top Aces.
These companies typically buy up used third-generation subsonic fighters and hire retired military pilots to pose as aggressors in training missions. However, to train against more advanced threats, the Air Force has to use its own aircraft as aggressors.
Currently, there is no way for the Air Force to virtually represent an adversary once a threat gets within visual range, or about 10 nautical miles.
Using tools like threat emitters that replicate the radiofrequencies emitted by missiles, artillery and other aircraft is sufficient to train pilots beyond visual ranges, Robinson said earlier this week at an event held by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. But with augmented reality, the Air Force would be able to virtually project — for example — a combat-representative Russian Su-57 that the pilot must dogfight.
“So far, augmented reality hasn’t worked outdoors or in dynamic environments,” Robinson said. “It does now.”
The path forward
Although there is no current program of record for the solution Red 6 could provide to the military, the company has some notable former Air Force leaders on its side.
In February, Red 6 appointed Mike Holmes, the former four-star general who led Air Combat Command, as chairman of its board. The company added former acquisition executive Will Roper to its advisory board earlier this month.
Red 6 has received buy-in from sources such as the Air Force’s AFWERX innovation hub — having been awarded Small Business Innovation Research Phase I and II contracts — and received an investment of undisclosed value from Lockheed Martin’s venture capital arm in June 2020.
During the SBIRS Phase III contract, Robinson plans to work with the Air Force on solidifying a business model for providing the technology as well as finalizing the cost. But to get that money, lawmakers will need proof that the technology works, said Robert “Otis” Winkler, a professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Moving it into a training environment where you’re actually projecting images that aren’t necessarily there is something that we’re going to have to prove to folks as far as latency, as far as the ability to make a difference in training,” he said during the Mitchell Institute event.
However, advancements like the F-35 helmet-mounted display — which overlays imagery from the jet’s sensors into a singular picture projected onto the helmet — supports the idea that pilots can wear highly sophisticated optical systems while conducting normal flight operations.
“I think when people actually experience this, it becomes hard to argue,” he said. “I mean, if you look at what are our kids are doing when it comes to augmented reality, in the video games that they are playing, that’s kind of the expectation when folks show up in the military. And I think most of them are disappointed.”
As the company figures out how to link multiple ATARS systems together across large distances, it will need to overcome the challenge of latency, Robinson said.
A solution to that problem is something that companies like Red 6 might be able to learn from large, global, multiplayer games such as Fortnite, which uses techniques such as pose estimation and predictive analysis to ensure all users are sharing the same experience, said Robinson.
“On multiplayer games … the movements are much more nuanced and rapid — so for example, a soldier crouching behind a desk,” he said. “What we’re talking about is fighter combat, where … the realities of the physical limitations of the airplane are a little more predictive.” (Source: Defense News)
21 Mar 21. EAGLE SOKOL is a bilateral 173rd Airborne Brigade training exercise with the Slovenian Armed Forces held on Pocek Range in Slovenia. Exercise EAGLE SOKOL, held this year during the first half of March under COVID-19 prevention conditions, is a bilateral training exercise with the Slovenian Armed Forces focused on the rapid deployment and assembly of forces and on team cohesion with weapon systems tactics and procedures. Exercises such as this build a foundation of teamwork and readiness between NATO allies.
 US Army Paratroopers assigned to Dog Company move toward an objective during a simulated attack as part of EAGLE SOKOL 21, 17 March 2021 [US Army: Paolo Bovo]
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the US Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of projecting ready forces anywhere in the US European, Africa or Central Commands’ areas of responsibility. In this first video, US Army 1st Lt. Kirkpatrick Workman, a Paratrooper assigned to 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, talks about mortar training as part of EAGLE SOKOL 21 at Pocek Range in Postonja, Slovenia, 10th March 2021.
US Army videos by Davide Dalla Massara – see foot of page for more.
In the second video, underneath the image gallery caption list, US Army Paratroopers assigned to 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade and Slovenian Armed Forces are seen conducting a live-fire phase of EAGLE SOKOL 21 at Pocek Range in Postonja, Slovenia, on 15th March 2021. (Source: joint-forces.com)
15 Mar 21. Over the next few days France will boost the UK-led Op CABRIT eFP mission in Estonia by increasing its Leclerc main battle tank contribution, reports Bob Morrison.
MV Eddystone departed La Pallice dockyard near La Rochelle on France’s Atlantic Coast bound for Paldiski in Estonia; when last verified, at 15:00GMT today, she was already in the Baltic Sea due south of Malmo in Sweden.
MV Eddystone unloading British Army vehicles in Antwerp, February 2020 [©Bob Morrison]
Aboard Eddystone, in addition to an undisclosed number of British Army vehicles, is the French LYNX 9 SGTIA (Sous-Groupement Tactique InterArmes or All-Arms Tactical Sub-Group) vehicle fleet consisting of:-
- 12x Leclerc Main Battle Tanks
- 2x EGB Armoured Engineer Vehicles
- 2x DCL Armoured Recovery Vehicles
- 8x VBCI 8×8 Armoured Personnel Carriers
- 21x VBL 4×4 Scout Cars
- 6x PEB Tank Transporters
- 7x PPLOG 8×8 demountable rack logistic trucks
LYNX 9 Infographic [©French MoD]
When deployed on previous NATO eFP (enhanced Forward Presence) attachment to the British Army’s Operation CABRIT mission in Estonia, the French contingent took roughly half the number of tanks but twice the number of APCs as this time. The forthcoming LYNX 9 deployment, which has been expanded to twelve months duration with four three-month roulements of personnel making up the constant 300-strong contingent, appears to consist of one infantry company and two platoons of five tanks (with two more in reserve) plus Engineer, Recce and Logistic support. (Source: joint-forces.com)
About InVeris Training Solutions
InVeris Training Solutions combines an agile approach with an unmatched expertise in training technology to design and deliver customized, cutting-edge, first-rate training solutions that keep military, law enforcement, private and commercial range clients safe, prepared and ready to serve – Because Seconds Matter™. With a portfolio of technology-enabled training solutions, and a team of 400 employees driven to innovate, InVeris Training Solutions is the global leader in integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training solutions. With its legacy companies, FATS® and Caswell, InVeris Training Solutions has fielded over 15,000 live-fire ranges and 7,500 virtual systems globally during its 90-year history. The Company is headquartered in Suwanee, Georgia and partners with clients in the US and around the world from facilities on five continents.