Field Service Palm Springs 2020

September 29 - October 02, 2020

JW Marriott Palm Desert Resort & Spa, CA

Here's How Lockheed Martin Is Using Advanced Visualization to Train Maintenance Engineers

Brought to you by WBR Insights



The field service industry is in the midst of a talent crisis. Not only is the industry struggling to recruit the talent it needs to replace the generation now reaching retirement age, but it's also trying to find innovative new ways to facilitate skills transfer and training.

Virtual and augmented reality and other advanced visualization technologies are helping to provide the answer to this problem. The young people of the millennial and GenZ generations are naturally drawn to digital technology, meaning the use of these tools can help attract them to the industry. Additionally, these tools help people gain valuable experience in a far more effective manner than they could in a classroom.

As one of the world's biggest defense brands, Lockheed Martin understands the value of technology and is using advanced visualization tools to train the next generation of Apache Flight Line Maintainers.

Lockheed Martin

Back in June, Lockheed Martin launched its RELY3D platform, a proprietary advanced visualization and training tool designed specifically to provide maintenance engineers with all the skills they require to service the sensor systems on the Apache AH-64 attack helicopter.

Born from a suggestion by existing Lockheed Martin employees, the RELY3D platform seeks to boost maintenance efficiency by providing staff with interactive digital training content. The technology uses infrastructure presently deployed in the commercial gaming industry. The gamification of many aspects of business has become increasingly popular in recent years and the technology offers great promise in many commercial applications.

"RELY3D is an invaluable tool for our new employees who are just learning about our sensors, as well as field maintainers," said Lockheed Martin Apache Fire Control Program Director, Matt Hoffman. "With this tool, maintainers can troubleshoot and perform maintenance on the flight line, dramatically reducing cost and increasing system availability. As the industry pushes to advance training capabilities, we continue to innovate advanced technology and deliver affordable solutions for the Apache aviation community."

RELY3D reduces training time by up to 60 percent. Engineers trained using the tool can carry out maintenance and repair time significantly faster than would have been previously possible.

Using its intuitive interface on the Apache Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight and Pilotage Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) and LONGBOW® Fire Control Radar (FCR) systems, the platform places high fidelity and technically accurate 3D models into the hands of engineers via any compatible mobile tablet or laptop. This allows engineers to get real hands-on experience with the technology they'll be servicing, without having to divert real-world resources for training purposes.

RELY3D is also being developed for use on other rotary and fixed-wing aircraft sensors and weapons systems.

Advanced Visualization

The RELY3D platform is made up of four distinct interactive training modules.

"RELY3D's interactive modules provide the Apache maintenance community with features like 3-D representations of M-TADS/PNVS part data and interactive fault message inputs to support the reduction of maintenance-induced failures," says Lockheed Martin. "Utilizing off-the-shelf software and Lockheed Martin proprietary processes, RELY3D's intuitive interface places high-fidelity, technically accurate M-TADS/PNVS 3-D models into the hands of Apache maintainers via a mobile tablet or laptop."

  • A parts explorer lets engineers view a library of all the spare parts available for Apache sensors and discover their location and use within the technology
  • Removal and installation procedures use advanced visualization to show trainees how each part is accessed and removed or installed during repair or service
  • Wiring diagrams give detailed information about how connections are made
  • A built-in test matrix generation allows simulations to be run to make sure everything is working fine post-repair

Each module is language-agnostic - a brilliant advantage of advanced visualization training methods - meaning that engineers from all over the world and from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds can take advantage of the opportunities presented by the technology.

"RELY3D very obviously [and] clearly demonstrated what a visual-based training tool can do versus an electronic-based one," said Program Director for Apache M-TADS/PNVS International and Fleet Support, Mike Taylor. "The system is currently in its second version. The technology has shown the ability to provide a 50 to 70 percent proficiency increase with users and gives them the ability to pinpoint problems on a wiring diagram module rather than on a drawing, he said. The office also conducted a case study through which they saw a 60 percent efficiency increase."

Final Thoughts

Advanced visualization technology has the potential to not only make field service training more engaging and effective than ever before, but also make the industry more attractive to a younger tech-savvy generation.


Next-generation training methods are set to be a hot topic at Field Service Palm Springs 2020, taking place in April at the JW Marriott Palm Desert Resort & Spa, CA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.