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Image Generation System for AV-8B Harrier Night Attack Simulator Visual Upgrade Program Sets the Industry Standard for Realism


MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (Nov. 30, 1999) — SGI (NYSE: SGI) today announced their participation with Aechelon Technology to deliver a new 360-degree full-view image generation system for the U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II jet simulator. The SGI/Aechelon image generator provides unprecedented levels of realism for simulated mission rehearsal and training.
Indra Sistemas, S.A., prime contractor for the Visual Upgrade Program, awarded Aechelon Technology Option I of the USMC AV-8B Visual Upgrade Program in a re-compete of a contract that had been previously awarded to another image generator supplier. Aechelon Technologies won the new contract using a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), turn-key image generation system developed by Aechelon and based on SGI’s Silicon Graphics® Onyx2® workstation for supercomputing and Aechelon’s C-NovaTM and C-RadiantTM software products.

“With the new AV-8B simulator, Aechelon and SGI have again proven that the defense community can utilize cost-effective, commercially available products and get superior visualization and simulation training solutions,” stated Drew Henry, vice president and general manager, Visual Solutions Business Unit, SGI.

Using a 24-processor Onyx2 system with eight InfiniteReality2TM graphics subsystems – six for the Out-The-Window (OTW) display and two for sensor/weapons channels — the new image generation system for the AV-8B simulator is the most powerful, photo-realistic image generator available on the market today, updating all high resolution (1600 x 1280 OTW) channels at a fixed 60Hz frame rate.

The AV-8B image generator offers additional breakthrough performances as the first immersive jet simulator to provide 100 percent image correlation at the texel level for Radar, Night Vision Goggles (NVG), Forward-Looking InfraRed (FLIR) and Out-The-Window views, and sets a new benchmark with the use of an extremely large imagery database of geo-specific, photo-derived images for an area in excess of 1,000,000 square kilometers.

The Camber Radar ToolkitTM software directly imports data from the sensor database ensuring absolute correlation and no loss of fidelity.

In addition to superior performance, the typical 24-month production cycle for a visual system was reduced by more than 50 percent. SGI and Aechelon gained preliminary acceptance for the system in less than six months’ time. In addition, the completed AV-8B simulator is expected to be delivered less than one year from contract award.

“Using off-the-shelf hardware such as the Onyx2 system enabled us to deliver the new image generation system in record time, thus making a valuable training asset available to the U.S. Marines,” said John Quinn, chief executive officer, Aechelon Technology.

The AV-8B simulator is used for tactics training for pilots of the Advanced AV-8B Harrier Night Attack Aircraft, a second-generation vertical / short take-off and landing (V/STOL) light attack jet aircraft. The AV-8B simulator is a responsive, flexible, and dispersable light attack aircraft capable of being operated and supported from air-capable ships and/or ashore in support of Marine and Naval operations.

About Silicon Graphics Onyx2

Silicon Graphics Onyx2 workstation, with its high-bandwidth ccNUMA architecture, combines supercomputing and visualization technologies to process 3D graphics, 2D imaging and video data in real time. For simulation-based mission rehearsal and training applications, Onyx2 supports interactive, immersive visualization for continuous, real-time traversal of geo-specific terrain.

About C-NOVA

C-NOVA is Aechelon Technology’s modular software solution for geospecific image generation for Out-The-Window (OTW) training and mission rehearsal visual simulation. It supports real world databases based on high resolution satellite imagery, aerial photography and elevation data. C-Radiant is a physics-based multi-sensor simulation solution that can be used stand-alone or with C-Nova and/or major radar processors for ensuring OTW/sensor correlation per pixel. Together, the two integrated products produce fully correlated sensor and OTW Geo-specific databases.

SGI provides a broad range of high-performance computing and advanced graphics solutions that enable customers to understand and conquer their toughest computing problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices worldwide, the company is located on the Web at

Aechelon Technology, headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is a leader in real time computer graphic projects and applications in training, simulation and entertainment markets. Aechelon Technology is a supplier of COTS-based, geo-specific image generators, OTW and correlated sensor databases and integration services.

Silicon Graphics and Onyx2 are registered trademarks, and SGI, the SGI logo and Infinite Reality 2 are trademarks of Silicon Graphics, Inc. C-Nova and C-Radiant are trademarks of Aechelon Technology. Camber Radar Toolkit is a trademark of Camber Corporation. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

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