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The US Air Force is funding a new augmented reality (AR) initiative for pilot training. Red 6, an AR technology firm that provides military training applications for air combat training, has been awarded a contract from Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI), an implementation of the US Air Force (USAF) SBIR/STTR Supplemental Funding Pilot Program.

The award was granted in support of the continued integration of the company’s Advanced Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS) into the Air Force T-38 Talon. ATARS enables real pilots in real airplanes to train against, and interact with synthetically generated entities up in the sky. Users can engage in complex training such as air-to-air refueling, formation flying and air combat maneuvering thanks to the technology, that is believed to be able to transform the quality, cost, and safety of airborne flight training.

The 2018 US National Defense Strategy identified the need to develop the US ‘National Security Innovation Base’ that involves heavy reliance on dual-use solutions. In order for these objectives to be accomplished, strong partnerships must be developed between USAF end-users, USAF acquisition professionals, and the private-sector portion of the National Security Innovation Base. The purpose of the TACFI pilot program is to catalyze those relationships and to bridge the capability gap.

Building upon the reported success of its T-38 Talon integration, Red 6 stated that it plans to integrate into the T-45 aircraft, followed by fourth-generation aircraft including the F-16 and F-15E, according to