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Virtual Heroes acquisition

Maker of Unreal Engine 3-powered training simulations bought by Applied Research Associates.


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (April 16, 2009) – Applied Research Associates, Inc. ( announced it has acquired Virtual Heroes, Inc. Virtual Heroes is a privately held company that creates Advanced Learning Technology solutions for the healthcare, federal systems and commercial markets. Advanced Learning Technologies leverage simulations for learning, serious games and virtual worlds to accelerate learning, increase proficiency and reduce training costs for next generation workforce development. As a global market leader in this field, Virtual Heroes develops applications that facilitate highly interactive, self-paced learning and instructor-led, distributed team training on the Virtual Heroes Advanced Learning Technology (A.L.T.) Platform using the Unreal® Engine 3 by Epic Games.

Founded in Albuquerque, NM in 1979, ARA is an employee-owned company of more than 1,200 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. ARA’s collective staff possesses a broad range of technical expertise in defense and aerospace, homeland safety and security, and transportation technologies.

“Bringing Virtual Heroes’ technical and creative capabilities into ARA represents a solid strategic fit for our business and opens the door to many new opportunities for the combined organization,” said Neil Higgins, CEO of ARA. "ARA will invest in and further mature the Virtual Heroes Advanced Learning Technology (A.L.T.) Platform and Virtual Heroes HumanSim™ technology for medical training and education. This investment will enable us to provide a broader array of solutions and services to our expanding customer base in the rapidly growing training and simulation market.”

Since its inception in 2004, Virtual Heroes’ many accomplishments include work on America’s Army®, Pamoja Mtaani™, Hilton Ultimate Team Play™, VirtualPeace™.org, 3DiTeams™, Zero Hour: America’s Medic™ and the upcoming official NASA game: Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond™.

Virtual Heroes’ employees and software products will remain based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. and become fully integrated into ARA’s Systems and Operations Sector as the ‘Virtual Heroes’ Division of ARA. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"We are thrilled to join the world-class team at ARA and look forward to leveraging a wide array of capabilities, developing new products, and achieving our goal of being the global leader in Advanced Learning Technologies,” said Jerry Heneghan, Founder & CEO of Virtual Heroes Inc., now Managing Director of the Virtual Heroes Division of ARA. “Both ARA and Virtual Heroes are expert integrators of complex engineering software solutions and we share a common culture of responsiveness and excellence – we think this is definitely a win-win for both companies.”

About Applied Research Associates

Applied Research Associates, Inc. is an international research and engineering company recognized for providing innovative technical solutions to complex and challenging problems that are making our world safer, more secure and a difference in our daily lives. The company was founded in Albuquerque, NM, in 1979. ARA has offices throughout the United States and one in Canada and provides a broad range of technical expertise in defense and aerospace technologies, civil technologies, computer software and simulation, systems analysis, environmental technologies, and testing and measurement. ARA also provides sophisticated technical products for environmental site characterization, pavement analysis, and specialized robotic vehicles. For more information, contact ARA by calling 919-582-3300, email:, or visit and

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