Simulation Companies Fight For Piece Of World Market.

Author:Kennedy, Harold
 
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With defense budgets around th world generally in decline, simulation and training manufacturers are scrambling more intently than ever for their share of the global market.

"Every week, budgets go down, and training requirements stay the same or get harder," said Ross Q. Smith vice president of sales and business development for Quantum3D, of San Jose, Calif. Quantum3D makes interactive three-dimensional (3D), personal-compute (PC)-based visual computing systems.

"There's a trend toward embedded training," Smith explained in an interview, at this year's International Training and Education Conference, known as ITEC 2000, in The Hague, Netherlands. "Instead of building separate facility for training, we actually hook up our system inside the vehicle in which you're going to fight."

At ITEC, for example, Quantum3D was showing off its Thermal Sight Video Controller (TSVC), which it developed for use with Canada's Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) appended trainer. The TSVC produces video signals simultaneously for both the LAV commander and gunner display channels. Real-time 3D images "provide for the utmost realism in an appended training environment," Smith said.

There is a growing demand for increased realism in simulation, Smith said. "People want the real road, the real field, the real building. If you want to take out terrorists in a specific building, you can't train in a typical building. It has to be a real building."

Earlier this year, Quantum3D unveiled its Heavy Metal AAlchemy 4116--the first of a planned family of scalable, advanced, real-time 3D graphics systems for visual simulation and training applications. AAlchemy 4116 enables real-time rendering of complex synthetic environments, rich in cultural features, free from distracting artifacts and at sustained frame rates, Smith said.

MultiGen-Paradigm Inc. (MPI), also based in San Jose, is touting "the first fully correlated sensor product suite on Windows NT," according to Brian Barrel, MPI's vice president for marketing. This group of products provides the ability to construct a single application that simultaneously renders correlated out-of-the-window, radar, night vision and infrared visuals, using a single material-classified database, Bartel said. The products include:

* SensorVision, which simulates electro-optical and infrared visuals, including night vision.

* SensorWorks, which imitate a wide range of sensor effects, such as night-vision goggles and FLIR sensors.

* RadarWorks, which copies imaging radar systems, including synthetic aperture radar, real-beam ground mapping and Doppler beam sharpening.

"We'd like to be the Henry Ford of database generation," Bartel told National Defense. "We're revolutionizing the way database generation happens."

The international marketplace is becoming increasingly important for MPI, Bartel said. "Fifty percent of our business is outside of North America," he said. "And 75 percent of that is European."

Another industry player, Evans & Sutherland (E&S), of Salt Lake City, is marketing its new Symphony line of products internationally.

A Wide Range

Introduced in 1999, the Symphony line includes a wide range of graphic products for simulation. Among them:

* The Harmony image-generator channel, designed for complex applications, such as full-mission rehearsals, helicopter and fast-jet training and networked simulations.

* Ensemble, the first true PC-based image generator system and one of E&S' newest.

E&S also exhibited its just-released simFusion, "the first and only PC-based visual system to offer real simulation features for under $20,000," E&S President...

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