June 11, 2009 (by Lieven Dewitte) - L-3 Link Simulation is building a new generation of military jet trainers that uses high-definition video and take real-world realism up a couple of notches.
Link's new simulation systems incorporate the latest developments in high-definition video, off-the-shelf digital imaging technology developed for animation and gaming, and a "physics-based environment generator" that allows creation of high-fidelity environments, actual world destruction and explosions with physics simulation, and up to 10,000 simultaneous entities on screen in urban environments.
The F-16 simulator is powered by around 120 Intel Dual Core PCs complete with $400 graphics cards within a special industrial casing. Apparently, this simulator is able to offer 20-40 visual acuity, which is nearly enough to fool the naked eye. All that graphical and processing firepower is used to run Simusphere - a 180-degree field of display which relies on a combination of 9 projectors in order to provide a visually impressive image no matter where you turn your head.
Pilots "flying" in one of Link's SimuSphere trainers equipped with its new HD World system will be able to see everything around them, in the air and on the ground, at levels of detail and sophistication never before achieved. It is also fully capable of being networked so you can fly with a squadron in a large scale exercise.
The U.S. Air Force is the first customer for simulators incorporating HD World. The service recently awarded Link contracts totaling $87.7 million to integrate the technology into a new generation of F-16 flight simulators and build the first of up to 20 four-ship Mission Training Center systems.