IRAS PRO – Product description
Voice communication for military and civil simulations
IRAS PRO provides a complete and simplistic communication solution focusing on your tactical training objectives for your simulation environment. You get a straightforward and intuitive communication panel for the operator and a centralized communication management setup for the instructor.
IRAS PRO is a radio simulation communication solution intended for military training simulators. It is easy to operate and yet flexible enough to let you set up complex communication plans with any combination of radio and intercom channels. It runs on standard PC equipment with standard PC headset or speakers/microphone and with no special hardware required. All communication set up is managed from a centralized instructor station and deployed to the communication stations. On the communication station the communication panels will pop up ready for use. This frees the operator to focus on the operational goals for the exercise and to utilize the communication means as provided and needed.
IRAS PRO has been designed and developed in close cooperation with Danish Defense and is deployed in simulation centers in all services ranging from a few communication stations in some installations to more than 100 communication stations in other installations.
Achieving your tactical communication goals
Communication procedures are essential in meeting your tactical training objectives. IRAS PRO is designed with this in mind, hiding away low-level radio details that do not contribute to your goals and simplifies setup and monitoring. This approach allows the communication operator to take responsibility for the compliance with the communication procedures.
The IRAS communication panel
The communication panel contains a configurable number of radio and intercom channels to be used by the operator. The operator must then choose which radio or intercom channel to use for communication as only one radio or one intercom channel can be selected for transmission at a time. The operator must also select which radio and intercom channels to listen to. Any number can be chosen here. Then, depending on the specific configuration, in order to communicate the operator must press the appropriate Push-to-Talk (PTT) button, one for radio or one for intercom communication. Pressing the radio PTT will initiate a half-duplex radio transmission that only can be received by radios with the same frequency as the transmitting radio. Pressing the intercom PTT will start a full-duplex intercom transmission receivable only by intercoms with the same intercom channel number.
The figure above shows a communication panel with three radios and two intercoms. You can see that Radio 3 is selected for radio transmission and Intercom 1 for intercom transmission, indicated by the green background of the TX labeled buttons. Currently, the radio PTT button is pressed indicated by the red border around the TX and PTT buttons.
Background keyboard operation
The communication panel can also be operated with keyboard buttons even when the panel does not have focus. This is useful in case the communication panel should be used in conjunction with for instance simulators like JCATS or Steel Beasts on the same operator station. For this purpose keyboard buttons for PTTs and change of channels can be defined. It is even possible to turn the communication panel into a minimalistic overlay on top of the other applications providing information about the selected channel and communication status and with minimal disturbance of the main application.
The figures above show the communication panel overlay with radio number, frequency and channel name; the first one showing when the channel is idle while the second one is showing the same channel receiving.
Voice communication management
Voice communication set up is managed through a centralized instructor station. From this position the instructor has a complete overview of all available communication stations in the network. Here the instructor assigns radio and intercom channels to each communication station. When the setup is ready it can be deployed over the network to the communication stations, by pressing a single button and all the operators can start communication.
The figure above shows a snippet of the set up interface for the instructor. Each row shows a communication station while the columns to the right each represent a radio or intercom channel. The radio buttons in the table show which radio or intercom channels have been assigned to which communication stations.
Once the communication setup is deployed the instructor can switch to the communication monitor to get an overview of the communication setup and activity.
The communication monitor interface shown above is organized the same way as the set up interface. The radio buttons are replaced by frequency text fields. The green border shows that the channel is selected for listening only. A blue border indicates that the channel is selected for both transmitting and listening while a red border indicates transmitting only. A grey background indicates that the channel is neither selected for transmitting nor listening. During transmission the white text fields will change color; a red background for transmitting channel and a green background for receiving channels.
Interoperability and standards
IRAS PRO is a complete communication solution using the DIS (Distributed Interactive Simulation) protocol for the communication, no other system is needed. With an appropriate RTI (Run-time Infrastructure), IRAS PRO can also be used in an HLA (High Level Architecture) environment. The use of these standards means that interoperability with other simulation systems is possible. For IRAS PRO it means that communication will be possible between IRAS PRO communication stations and third party voice communications stations complying with the same standard.
The following standards are supported:
- DIS version 4, 5, 6 and 7
- HLA 1516-2010 (Evolved)
- HLA 1516-2000
- HLA 1.3
- RPR 2.0 (draft 17)
- Pitch and Mäk RTI's
Technical system description
The IRAS PRO system consists of a number of software components installed by a single installer. The central component IRASComm is a service responsible for networking and sound card management and is installed on all communication stations. In addition to the DIS or HLA networking the service communicates with other communication stations by an internal protocol. The communication panel IRASCommPanel is installed alongside the IRASComm service and exchanges information with the IRASComm service. For the voice communication management the IRASInstructor component is installed on the centralized instructor station. This component does not include voice communication, so in case voice communication is needed at the instructor station the IRASCommPanel and IRASComm should be installed as well.
IRAS PRO runs on standard PC with monitor or touchscreen, keyboard and mouse. For communication you need a headset or speakers and microphone. Finally, a Ethernet LAN (Local Area Network) which is either broadcast or multicast enabled must be available.
IRAS PRO is available as installer executables for Windows and Linux. All IRAS software uses the CodeMeter system by WIBU Systems for licensing. If a CodeMeter Stick is present for other software, like Steel Beasts, the same CodeMeter Stick can also be used for the IRAS software.