Revolutionary Virtual Reality-based Flight Simulation for the U.S. Navy

Dec 07, 2016

Orlando, Florida — Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), a global developer of military training and simulation software, is revolutionizing flight training by leveraging emerging virtual reality technologies and BISim’s Virtual Battlespace (VBS) to provide a high-fidelity virtual environment for training and mission rehearsal.

Working under contract for the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), BISim developed a prototype, virtual reality technology-based F/A-18 Super Hornet training system designed to demonstrate the art of the possible. Where today’s high-end simulators rely on multi-million dollar display environments and physical cockpits, emerging VR technologies that cost an order of magnitude less are featured.

Integrated with the VBS Blue whole-earth rendering engine, the solution drives an Oculus Rift CV1 to produce a 360-degree field-of-view immersive environment and an integrated Leap Motion sensor to track hand and arm movements, enabling natural interaction with a highly detailed, virtual crew station.

“We sought to leverage emerging virtual reality technology to create a highly realistic yet affordable training solution that was portable enough to be transported for use in an aircraft carrier ready room,” said John Burwell, BISim’s business development director. “The results have exceeded expectations and show that the latest HMD and tracking technology have passed the threshold for widespread usability. Discomfort associated with previous application of virtual reality technologies have been virtually eliminated.”

The F/A-18 avionics, weapon systems and flight model are faithfully simulated by FLEX-Air from SASimulations. The technology is standards-based and integrates with the Next Generation Threat System (NGTS) developed by NAVAIR that models both threat and friendly aircraft, ground and surface platforms, and their corresponding weapons and subsystems. The virtual reality technology, which runs on a COTS high-performance PC, incorporates a flight stick and throttle which serves as the sole physical interface to the system.

The program demonstrates that a wide variety of training requirements can be met with the technology as it is today. If offered as part of a blended learning solution, virtual reality solutions can help to fill gaps between classroom-based instruction and full mission simulation and live training.

BISim recently demonstrated the results of this development project at I/ITSEC 2016 in Orlando and networked it with VBS3 and VBS IG for a complex combined arms training exercise.

Watch a video demonstration of this technology here:


Founded in 2001, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) is a global software company at the forefront of simulation training solutions for military and civilian organizations. BISim utilizes the latest game-based technology and a large, experienced in-house team of engineers to develop high-fidelity, cost-effective training and simulation software products and components for military applications.