Powerboat simulator for Royal Navy Reserves RHIB training.
Working in partnership with Novatech, who were awarded an MOD contract for the RNR to supply motion systems for RHIB training, Delta Kinetic developed and delivered 15 x 3-DoF powerboat simulators.
The Royal Navy Reserves (RNR) are a 3000-strong unit of men and women, trained and deployed alongside core Royal Navy personnel in many operations. One of their tasks is operating the Navy’s Pac 24 RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats), used in search and rescue, transferring stores & people, and research and reconnaissance. Training in the actual RHIB on water is problematic due to time & cost, not to mention the unpredictable weather conditions in UK offshore waters. This led the RNR team to look for a virtual, yet realistic, training solution that would prepare the coxswains for deployment on water.
Virtual training has to be realistic to be truly effective, so the project was looking for a solution that would replicate the motion of the craft in variable water conditions, as well as a habitation unit that recreates the RHIB environment that the coxswain will operate in, but with a small footprint to enable it to be used in a normal sized classroom.
Developing the Motion Base
The Navy have deployed Bohemia’s Defence Virtual Simulation (DVS) training software, and it fell on the Computer Games Enterprise Team at Portsmouth University to extract the telemetry for the marine environment. Using this data and Actuate Motion software, the team at Delta Kinetic were able to configure a motion platform setup that would best replicate this environment. This resulted in a 3 DoF platform to simulate pitch, roll & heave, which correctly emulated the motion of the RHIB when at sea.
Developing the Habitation
The brief for the habitation was for the coxswain to be seated as if in the RHIB and to operate the craft using a replica console and controls, but without the full instrument panel. The 315 kg payload of the 3-DoF Motion Base gave ample scope to design and build a robust and true-to-size seat and control configuration, comprising the steering wheel, throttle, jet bucket and back flush controls. A fixed and remote e-stop system was also implemented to give the trainer and operator a safety override.
A complete training system
Novatech, a Portsmouth based specialist IT and hardware supplier, neatly incorporated the simulator into a full training system, with Oculus Headsets and high spec gaming PCs, to provide the RNR teams with a slick training classroom in 15 different locations across the UK.
The outcome of this project has helped produce a cost-effective, first-of-its-kind portable 3-DoF RHIB platform, complete with a replica control console. The compact footprint of the simulator allows RNR members to train using realistic and challenging offshore conditions within a safe classroom environment.