SDS Delivers ROVATTS™-based MQ-9 Reaper Mission Training Device (MTD) to the University of North Dakota (UND)


SDS International (SDS) recently completed delivery of one of its ROVATTS™-based MTDs for use by the University of North Dakota’s Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education and Training, Grand Forks, ND in a research partnership with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), 711th Human Performance Wing, Warfighter Readiness Research Division. Under that partnership, UND plans to use the MQ-9 MTD to address a variety of unmanned airraft systems (UAS) training issues including the development of methods to aid in event sequencing, mission rehearsal, and self-instruction of pilots and sensor operators. In addition, the MTD is expected to help assess and evaluate techniques and methodologies for UAS training, to help identify needed curricular interventions, and to track their effectiveness.


Previously, two ROVATTS-based MTD simulators, connected to the UND ATC Radar Laboratory, were used to conduct scenario testing of UAS operations within an Air Traffic Control environment. Once appropriately trained, research flights were conducted by Certified Flight Instructors from UND Aerospace Flight Operations and students enrolled in the University's Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics degree in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations. The use of the MTD as a laboratory asset is also developing in other human factors research projects, such as the comparison of pilot flight parameters in manned aircraft versus unmanned aircraft simulators, the study of object identification by sensor operators, the development of procedures to change course or targets as directed by ATC or other commanding agencies, and the use and assessment of motion sensory cueing devices.


The MQ-9 Reaper MTD, produced by SDS’ Advanced Technologies Division, Orlando, FL, consists of two tabletop simulator stations that preserve the correct physical layout of the pilot and sensor operator portions of the MQ-9 ground control station, plus a separate laptop-based instructor-operator-station providing mission planning and system operation. The MTD, which operates in a normal office environment (A/C, power, etc.), includes a pilot and sensor station with properly sized/positioned flat-panel displays for the head-up-display (HUD), tracker display, and head-down command and status displays; specialized USB-based Desktop Control Units comprised of form/fit/function stick, throttle, keyboard and trackball controls; and rudders. The MTD’s software provides functioning MQ-9 pilot and sensor operator HUD, tracker-map, and head-down-display functionalities (including variable information tables and menu button interfaces). The software also incorporates an SDS-developed high-fidelity Reaper aerodynamics package supporting launch/recovery and mission operations (including flight with turbulence effects/satellite control-delays and GPS approach capabilities); normal and selected emergency procedure functionality; and realistic electro-optical/infra-red sensor displays provided by SDS’ AAcuity® PC-IG.


SDS’ ROVATTS™-based MQ-9 Reaper simulation systems are also available in a laptop version which preserves MQ-9 system functionality while increasing mobility and reducing system footprint by placing all functions (tracker, status, command and HUD) in selectable windows on one COTS laptop per pilot and sensor operator station. Both tabletop or laptop versions can support individual (pilot or sensor operator) and/or crew training in a stand-alone environment, plus distributed training involving a variety of live, virtual, and constructive systems in either local or distributed exercises using DIS or HLA connectivity. As such, ROVATTS™-based systems represent a low-cost, high-fidelity alternative capable of supporting a wide variety of realistic training, mission rehearsal, R&D and T&E applications.


SDS is a veteran-owned, operations-oriented small-business providing a broad range of services to government and commercial clients worldwide. Core competencies include Education and Training, Test and Evaluation, Engineering and Technical Services, Research and Development, and PC-Based Training and Simulation Products.


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