ISR Simulation and Training

MAG Aerospace

For military, law enforcement and first responder organizations, aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms provide critical information to support effective operations whether they’re used for tracking maneuvers of opposing forces, monitoring borders for illegal crossings or conducting search and rescue operations.

VBS3 has a robust model library and we can create living cities to show operators how to use the camera in real-life situations.
Wesley Fine, Senior Product Manager, MAG Aerospace

MAG Aerospace, an industry leader in providing and enabling real-time situational awareness, developed FLIRSIM™ using VBS3 to support training for the FLIR® Star SAFIRE 380 family of sensor operators.

Based on the actual technical specifications of the FLIR Star SAFIRE 380, FLIRSIM provides accurate systems modeling to ensure maximum training fidelity. MAG Aerospace’s engineers developed a plugin for VBS3 with help from BISimTM that connects the actual FLIR SAFIRE hand control unit (HCU) for use in VBS3 scenarios.

Before MAG Aerospace developed FLIRSIM™, the company had been using briefing slides to train sensor operators.

“It was like reading a manual about how to drive a car,” said Wesley Fine, Senior Product Manager for MAG Aerospace. “You don’t see the benefit until you get behind the wheel.” On the other hand, putting sensor operators in the air for training magnifies the cost of training significantly.

Leveraging the VBS3 simulation environment, FLIRSIM allows trainees to prepare for a variety of operational environments and weather conditions that sensor operators face in similar real-world conditions. With FLIRSIM, operators can train using the same FLIR hand controller as those found in vessels and aircraft so they form muscle memory on the true button layout. FLIRSIM enables training that can be accomplished without expending fuel, without risk to pilots and operators or to equipment, and helps ensure sensor operators are using best practices with the highest level of proficiency.

“VBS3 has a robust model library and we can create living cities to show operators how to use the camera in real-life situations,” Fine said. “VBS3 has many different features we leverage. For example, we use the real-time mission editor. I can take over a vehicle in a training scenario instead of having a pre-scripted event. I can drive through a town and challenge students or I can roleplay as a subject getting out of a vehicle that they have to follow.”

“The VBS3 scenario settings also make life a lot easier because we can quickly change from day to night and use the weather settings to introduce operators to different challenges,” Fine added.

FLIRSIM and VBS3 also simulate a variety of payloads including electro-optical, infrared, short-wave infrared, HD Low Light and laser-range finding sensors.

The complete FLIRSIM system is contained in a rugged case that can be transported as carry-on luggage and easily set up anywhere.


Tools Used

Customer Profile

MAG Aerospace, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, is a leader in providing and enabling real-time situational awareness to help its customers make the world smaller and safer. MAG delivers full spectrum ISR Services (operations, training, and technical services) and other specialty aviation to federal, international, civilian, and commercial customers around the world. MAG’s team of 1,000+ professionals operate 200+ manned and unmanned special mission aircraft, delivering ~100,000 flight hours annually on six continents in support of its customers’ missions. For more information on MAG Aerospace, please visit


Have a question about this case study? Find out more about how you can use BISim products to meet your simulation and training needs.

Contact Sales


Founded in 2001, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), a wholly-owned subsidiary of BAE Systems, Inc., is a global software company at the forefront of simulation and training solutions for defense and civilian organizations. Globally, many hundreds of thousands of military personnel are trained every year using BISim’s high-fidelity VBS software products. More than 60 NATO and NATO-friendly countries, and over 300 integrators/prime contractors use VBS technology, many making significant funding commitments to extend VBS product capabilities. BISim’s customers include the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Canadian Armed Forces, French Army, Bundeswehr, Swedish Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force, New Zealand Defence Force and many major system integrators.