Development of a virtual environment for catapult launch officers
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Aircraft carriers are the centerpiece of the United States Navy. The primary weapon system of the aircraft carrier is the attached airwing and the combat power provided by its various aircraft. The airwing is only effective while airborne and thus dependent on the skill and training of a small number of launch officers known as shooters. Shooter training is accomplished on-the-job and often requires the launch officers to go underway on different aircraft carriers, at the expense of their parent command, in order to complete their qualifications. This thesis addresses the lack of alternative environments available for shooters to hone their skills. The results of a job task analysis provide insight into the skills required to perform the duties of a launch officer. Analysis of the data gathered from the job task analysis produced a flowchart that can be represented as a finite state machine and then reproduced in a virtual environment. A virtual environment was then created utilizing current virtual reality hardware and software to faithfully re-create an environment that presented the required attributes and scenarios to accomplish the tasks of a launch officer. This thesis yields a low-cost, portable, and safe alternative environment for shooters to perform the skills required for their training.
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