This edition of Latest in Defence looks at a naval training system that combines artificial intelligence with real-world scenarios, a flight simulator that wraps seamlessly around pilots so learning complex tasks become second nature, and Raytheon blows up lots of stuff in the desert during a series of tests on its Excalibur munition.
The US Office of Naval Research has unveiled a system that combines simulation with live fleet training. The fleet integrated synthetic training and testing facility (FIST2FAC) enables sailors to interact with artificially intelligent forces in various scenarios.
The system can replicate simple or complex situations involving aircraft carriers, helicopters, lethal and nonlethal weapons and more. It was delivered in just eight months, and sailors are already training on FIST2FAC at the Ford Island base in Hawaii.
With defence budgets being slashed, the ability to train realistically without expending fuel, weapons and targets is a huge benefit.
Boeing is also looking to bring new levels of simulation realism, this time to pilot training, with its constant resolution visual system (CVRS) which uses a unique curved design that engulfs pilots in 360 degrees of high-resolution imagery so they can train like they fly.
The idea is that their brain doesn't realise they're in a simulator, so complex tasks become second nature, as if they were performed for real. They can learn to react automatically to challenges like fire manoeuvres, air-to-air refuelling, formation flying, and night vision goggle use.
Back in the real world, Raytheon has released footage of tests on its Excalibur guided artillery shell. The video shows loads of vehicles and of infrastructure being very impressively reduced to shrapnel in blast after blast.
Other than creating pleasing explosions, the tests had a serious purpose - to test Excalibur in a range of environmental conditions. The projectiles were dropped, shaken and exposed to extremes of heat and cold. Despite all this, Excalibur still managed to score direct hits at ranges in excess of 50km, within an average range of just 2.2m off target.
With almost 20 years behind it, Excalibur is a well-established part of the US arsenal, and this video shows why.
Join us next time when we'll be bringing you a festive special featuring military innovations featuring astounding footage from inside Eurofighter, a mind-controlled robotic arm and a peek inside the UK's drone command centre.
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