In November 2010, Lockheed Martin debuted Prepar3D version 1, based on Microsoft® ESP™ technology, as a training application for educational, civil, military, and aviation professionals. Prepar3D v1.1 not only brought users increased functionality but also included the addition of features that supported Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Qualification, new platforms and several modernization upgrades and performance improvements. New features in version 1.1 included enhancements to the user experience, as well as several additions to and enhancements to SimConnect for developers.
Throughout 2011 and 2012, Prepar3D versions 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 were released. These releases offered users full Windows 7 support in addition to several enhancements and new features. The Mooney Acclaim from Lionheart Creations was added to the included vehicles. Prepar3D was also certified AMD Eyefinity Gold, supporting up to six simultaneous displays off a single graphics card for a panoramic training experience. In addition, Lockheed Martin released an academic version of Prepar3D to immerse students in hands-on learning and problem solving. In Prepar3D, students can see the effects of their decisions in real time, experiment with challenges at varied levels and collaborate with other students from around the globe to solve real-life problems.
In November 2013, Lockheed Martin released Prepar3D v2. An all new release that fully revolutionized the rendering engine, the mission creation process, as well as the software development kit. Prepar3D v2 also introduced a Professional Plus license of Prepar3D for serious training. With this release, Prepar3D is brought into the future and able to take advantage of modern day graphics cards to increase simulation performance and visual fidelity and immersion for learning and training. This release also added four new air vehicles to the Prepar3D library, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor from IRIS Flight Simulation Software, the Lockheed Martin F-35A from Dino Cattaneo and the India India Alpha Foxtrot Echo team, the Beechcraft Bonanza A-36 from Carenado, and the Extra 300s from Alabeo.
Throughout 2014 and 2015, Prepar3D released five version updates to the v2 license, adding countless features, while optimizing the software for the best performance. One of the features that was added is the Flight Instructor mode, an interactive tool that makes it easier than ever to rapidly create graded flight segments so that instructors and trainees can create, grade, and debrief flight segments and flying maneuvers in real-time. There were many v2 improvements that helped stabilize the software, add new capabilities, and provide our users with the best possible experience.
On September 30, 2015, Prepar3D v3 was released. Prepar3D v3 further simplified training scenario creation with major updates to SimDirector, the industry leading simulation courseware creation tool. Prepar3D v3 also welcomes enriched training capabilities by incorporating Autodesk® Scaleform® support, which improves the user interface and expands gauge and panel training capabilities. The new release also features a new avatar mode that enables users to exit their vehicle and experience the simulated environment in the first or third person for increased realism and situational awareness.
Continuing in 2015 and 2016, Lockheed Martin continued to release updates to the v3 platform. Major additions included a new instructor operator capability (SimOperator), the reintroduction of an improved multichannel capability, improved control processing, Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) integration, new touchscreen gesture support, and native Virtual Reality support for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
On May 30, 2017, Prepar3D v4 was released. Prepar3D v4 completely changed the simulation landscape with a comprehensive baseline update to a 64-bit architecture. Higher resolution visuals, more objects, increased data precision, larger scenarios, and improved performance were made possible at levels never seen before in the product’s history. Additionally, the release included a new dynamic lighting system, rain/snow particles, global 3D trees and vegetation, a fully reworked software development kit (SDK), new default vehicles, and countless core improvements.
Prepar3D v5, the first step in the development of an all new platform built for next generation simulation and training, was released on April 14, 2020. With the introduction of an all new DirectX 12 rendering engine that brings increased performance by harnessing the latest graphics technologies, this release is a foundational cornerstone for bringing new capabilities and features to solve tomorrow’s training needs. Prepar3D v5 provides enhanced weather and water visuals with the integration on Simul trueSKY and NVIDIA WaveWorks 2.0. In addition, the entire globe was updated to improve terrain, landclass, mesh elevation, and shorelines. More than 24,000 airports were reviewed and updated to ensure accuracy while the ability to slope airports was added to the SDK.
Prepar3D v6 was released on July 3, 2023 furthering advancements to the DirectX 12 rendering engine and core simulation which greatly improve training fidelity and realism. The addition of physically based camera systems with expanded global lighting capabilities provides a realistic world for the backdrop for any training scenario. The addition of advanced rendering capabilities including screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) and temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) enhances details on every object. The atmospherics system was built from the ground up to improve the fidelity and simulation of volumetric clouds with the addition of other advanced environmental features including atmospheric scattering and precipitation accumulation. The entire globe was updated with new data spanning across airports, cities, building placements, bridges, land classes, and more. Airports were also updated to include new detailed lighting and surface models. Additionally, automatic updates and patch support have streamlined the update and installation process.