CNN Technology

Pilots study virtual terrain of Bosnia

3-D image

December 13, 1995
Web posted at: 1:20 a.m. EST


From Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States is using the latest in virtual reality computer animation to prepare pilots for the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. They can fly missions from Kaposvar, Hungary, to the United States base at Tuzla, Bosnia, and get a good look at the countryside along the route without climbing into a real cockpit.

The 3-D imagery released by the U.S. Air Force is not an approximation. The terrain is an exact copy, down to the last hill and valley, created by using the latest virtual reality techniques to translate satellite photos and other data into moving maps. (417K QuickTime movie)


Maj. Gen. Philip Nuber, director of the Defense Mapping Agency, says that using this virtual technology in flight simulation can help soldiers in peace time as well as war. "Just like the fighter pilots used it to preview a target before they went, you can also do the same thing before you go on a mission in the peacekeeping role to see what the terrain is like," he says. (108K AIFF sound or 108K WAV sound)

The system, called "PowerScene," was first used to train pilots who conducted NATO bombing campaigns this summer, giving them practice flying their bombing runs.

It was also used to train the pilots who conducted the rescue of Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady in June.

Combat pilots can use the computer images to practice the most effective bombing runs and ways to avoid killing civilians. The images can even help cargo pilots by helping them find the safest way in.


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