Boeing and Red 6 have integrated and flown an augmented reality (AR) pilot training system in a TA-4J tactical aircraft, as a precursor to integrating and testing the system in a T-7 advanced trainer.
The use of AR equipment in pilot training could help address challenges Air Forces around the world face in recruiting fighter pilots, by helping to reduce training costs and time.
Recent figures from the US Air Force, the largest in the world, are that it is around 2,000 pilots short.
Many Air Force’s also face shortages of available training aircraft. A report leaked earlier this year revealed that the UK’s RAF had around 300 trainees on hold because they did not have enough airplanes.
Red 6’s AR system recreates training and combat scenarios by superimposing graphics over the pilot’s live view of their surroundings during flight through a helmet mounted display. This makes training missions logistically simpler while retaining the cognitive and physical loads of flight that would be lost in a ground simulator.
Boeing and the AR training system developer Red 6 first announced they were working together to integrate Red 6’s Advanced Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS) and Augmented Reality Command and Analytic Data Environment into fighter aircraft in September 2022.
Donn Yates, executive director of Boeing Air Force Fighters and Trainers Business Development said “Boeing is the first company to team with Red 6 on this type of advanced training technology.
“The successful series of ground tests and four flight sorties illustrate our collaborative ability to rapidly integrate, deliver and test new technology with the potential to change fighter pilot training for an entire generation. Combining Boeing’s platforms, capabilities and knowledge with new and emerging companies like Red 6 creates better products and services for the warfighter.”
“We are very proud of our team’s efforts to go from integration into the TA-4J to successfully flying the technology in less than a year,” said Thomas “Guns” Bergeson, president of Red 6. “We remain focused on delivering a fully synthetic, outdoor training environment that will transform training for future fighter pilots. The combination of T-7 and ATARS will usher in a new paradigm in training, directly impacting readiness and lethality.”
Dan Robinson, founder and CEO of Red 6 recently discussed the testing and development of its technology for Aerospace Testing International’s Testing Talk feature.