Boeing has implemented the Presagis Lyra image generator solution as part of the next-generation Apache helicopter simulator (AH-64D) at its Mesa, AZ, facility. Lyra image generator software is being used to bring enhanced features to Boeing’s Block III Apache Engineering Development Simulator (EDS). Presagis’ Lyra Image Sensors image generator will also be used to generate IR and night-vision-goggle simulations.
The U.S. Army and Boeing began the Apache Block III Modernization Program in June 2005. Presagis previously worked with Boeing on its Integrated Tactical Avionics Programs and the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program.
Lyra, powered by Concurrent’s ImaGen virtual server running a RedHawk real-time Linux operating system, brings enhanced features to the simulator, including realistic rendering of special and environmental effects, weather states, and rotor effects, as well as entity and large-area terrain management features.
According to Robert Kopersiewich, Vice President of Product and Program Management at Presagis, the main area modeled for Boeing’s application is the state of Arizona; however, Large Area Database Management allows developers to automatically page in databases that are larger than can be contained in physical memory, eliminating the jitter that would otherwise be experienced when developers load databases manually.
“Traditionally, if you wanted to fly across a large area, scenes were broken into smaller distances, and during a single flight, you would need to stop the simulation, switch the database, and reload before continuing the flight,” said Kopersiewich. “With Lyra, complex scenarios can be created that fly through a virtually unlimited area. Lyra pages in new databases automatically giving Boeing the ability to fly from Montreal to Paris to Kabul in a single uninterrupted scene.”
While early flight simulations were created in CAV-OK (Ceiling and Visibility are OK) conditions, this did not take into account inclement weather or environmental cues such as shadows or the position of the sun and moon.
“Today, it’s important that all environmental elements are depicted as close to reality as possible,” Kopersiewich said. “This provides pilots with the information they need to successfully fly an aircraft and execute missions. This is especially critical in helicopter training where pilots must be challenged under a variety of conditions to learn how to properly navigate an unstable aircraft.”
Lyra, based on Presagis’ Vega Prime real-time 3-D development environment, uses advanced atmospheric and illumination models to deliver high-fidelity scenes. Using physics-based modeling, Lyra provides developers with the ability to automatically position celestial bodies based on the simulation run-time and realistically depict conditions such as dust clouds, fog, or snow.
Special effects also play an important role in creating convincing training environments, enabling the trainee to become convinced by the simulation and immersed in the training exercise.
“Using Lyra, Boeing has the ability to include special effects such as smoke, air and ground explosions, and fire,” Kopersiewich said. “These effects can be used to create scenes that include launch plumes and missile trails or muzzle flashes at canon ports, increasing the dynamism of the scene.”