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Data-Link and ATC Solution for Military Operational Flight Trainers (OFTs)

Customer

U.S. Air Force

Application

The Air Force has contracted ASTi to update simulators for a reconnaissance aircraft, adding SERA and updating Telestra on several OFTs. Features include SERA's realistic air traffic control (ATC), radio traffic from other aircraft, Telestra data-link simulation, and integration with real aircraft equipment via ARINC-429 interfaces.

The purchase also includes SERA's Controller Pilot Data-Link Communications (CPDLC) package. SERA’s CPDLC feature will train aircraft operators how to send and receive data messages to and from ATC. As part of this contract, ASTi engineers will further expand CPDLC capabilities, allowing SERA to directly communicate with the aircraft flight management system via the ARINC-429 data bus.

The OFT simulators also use the ASTi Telestra system for sound and communication. SERA’s integration with Telestra is simple and seamless, providing the flight deck crew with a fully immersive radio environment.

SERA's CPDLC package simulates ATC data-link communications.

SERA's CPDLC package simulates ATC data-link communications.

Challenges &
Solutions

The challenge requirements are listed in blue; ASTi's applicable components are in black:

SERA's CPDLC package simulates ATC data-link communications.

SERA's CPDLC package simulates ATC data-link communications.

Custom Radios and Data-Link Capabilities

Simulate aircraft radios that communicate with ATC over voice and data link.

ASTi is developing a custom ARINC-429 interface that directly communicates with OFT equipment. The aircraft mission computer and flight management system marshal data messages intended for the very-high frequency (VHF) and satellite radios. ASTi intercepts these messages and simulates the radio transmissions before ATC receives them.

Thanks to ASTi's Telestra data-link interface and custom 429 interfaces, students can send messages to ATC via flight management systems identical to those on real flights. They will also train with the same audio equipment and headsets that pilots use on actual aircraft. Additionally, ASTi’s ACU2 audio distribution devices connect remote operator headsets, speakers, and control panels to a central server, enhancing the exercise with superior audio and realism.

Realistic ATC Environment

Generate AI entities that simulate ATC and other aircraft, creating a dynamic environment that sounds and behaves like actual controllers.

ASTi's SERA creates a dynamic environment, complete with AI controlled entities and controllers. Not only does it increase flight training's realism, but it also provides an immersive ATC and traffic experience in the air and on the ground. SERA eliminates the need for instructor role-play and provides real-world communication demands, increasing training value and decreasing costs.

Simulated traffic realistically aviates, navigates, and communicates in shared airport and airspace environments. Pilots in a SERA environment can correlate audible radio traffic with visual ground, landing, and departing traffic. This activity provides important cues missing from many simulations. As in the real world, radio messages are appropriate to the currently tuned frequency and geographical location.

Integrated Solution

Assimilate SERA into the customer’s existing simulator without significant development or configuration.

SERA works with a variety of simulators and can drive image generators in multiple formats, including Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) and Common Image Generator Interface (CIGI). The host system and instructor operator station can communicate with SERA’s public API. As a result, systems like the traffic collision avoidance systems (TCAS) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) can understand SERA entities. Administrators and instructors can easily configure and manage these settings in the SERA web interface.

For this program, ASTi developed a custom, stimulated (i.e., hardware) solution that easily integrated into the Air Force’s existing equipment. In this configuration, a SERA server connected to an ASTi 429 Audio Bridge. This customizable device incorporated CPDLC directly into the simulator, sending ARINC-741 SATCOM and ARINC-750 VHF protocols over an ARINC-429 bus. The result was quick and seamless integration—no reverse engineering or modifications required.

Components Deployed

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