MAGnet Debriefing Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation
While major brand real time ACMI ranges are used to train crews to air combat tactics, the lessons learned are only derived on the ground where the reconstruction of the flight takes place during the debriefing. To that extend, the MAGnet D-ACMI reconstructs graphically every portion of the flown mission using only small GPS receivers carried by the crews. These GPS receivers are wrist worn or they can be placed inside the arm uniform pocket of the crews. It creates 3D views of the flight set ups, positional relations amongst participating aircraft and weapon firing solutions.
Real time ACMI’s are using telemetry pods to achieve the following functions:
- Transmit positional and weapon firing data to the ground station.
- Generate Real Time Kill notification (RTKN) and kill removal messages.
- Record the mission attributes so they can be reconstructed during the debriefing.
Although the main objective of the real time ACMI range is to train primarily the airborne crews and secondary the ground personnel, the fact is that the real time feature offers only the RTKN and kill removal functions to the airborne crews. Undoubtedly, this is a valuable feature especially when the formations are growing to include more than 20 aircraft, but the cost for developing the real time ACMI range prevents squadrons from acquiring a system like that.
Furthermore, the daily schedule of an operational squadron includes small formations (up to 4 Vs 4 aircraft maximum) thus the RTKN and kill removal function becomes a second priority considering the budget required to acquire the real time solution.
MAGnet D-ACMI is not a real time solution and it doesn’t intent to replace real time ACMI’s. Its main objective is to reconstruct the flown tactics during the debriefing offering unsurpassed Situational Awareness to pilots and resolving fundamental uncertainties like who received the fired shot.
MAGnet D-ACMI is an inexpensive solution for squadrons to acquire an accurate debriefing tool without the limitations of ground stations, telemetry pods or other large equipment. It is used to increase the pilot’s Situational Awareness during the post mission analysis and allow a gradual and effective “lessons learned” built up. MAGnet D-ACMI automatically reconstructs the mission allowing pilots to monitor, analyze and understand the performed tactics and errors.
Making a comparison between the real time ACMI and the debriefing one we see that both of them offer almost the same capabilities on reconstructing the flown tactics during the debriefing. The big difference is that real time ACMI’s require a budget at a range of several million $USD restricting squadron from training their pilots continuously and effectively. MAGnet D-ACMI has been developed to offer the ability to every individual squadron to acquire their own debriefing tool.
MAGnet D-ACMI Features
The user draws a 2D or 3D area by using the mouse or by defining the coordinates of the vertices. Lower and upper altitudes are also defined (block altitudes). These areas are used as training areas, restricted or dangerous areas, controlled airspace etc. Custom audio and visual alerts are generated upon an asset enters, exits, penetrates or crosses these areas in accordance with the flown scenarios. Geofences can also be drawn around terrain obstacles to inform pilots during the debriefing of a flown ground close proximity. Custom alerts are generated when an aircraft penetrates block altitudes, violates Minimum Release or Escape altitudes etc.
The user defines a route (for example a CPM) by clicking with the mouse or by defining the steering points coordinates. If the actual flight track deviates from this predefined track line (the amount of deviation is user defined) then various alarms will sound. This feature aids crews to observe the amount of deviation from the posted procedures, correct their flight paths for instrument approaches and landing patterns, comply with the posted procedures within tactical or training ranges etc.
Mid-Air Collision Notification
The system includes algorithms to indicate minimum distances between aircraft. These distances are user defined. If these distances are violated then alarms are generated.
Ground Collision Notification
MAGnet D-ACMI includes the 3D terrain model of the whole earth. As a result it can create an alert when an aircraft flies in close proximity to a mountainous area and it also predicts forward projected obstacles.
Surface-to-Air Threats Notification
The user can create custom Surface to Air threat envelopes that are displayed on the screen and alert crews upon entering the threat umbrella.
MAGnet D-ACMI can be networked (internet or Ethernet) amongst remote squadrons to display the recorded set-us simultaneously. Every participating aircraft will increase their Situational Awareness even when landing to a different airfield than the host squadron. This feature allows complex formation to be flown and share the big picture with partners across the country. Alternatively the individually recorded GPS aircraft tracks can be e-mailed to the host squadron (and vice versa).
