by Richard Sheffield
As good as the AH-64A CMS is, the Army and Singer/Link believe that they can make it better. One area where a lot of work is currently being done is in the ground texture and contours display. The current system uses software to create a checkerboard-type grid over the ground to give the pilot some sense of altitude and contour. These grids, however, are 50 × 50–foot squares and as the pilot flies closer to the ground, only one or two grids can be seen. This reduces the pilot's ability to fly NOE maneuvers. Using Hardware to produce the ground textures will free up processing capability and allow for much greater detail in the display. Textures ranging from water surfaces to waving wheat fields to plowed fields can be created using the hardware system soon to be installed.
Pychological testing can also be performed with the CMS. Crews can be stressed to their limits to see how they react. Crew members can also be tested together to maximize compatibility. Combat is not a good place to learn that you and your partner don't get along when under stress.
Other changes to be made include the addition of air-to-air combat (currently not available). Hind-D helicopters can be targets but cannot shoot back. Another exciting future project is the use of high-resolution military satellite photography to create a simulation database based on real locations anywhere in the world. With this system, pilots will be able to practice in the simulator over the actual terrain in which they might have to fight in Europe or the Middle East.
Figure 12-2. The Pilot and Copilot/Gunner Simulators Being Operated Together