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RAF to acquire Augmented Reality for Hawk from Red 6

US company Red 6, an Augmented Reality (AR) technology firm at the forefront of synthetic air combat training and augmented reality applications, has signed a strategic agreement with the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) and the National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF), the UK Government’s corporate venturing arm, for Augmented reality pilot training.

Red 6 will supply Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to support the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS).  Its technology has redefined how war fighters train by allowing pilots undergoing training in air combat and air-to-air refuelling, for example, to observe and interact with synthetically generated entities superimposed on the visor of their helmets.

The company has developed the Advanced Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS), a multi-node, all-domain AR system that delivers a complete outdoor synthetic training environment for multiple users. It allows pilots to experience the cognitive loads of physically flying airplanes for real but captures the value of synthetics by enabling them to enter realistic, scalable, simulated training environments, outdoors.

“The Red 6 team and I are focused on delivering a synthetic training environment that will provide real life, near-peer threat training that enhances cognitive skills and learning. ATARS will directly address the pilot production shortfall, improve readiness and lethality, and greatly decrease the overextension of resources in a quicker, cheaper, safer, and cleaner way. This agreement marks the beginning of a paradigm shift in training for UK fighter pilots,” said Daniel Robinson, Founder and CEO of Red 6.

“Having served with both the RAF and the USAF…it is essential that we can interoperate seamlessly if we are to prevail in the high-end fight and the first step to achieving this is to be able to train together. I envision a future in which all warfighters, across all domains, can train together in a joint augmented training environment.”

The NSSIF makes investments that help accelerate the adoption of the UK government’s future national security and defence capabilities, while developing the country’s dual-use technology ecosystem. Through this investment, NSSIF will also support Red 6 with its integration into BAE Systems Hawk T2 fast jet trainers. NSSIF also participated as an investor in Red 6’s recent $70 million Series B capital raising round.

The Hawk-ATARS integration effort was unveiled at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference late last year in Orlando, Florida. The company also announced last month at the Paris Air Show that it would undertake a similar integration effort with Lockheed Martin focussed on the Korean Aerospace Industries T-50 advanced jet trainer.

The adoption of advanced technologies is vital if the RAF is to remain at the forefront of global security, says Air Vice Marshal Ian Townsend, Air Officer Commanding the RAF’s No. 22 Group: “Exploitation of novel technologies is an essential part of ensuring that the RAF can sustain its combat edge and succeed on operations against a constantly evolving adversary. Our collaboration with Red 6 is a core part of ensuring we are seeking innovative ways to improve the way in which we train, allowing us to generate the very best combat pilots possible. Augmented Reality presents an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to developing the capability alongside our industry partners.”

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