Lockheed Martin Partners with KAI and Red 6 Aerospace on AR Pilot Training System

Through the partnership, Fort Worth-based Lockheed Martin Aerospace will bring the Red 6 Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System into the TF-50 aircraft and variants, which it has developed with Korea Aerospace Industries.

Fort Worth-based Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has announced a new partnership with Korea Aerospace Industries and Red 6 Aerospace to deliver “advanced 21st-century security capabilities across a spectrum of training and combat aircraft.”

Santa Monica, California-based Red 6 has developed a “revolutionary” augmented reality platform—the Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System, or ATARS (seen above)—that will be brought into the TF-50 aircraft and variants. Designed for combat flight training, ATARS gives pilots and ground operators new capabilities to see and interact with “synthetic threats in real-time, high-speed environments,” Lockheed Martin said.

“Readiness and lethality are critical if our warfighters are to prevail against peer adversaries,” Daniel Robinson, founder and CEO of Red 6, said in a statement. “Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries aircraft are ideal platforms for our Augmented Reality system. Advanced aircraft, together with ATARS technology, will deliver a paradigm shift in the quality, quantity, and cost of training future pilots,”

The AR-enhanced Red 6 system will be used in advanced TF-50 jet aircraft

Lockheed Martin TF-50 [Photo: Lockheed Martin]

The TF-50 (above) is part of a series of South Korean supersonic advanced jet trainers and light combat aircraft that’s been developed through a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries.

The new partnership with Red 6 will leverage its ATARS system, which the company calls the first wide field-of-view, full color, augmented reality solution that operates in dynamic outdoor environments. Red 6 systems “bring virtual and constructive assets into the real-world by allowing pilots and ground operators to see synthetic threats in real-time, outdoors, and critically, in high-speed environments,” the company says.

TF-50A variant has been submitted to the U.S. Air Force

Lockheed Martin says it recently submitted the TF-50A variant in response to a February 2023 request from the U.S. Air Force for information for “a two-seater aircraft to cover three near-term missions including tactical training, adversarial air support, and to serve as a tactical fighter surrogate.” The TF-50A is configured as a light attack fighter/trainer with additional enhancements to include radar, electronic warfare system, tactical data link, and other capabilities to meet Air Combat Command requirements, Lockheed Martin said.

ATARS system could find its way into other Lockheed Martin fighter jets

Initially, the Red 6 ATARS system is only being targeted for the TF-50 and variants. But Lockheed Martin says it could eventually be applied to other Lockheed Martin platforms already being operated, such as the F-16, F-22, and F-35.

“Our vision is to help our customers leverage emerging technologies to seamlessly and securely connect all assets in the joint battlespace and enable fast and decisive action,” OJ Sanchez, VP and GM, Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin, said in the statement. “Lockheed Martin has made significant advances across the board in digital engineering and open architectures during the past few years, as well as strategic partnerships. These are enabling us to accelerate development, production, upgrades, responsiveness and sustainment across our platforms.”

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