Targeting and Weaponearing
MAGnet D-ACMI employs a unique formula to solve a fundamental source of arguments and misconception during Air-to-Air combat debriefings: who received the reported shoot. MAGnet draws a kill line commencing at the aircraft that reported the shoot (the shooter) or the common Bulls Eye that ends to a point in space in accordance to the shooter’s report (for example B.E.1 080o/22NM/23000). It then searches for an aircraft at the edge of the kill line (this is the target that received the shoot). If an aircraft exists there it is designated as a target. If there is no aircraft at that specific point (for example due to a delayed report from the shooting aircraft) then it looks for the closest aircraft at the edge of the kill line. The closest aircraft is designated then as a target. Due to the sensitive nature of weapon envelopes, MAGnet systems do not provide these data. Instead, it can provide an interface so the end user will configure on its own the parameters of these envelopes. These envelopes are used to asses if a reported shot is missed, valid kill or defeated in accordance to the scenarios.
MAGnet D-ACMI is not a real time telemetry solution but it records the flight tracks by using off-the-self commercial GPS receivers so it can replay them during the debriefing. To that extend it is not connected to the aircraft buses to provide firing notifications. Instead it uses the video or audio tapes reports to plot the kill lines and asses the reported shoots. This can be considered as a disadvantage of the system when compared to the real time ACMI ranges, so the end user has to weight up the pros and cons of each system and judge if this feature worth’s an investment of several million $USD.
MAGnet D-ACMI can connect with real time meteorological servers and receive real (or near real time depending on the local server refresh rate) updates on clouds satellite imagery and weather attributes (wind speed, direction etc).
The D-ACMI low cost solution allows every squadron to be equipped with this valuable debriefing tool and train their crews 24/7 without dependence on permanent ground stations or fixed debriefing rooms. D-ACMI can run in every briefing room (interconnected or not with the rest briefing rooms). At a cost that doesn’t exceed the value of the computer used to run and display the D-ACMI, accurate training is now available to every formation even individual pilots that are interested to improve their performance and increase their Situational Awareness.
The MAGnet D-ACMI consists of the small GPS receivers used to record the aircraft tracks and a laptop to store, synchronize and replay the participants’ positional information. Everything is packed in a small laptop or pelican case so D-ACMI debriefings can run everywhere.
The term rangeless that is used to describe the current real time ACMI ranges is misleading since it gives the impression that a ground station is not required. What rangeless actually means is that fixed ground stations are no longer required to calculate the aircraft location through triangulation. This capability is now achieved by the GPS receiver inside the ACMI pod.
But in order to transmit the location along with other aircraft information to the ground facilities they still need a ground station to receive these data. The difference between previous generations ACMI real time systems and the current ones is that the number of ground stations has been reduced. The fact is that at least one of them is still needed in order to receive the real time telemetry data. A real time ground station consists of transceiver units, antenna installations, networking infrastructures to relay the data to the debriefing room for real time monitoring and several other large units used to download and synchronize the recorded attributes. If the aircraft flies outside the coverage of this ground station (typical ranges are from 60 to 100 NM) then the aircraft rely on the storage mediums inside the pod for recording the data for post mission analysis. The conclusion is that without a ground station on a fixed location to receive the transmitted data the real time ACMI ranges provide almost the same functionality as the D-ACMI solution.
Since MAGnet D-ACMI doesn’t use pods or other complex ground based infrastructures it is available without limitations each and every time providing the same information during the debriefing with the real time ones but at the fraction of the cost.
MAGnet D-ACMI is interoperable with other C2 or tactical display solutions. For example it can receive and display real time feeds coming from various sources (ground based radars, airborne radars, and other operational links). MAGnet has also been extensively used with Falcon View to exchange positional information for various applications.
MAGnet D-ACMI is compatible with virtually every available commercial or non-commercial GPS receiver. More than 300 positional formats and all major brand GPS’s are supported. New formats can be added at anytime.
GPS/INS solutions are also supported as long as the device format is available. Several proprietary formats have been adapted by MAGnet software after the manufacturer requested the ability to plot on MAGnet maps the data of their devices. In the same manner any kind of device that exports positional data (for example radars) can be connected with MAGnet for visualizing the tracks.
MAGnet systems can customize D-ACMI to the specific squadron needs on a minimal time frame and with minimal cost. Our goal is to provide accurate training for every individual pilot.
Large-Scale Multi-Branch Scenarios
MAGnet ACMI can be used not only by aircraft but by every asset that carries a GPS receiver (Ships, vehicles, personnel etc). This allows multi-branch complex debriefings to be simplified increasing simultaneously everyone’s Situational Awareness.
D-ACMI is currently used by the Swedish Air Force,the Hellenic Air Force, the Qatar Air Force and the Chilean Air Force.