The Future of Pilot Training with LVC & Mixed Reality – Case Finnish Air Force

The Finnish Air Force, Varjo, Patria and Bohemia Interactive Simulations have collaborated on a pioneering Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) training solution. The innovative project shows how virtual simulation can augment live exercises and unlock new training possibilities.

Key Benefits

  • Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) enables effective integration of the real and virtual worlds, allowing the simulation of large-scale or dangerous training scenarios in a secure way. This provides pilots with a new level of readiness before deployment.
  • Mixed reality technology enables the creation of new, highly realistic immersive training scenarios that can easily be modified or repeated.
  • Trainees equipped with HMDs can view a seamlessly blended mixed reality environment. Pilots can replicate the conditions of live flying, interacting with real cockpits, their own charts and documents, and virtual worlds.

The Challenge: How to Realistically Simulate Complex Flight Training

The Finnish Air Force continuously seeks to deploy the most effective technologies available to provide the best possible fighter pilot training. As technologies improve, the competence requirements for pilots are also changing as cognitive skills are becoming more important. Pilot trainees must now manage different systems simultaneously, detect and analyze essential elements, and make decisions at a fast pace. How to effectively and realistically simulate this cognitive load as pilots train for complex air operations?

The Solution: Leading-edge LVC Training System with Mixed Reality & Pilot Performance Data

Finnish Air Force fighter pilots have been using a LVC training solution since 2018. To help develop this pioneering the LVC training system, the Finnish Air Force looked to Patria, the Finnish provider of defense, security and aviation training and technology solutions.

With LVC training, pilots train in an environment where live Hawk aircraft, physical simulators and computer modelling are all combined in a single training scenario. This means that the pilots who are flying in the air can see the same aircraft and virtually generated targets as the trainees in the physical simulators on the ground. The LVC system allows them to train either together side-by-side or against each other as part of the same training environment.

Furthermore, with an operator performance analytics system developed by Patria, the air force can monitor the stress levels and cognitive loads of pilot trainees during the exercise from physiological data, such as eye movements and heart rate variability. All flight and operator data can be reviewed in detail after each exercise, allowing efficient debriefing.

Pioneering Use of Mixed Reality in LVC Training

Varjo began collaborating with the Finnish Air Force, Patria and BI Simulations in the fall of 2020 to demonstrate the future of pilot training. Using Varjo’s virtual and mixed reality technology with human-eye resolution (over 70 pixels per degree), pilots can now distinguish even the smallest details in the cockpit and experience a highly photorealistic simulated training environment. The integrated eye tracking of the VR/XR headsets at <1-degree accuracy can also be used for collecting data on pilots’ eye movements and reactions for the operator analytics system.

Due to the initial success of integrating mixed reality technology to the LVC trainers, the Finnish Air Force is looking at other ways to incorporate the technology into future training scenarios. According to the Finnish Air Force, in the future most flight training is likely to be conducted in an environment combining live aircraft, simulators, and computer-generated players controlled by algorithms or artificial intelligence.

Outcome: A Pioneering LVC Cloud Training Demonstration, featuring:

“The development of XR technologies offers new opportunities to provide more motivating and efficient training while utilizing advanced simulators together with live flight training. Even though we have taken only the first steps with LVC, the results have proved to be very positive.”

– Lieutenant Colonel Teemu Pöysti, Chief of Air Force Training

  • Finnish Air Force BAE Systems Hawk fighter jets in the air
  • Federated Varjo mixed reality technology on the ground
  • Real-time exercise monitoring of AI controlled targets
  • Bohemia Interactive Simulations’ image generators
  • A performance analytics system developed by Patria
  • Networked physical simulators and simulator classrooms on the ground

See more examples of Varjo used for training and simulation:

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