Blended Solutions - Military Simulation & Training

Blended Solutions

Antycip Simulation is a simulation services company based in France, Italy, and the UK. MS&T’s Dim Jones went along to the UK office.

Antycip’s parent organisation is ST (Singapore Technologies) Electronics Training & Simulation Systems, which also owns VT MAK in the US. The two companies market each other’s products, but not exclusively so.The centrepiece of Antycip’s set-up in the UK is a facility called The Hub, in Adderbury, near Oxford; the Italian arm of the company has an equivalent facility called The Lab. The Hub is ideally suited to the task, having a suite of offices above spacious demonstration and conference accommodation on the ground floor. In this venture, Antycip is partnered with Barco, who provide the projectors for the various visual systems. In the UK, about 50% of the business is for aerospace, automotive and academic applications, the other 50% being military. In France, the ratio is around 40%/60%, and in Italy mostly military simulation, where they have a close working relationship with Leonardo Helicopters.

The Hub demonstration facilities are used to show customers the results of work done on their behalves in situations where it would be difficult to do so on the customer’s home turf – for instance, access to military sites with IT equipment is often problematic. In this way, the projects can not only be de-risked, but also lead to quick confirmations and contracts. The facilities can also be used by customers to run their own conferences, events and workshops.

The demonstration rooms are named after regional rivers, the largest being ‘Thames’, and a smaller one ‘Evenlode’. ‘Thames’ features a large visual panel wall, measuring 9m x 2m, used for demonstration and presentation and powered by Barco F-50 single-chip Digital Light Processing (DLP) Lamp projectors, which allow excellent image blending. Another visual system features back-projection using Barco’s F-90 4K laser-phosphor projectors, which provide for stereo and 3D images. A third display includes a curved screen using two F-70 4K laser-phosphor projectors and can be fitted with the Barco IOSONO 3D immersive sound system, making it ideal for such applications as Joint Terminal Air Control (JTAC) and driver training. Another room contained a demo set up for CM Labs, specialists providing turnkey solutions for driver and operator training in military, construction and port environments.

Antycip’s role is bringing together hardware and software to provide blended solutions or in my book, systems integrators. Most of the current military work is concerned with pilot training, in which regard customers are asking for new technology to model emerging threats, such as hypersonic missile and quantum radar, the purpose of which is to detect stealth aircraft and filtering out jamming and background noise.

Antycip perceive a reducing market for conventional flight simulators, with training being transferred to lower-fidelity devices such as PCs, sometimes together with VR HMDs, running the same program(s). Antycip are exploring the latest XR technology including Varjo’s higher-resolution HMDs.

One developing aspect of Antycip’s work is liaison with universities. This is sometimes through the use of its ‘VR Cave’, the definition of which is an enclosed space with display screens on at least three sides. A VR cave can go as far as a fully-enclosed visual cube, although this presents access problems and may not be necessary. Recent collaborative projects include VSimulators at the University of Bath, which was completed in October 2019. Consisting of an environmental chamber on a hydraulic-based moving platform, it is designed to support human in the loop experimentation. As an example, it has been used to study human reactions to different structures, including swaying skyscrapers and bridges. Another initiative is the construction of a 12x4x4m VR Theatre for ENS (Ecole Normale Superieure) Rennes, which is being used to study sports team communication and interaction on the field by including virtual opponents such as a goalkeeper facing a shot at goal.

Current military work includes: a project with Elettronica Spa in Italy, to develop an EW Battlelab; upgrading two ship defence simulators (SIMDAV) for the Marine Nationale (French Navy), in the naval ports of Toulon and Brest; in partnership with Diamond Visionics LLC, installing Diamond Visionics’ GenesisIG and GenesisSN to support the Airbus Defence and Space Typhoon Engineering Simulator; and in the civil/military air traffic control environment, working with Sopra Steria in support of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR), which seeks to meet future airspace capacity and safety needs by predicting, modelling and managing aviation challenges.

Published in MS&T issue 2/2020