Specular Theory to expand its EARL VR simulator for AAR training
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Specular Theory to expand its EARL VR simulator for AAR training

03 Jun 2021 (Last Updated June 3rd, 2021 10:36)

Specular Theory has won the fourth consecutive SBIR Phase III contract to deliver VR training for the USAF.

Specular Theory to expand its EARL VR simulator for AAR training
Under the latest contract, Specular Theory’s products will support B-52, C-17 and KC-135 aircrew training over the next three years. Credit: US Army / John Martinez.

Software technology company Specular Theory has received a contract from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to expand its Experiential Air Refuelling Lightweight Simulator (EARL).

EARL is a virtual reality simulator that supports US Air Force (USAF) aircrew air-to-air refuelling (AAR) training.

Under the multi-million-dollar Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III contract, Specular Theory’s products will support B-52, C-17 and KC-135 aircrew training over the next three years.

This expansion includes adding more airframes and functionality to the company’s VR simulator, including multi-player capability to support remote training.

The latest contract follows the successful delivery of the company’s ‘SBIR Direct-to-Phase II contract’ with the USAF last year.

USAF 97 Operations Group innovation chief and 97 Training Squadron Operations Officer major Robert Buckley said: “The air refuelling training Specular Theory produced has proven so successful that Air Mobility Command has asked to expand to multiple other aircraft.

“The project was also observed by Global Strike Command and they have asked for the project to be expanded to the B-52.

“The expansion of this training will absolutely transform the way the USAF trains it’s aircrew members and the feedback from students and instructors alike has been exceptional so far.”

Specular Theory EARL operates on commercial-grade commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS).

This EARL AI instructor tracks how a student is performing and assesses their air refuelling proficiency level.

Specular Theory co-founder Ryan Pulliam said: “This Phase III contract allows us to train thousands of students at the FTU level and will demonstrate a multitude of next-gen capabilities for aircrew training for the airforce’s Air Mobility Command and Global Strike Command and has the potential to revolutionise training across the entire airforce and DoD over the next few decades.”