Startup Red 6 Lands Military Contract to Integrate Augmented Reality on T-38 Training Jet
For the first time in history, the US Air Force will be integrating an AR training system that enables T-38 training gets to simulate against enemy fighters.
The US Airforce awarded Red 6 a five year military contract worth $70 million USD over the next five years. The company plans to integrate its Airborne Tactical AR System (ATARS) with the Northrop T-38 Talon to train fighter jet pilots.
T-38s that is equipped with ATARS could be ready for test flights in the next year or so. Red 6 CEO, Daniel Robinson, said in a interview with Defense News
“It’s a big, bold vision, but I think that big, bold vision is really fast becoming a reality,” Robinson said. “I think over the next 12 months, you’re going to see something that no one can deny is absolutely transformational.”
The ATARS system is equipped with full-color AR headset designed to be worn with the HGU-55 helmet typically used by F-15 and F-16 pilots.
Different than virtual reality where an user is immersed in the virtual world, augmented reality blends virtual objects into the physical world. In this case, we are looking at realistic representative of enemy aircrafts, with fighter pilots looking outside their cockpit.
Once the ATARS system is integrated with the T-38, Red 6 aims to integrate a multiple player version of the system, where multiple jets can see the same AR enemy craft, and can work together to defeat it.
Consider it like gamifying military operations where wingman can interact and share gaming space in the sky.
Red 6's contract received investment from Lockhead Martin's VC division for an undisclosed amount. Meanwhile, their latest contract isa Small Business Innovation Research Phase III contract.
The Air Force's Airman System Directorate, Winston Bennet said in a statement,
"Red 6 is delivering a solution to current pain points in training, that if fixed, could solve several national security issues we face today”