Red 6 Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System Launches Air Force Into the Future

Published by Leita Hermanson on

Department of the Air Force Envisions the Future

The Department of the Air Force (DAF) wants a future in which all warfighters across all domains are connected in a joint augmented battlespace. In its 2030 vision, the DAF describes the key objectives it believes are needed to accomplish this vision. These objectives include the following: Develop and Deliver Transformational Strategic Capabilities; Reform the Way Science and Technology are Led and Managed; and Deepen and Expand the Scientific and Technical Enterprise.

Highly trained and equipped warfighters will be central to bringing these goals to fruition. To achieve these objectives, DAF will need to embrace new technologies, collaborate across domains, and provide advanced training for its workforce. One technology that can help the DAF create this future is augmented reality.  According to the Deloitte Center for Government Insights, adopting augmented reality offers a range of benefits, such as improved learning outcomes and increased productivity at lower costs.

That’s where Red 6’s Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS) come in. The ATARS “enable various AR-driven tactical training sessions, including air combat maneuvers, refueling, tactical formation, and surface-to-air weapon engagements.” With Red 6’s ATARS the DAF can develop methods to train warfighters faster and more accurately, at less cost and lower risk. The Red 6’s ATARS provide an advanced simulated environment where warfighters can practice skills against virtual adversaries. For example, warfighters can use Red 6’s ATARS to “interact with unmanned aircraft, threats, and targets in real-time, high-speed environments while training in their actual jets.” They can battle “virtual adversaries enabling fighter pilots in real planes, outside, up in the sky, to practice dogfighting and other maneuvers.” This provides a lower risk, superior and effective training environment giving warfighters an advantage over adversaries.

Figure 1. The Red 6 ATARS delivers advanced training for warfighters with its high-speed data passage, which creates a seamless, multi-player, augmented reality experience viewed through a full-color, wide field of view, and high-resolution display.

To reform the way science and technology are led and managed, the DAF will need to collaborate and adopt Agile transformation and leadership. By embracing an Agile mindset, the DAF can “continue to develop and deliver disruptive innovations to ensure our nation’s defense.” Using agile the DAF can foster continued innovation. Red 6’s ATARS offer an augmented reality environment that can help leaders collaborate to develop the critical training they need to help warfighters embrace future technologies.

Red 6’s ATARS foster collaboration by linking with other systems, through “a seamless, multi-player, augmented reality experience viewed through a full-color, wide field of view, and high-resolution display.” Warfighters can collaborate in multiple environments, such as outdoors, in full daylight as well as low latency high-speed, dynamic use cases. ATARS also link with Red 6’s Augmented Reality Command and Analytic Data Environment (ARCADE), “bringing enhanced efficiency to mission planning, briefing, and debriefing through real-time 3D visualizations.” The Air Force already uses the advanced pilot training for Boeing’s T-7A Red Hawk, which uses Red 6 ATARS and “is equipped with digital engineering processes, agile software development, and an open architecture mission system.”

To deepen and expand the scientific and technical enterprise, DAF will need to engage and support a technical and driven workforce. Augmented reality like the Red 6’s ATARS provide a tool that can increase scientific and technical prowess and attract the warfighters of the future through its advanced technology and capabilities. The ATARS makes advanced training possible to meet future and ever-growing challenges. Thus, the DAF can ensure its warfighters learn critical skills to drive future technologies. The ATARS are based on “a multi-node, all-domain, augmented reality (AR) system that enables a complete LVC ecosystem for multiple users, from beyond visual range (BVR) to within visual range (WVR) in dynamic environments.” Using this technology, warfighters will be capable of using and adapting to future technologies; to thwart enemies by creating “an ever-growing number of challenges that demand resource prioritization, increase vulnerabilities, and impart overwhelming confusion.”

ATARS will help the DAF offset challenges to technological superiority in training, partnerships, and scientific advancement by helping “the Air Force expand and deepen its access to scientific and technical talent through internal workforce enhancement.” Using the ATARS, the DAF will be able to “predict where adversaries cannot easily go and then ensure the Air Force gets there first.” Red 6 ATARS help the DAF rapidly adapt to new threats, and to create new strategies and training to meet changing needs. Thus, the DAF will develop a warfighter force that overcomes challenges by increasingly sophisticated adversaries and dominates time, space, and complexity in future conflict. Through augmented reality tools, warfighters embrace innovation, imagine the future, and efficiently learn future technologies, helping the DAF to meet its objective to “dominate time, space, and complexity” in “all operating domains,” to “project power and defend the homeland.”


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