Lockheed Martin Prepar3D

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Prepar3D is a simulation platform developed by Lockheed Martin. Offered for professional or academic purposes, the software allows users to create educational scenarios in the air, sea and on the ground. A development kit accompanies the software for scenario, landscape and vehicle model customization. Prepar3D is available to the public through the Prepar3D website. An Academic License is also available for students from kindergarten through undergraduate levels.


In 2009, Lockheed Martin announced that they had negotiated with Microsoft to purchase the intellectual property (including source code) for the Microsoft ESP product. Microsoft ESP is the commercial-use version of "Flight Simulator X SP2". On May 17, 2010,[1] Lockheed announced that the new product based upon the ESP source code would be called "Prepar3D" (pronounced "Prepared"). Lockheed has hired members of the original ACES Studios team to continue development of the product. Most Flight Simulator X addons work in Prepar3D without any adjustment because Prepar3D is kept backward compatible.

Latest developments[edit]

In March 2012, along with the release of version 1.3, the pricing strategy was revised. The Professional edition is now available for $199, with an Academic License available for $49.95. In August 2012, version 1.4 was released. Version 1.4 added a performance update and fixed certain bugs. Next to this, Prepar3D became an AMD Eyefinity Gold[2] certified product. This will allow Prepar3D users to use up to 6 monitors when using certain AMD graphics cards. Lastly, Lockheed Martin added the Mooney Acclaim and the T-6 Texan aircraft to be used out of the box.

Version 2.0 became available in November 2013,[3] adding a design that distributes the computing workload over the multiple cores of the processor as well as the graphics processing unit (GPU). FSX, having been coded more than 8 years earlier, was not designed with the idea of multiple core processors being the prevailing CPU architecture. This release also introduced DirectX 11 support, which gave the possibility of lifelike shadows, such as realistic cockpit shadows (shadows that occur when objects surrounding the cockpit block the light from light sources), gave the ability to introduce volumetric fog, and helped more modern GPUs achieve better framerate. Lockeed Martin released version 2.1 on February 11, 2014, listing 115 improvement, bug fixes, and new features on their website.[4] On March 24, Lockeed Martin previewed their next release: version 2.2, saying in a news release the update would fix some out of memory errors and a "cloud shadows feature."[5] Lockeed Martin issued the final release of version 2.2 on April 7, 2014 also including a redesigned video recorder and playback system along with built-in radar support for third-party developers, several other new features and 16 other resolved bugs.[6]

Version history[edit]

  • Version 1.0 was released in November 2010[7]
  • Version 1.1 was released in April 2011[8]
  • Version 1.2 was released in September 2011[9]
  • Version 1.3 was released in March 2012[10]
  • Version 1.4 was released in August 2012[11]
  • Version 2.0 was released in November 2013[3]
  • Version 2.1 was released in February 2014[4]
  • Version 2.2 was released in April 2014[6]
  • Version 2.3 was released in August 2014[12]
  • Version 2.4 was released in September 2014[13]
  • Version 2.5 was released in February 2015[14]


  • DirectX 11 rendering engine that can take advantage of modern day graphics cards
  • SimDirector – a modern training scenario generation tool suite
  • Living world with 24,900 airports, including 45 airports in high resolution and 40 high resolution cities
  • Environments includes highway, air and maritime vehicles and traffic as well as livestock and wild animals
  • Customizable, data driven graphics and models
  • Whole earth WGS-84 model
  • Accurate topography with regionally and culturally appropriate textures
  • Modifiable real-time weather system, continuous time of day, seasons and a variety of lighting effects
  • Realistic air traffic control
  • Expandable library of vehicle models


  • Academic License
  • Professional License
  • Professional Plus License

Developer Licenses[edit]

  • Professional Developer License
  • Pro Plus Developer License

Differences with Microsoft Flight Simulator X[edit]

  • Blurries (land textures that are of low quality because the sim has not yet loaded a better version yet) are greatly reduced because Prepar3d actually uses multiple cores for rendering ground texture instead of just one (this can be seen in processor usage)
  • Higher quality graphics – Users will experience higher quality graphics such as more realistic rainy or snowy weather with the modernized shader model 3.0. Also offered for higher quality graphics are increased texture limits which can be set as high as 4096 x 4096.
  • New user interface – Users now have a Windows 7 compatible drag n’ drop interface with customizable settings. Quickly create and save your favorite missions.
  • Multiple monitor settings saved – Users can quickly save panel and scenery window locations across multiple monitors with flight files. Prepar3D remembers the settings upon restarting a flight and restarting Prepar3D.
  • Internet multi-player capability – Users across the globe can collaborate with others within the Prepar3D environment to train for their missions or tasks.
  • Multi-channel capability – Users can harness the power of this new feature to operate Prepar3D with multiple computers creating a more expansive viewing capability all the way up to 360 degrees field of view.
  • Sensor camera options – Users can experience night vision and infrared sensor camera options to enhance military mission or night flying training.
  • Realistic scenery – Millions of square miles of the earth have been checked and upgraded to accurately represent the urban environment. High resolution content added for specific locations.
  • Underwater environments – Users can take their simulation experience underwater with submarines and the U.S. Geological Survey’s coastal bathymetry.
  • Enhanced developer toolset – Developers can use the Prepar3D environment to create new training solutions for the most modern platforms. To aid in rapid development, Prepar3D is now compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8 along with Visual Studio 2010; it offers a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) user interface, an external simulator capability that provides enhanced control of the simulation code, new code samples updated in the Software Development Kit (SDK) documentation and support for the latest 3Dstudiomax tools. Developers can also create a richer user experience with higher resolution terrain by taking advantage of the increased texture limits.

Aircraft included[edit]

List of aircraft as per version 2.5:[16]

Other vehicles included[edit]

  • Neptune Submersible (Submarine)

Improved airfields[edit]

Third party support[edit]

  • ORBX sceneries (licenses) can be ported for free [17]

Other Developers[edit]


  1. ^ "Lockheed Martin Announces Prepar3D". 
  2. ^ "AMD Eyefinity information". 
  3. ^ a b "Performing at New Heights – Introducing the all new Prepar3D v2". Prepar3D News (Lockheed Martin Corporation). Nov 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Prepar3D v2.1 Cleared for Landing". Prepar3D News (Lockheed Martin). Feb 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ Bard, Wesley (March 24, 2014). "Prepar3D v2.2 Developer Blog". Prepar3D News (Lockeed Martin). Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Prepar3D v2.2 Breaks Through – Now Available for Download". Prepar3d.com. 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  7. ^ "Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D® Launches Nov. 1 – Lockheed Martin". Prepar3D. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  8. ^ http://www.prepar3d.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Release_Notes_for_Prepar3D_1.1.pdf
  9. ^ "1.2® Now Available! – Lockheed Martin". Prepar3D. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  10. ^ "1.3 Release announcement". Prepar3d.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  11. ^ "1.4 Release announcement". Prepar3d.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  12. ^ "Prepar3D v2.3 Update Now Available". Prepar3d.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  13. ^ "Prepar3D v2.4 Update Now Available". Prepar3d.com. Retrieved 2014-09-29. 
  14. ^ "Prepar3D v2.5 Update Now Available". Prepar3d.com. Retrieved 2015-02-10. 
  15. ^ "License Comparison". Prepar3d. Lockheed Martin. 
  16. ^ List of aircraft as per version 1.2[dead link]
  17. ^ "Orbx makes SBSLs FREE, announces FREE P3D Migrator Tool - Press Releases - Mutley's Hangar Forums". Forum.mutleyshangar.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01.