Rob Hawketts Vice President, Government Services Asia Pacific KBR holding the lastest technology to help train defence personnel on the F35. Photo: Jay Cronan
How do defence engineers get familiar with one of Australia's most ambitious and expensive defence projects without getting in the hanger with it? Virtual reality.
Engineering company KBR's Canberra branch has developed a detailed virtual reality program allowing operators and engineers to engage with the F35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Users don the VR headset and are able to interact with the fighter, sitting inside the canopy or literally ducking down to get a better view of the landing gears.
General manager training solutions Michael Hardy said while KBR had been involved with training coursework since 2005, the VR component had been developed in Canberra in under a month.
A virtual rendering of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter from KBR's Canberra branch. Software engineers have created a virtual reality simulation allowing mechanics and engineers to view and work on the JSF without actually touching. Photo: Supplied / KBR
The software would allow mechanics and engineers to walk around the aircraft, see cross sections, see components in an exploded view and even use virtual tools without having to worry about damaging the JSF.
"With these things, what we're looking at is a job ready workforce," Mr Hardy said.
"The real advantage of that is it's safe, it's repeatable, it's recordable, [...] you can replay it."
"We were demonstrating this capability [to defence personnel] and they were really excited."
KBR had recently mapped a new fluoride treatment plant for Melbourne Water at $20,000, allowing engineers to 'walk inside' the plant before it had been built.
Melbourne Water said the VR walk through had identified several key changes required helping create a safer environment for the operations crew.
KBR Asia Pacific vice president of government services Rob Hawketts said they were interested in developing similar software for Canberra's light rail network allowing engineers and drivers to use the network and see how it would work in Canberra.
Mr Hardy also said the virtual platform could potentially allow ActewAGL or the Road Traffic Authority to interact virtually with the light rail track network.
ACT senator Zed Seselja said KBR's project with defence and the potential for future projects helped create jobs in the Canberra region.
"They demonstrate the best of Australian defence industry innovation, securing jobs in Australia but more importantly in our region," Mr Seselja said.