Conflicts unfold at an unprecedented rate and things can change in days if not hours, the amount of data available is overwhelming in both volume and complexity. We need new tools to make sense of it all. This is against a backdrop of rising costs and financial pressures, and so there is a premium on making the most of precious resources. The war in Ukraine has demonstrated that our adversaries advanced technologies and use novel tactics. We need to integrate our responses across every domain and adapt in real-time. This calls for a transformation in the way armed forces train, prepare and plan.
Modeling is the process of representing a model (e.g., physical, mathematical, or logical representation of a system, entity, phenomenon, or process) which includes its construction and working. This model is similar to a real system, which helps the analyst predict the effect of changes to the system. Simulation of a system is the operation of a model in terms of time or space, which helps analyze the performance of an existing or a proposed system. Modeling and simulation (M&S) is the use of models as a basis for simulations to develop data utilized for managerial or technical decision-making.
In military domain, Modeling and simulation have been primarily developed and applied in the areas of Defense planning; development, engineering and acquisition of systems; training and exercises and operational planning. It contributes to saving lives, saving time and money and preparing the warfighter better, faster and cheaper.
NATO Military Modeling and Simulation
Modelling and Simulation (M&S) as a key enabler for the delivery of capabilities to NATO and Nations in the domains of training, analysis and decision-making. To a great extent, future military training capabilities will be provided by simulation systems (either standalone or via distributed simulation environments). NATO has set out a new framework document Version 2.0 detailing how M&S activities might be used to reach its global strategic vision.
According to NATO, It has three main application areas – support to Current and Future operations, capability development and procurement.
“Support to operations includes education, training and exercising, operational planning, operational rehearsal, and analysis and decision-making support,” says Francisco Gomez-Ramos, head of the NATO M&S Coordination Office.
The realistic testing of live equipment in an operational environment can be some of the most expensive parts of a development program. M&S can provide insight into mission success of yet to-be designed systems without the need to actually build and test the system in the real world.
For military advanced, technology-based simulation, along with mission rehearsal exercises using combat radios and other devices, real and simulated, giving warfighters the opportunity to use those technologies, often for the first time, in a combat scenario. Simulation training and deployable mission rehearsal are becoming increasingly important and valuable parts of military readiness, enabling effective training on difficult and complex scenarios, especially when using new and advanced equipment.
“The flexibility of procedural training systems allows students to become proficient in a wider range of emergency and hazardous scenarios that would be impractical or dangerous to train under real conditions. We believe the use of simulation training will become more and more central to the training of military personnel and, as technology continues to evolve, the gap in fidelity between the simulation and reality will continue to close,” predicts Ian Cox, head of training and simulation at Systems Engineering & Assessment Ltd. (SEA) in Beckington, England.
M&S assets are also being used to support capability development processes, studying how emerging technologies and new concepts may affect the battlefield. Capability development means fostering continuous improvement of military capabilities to enhance the interoperability and effectiveness of NATO and nations, and helping to detect interoperability gaps before implementation in actual operations.
“We must keep in mind that forces that operate together need to train and exercise together, and the current context requires additional training that is also cleaner, safer and cheaper,” says Gomez-Ramos. “In my opinion, this is one of the more attractive aspects of the expected future increase in the use of M&S assets in NATO.”
“Procurement means supporting the complete life-cycle management of assets and systems, including design risk reduction, test and evaluation. It can also facilitate appropriate allocation of resources and optimal management,” says Gomez-Ramos.
He sees a broad movement away from individual simulation platforms and towards more complex distributed systems that facilitate collective training or mission preparation. This means that, where training was once strategic and abstract, today it is practical and mission-focused.
As the technology continues to advance, simulations are becoming increasingly realistic, leaving less to the imagination and more to what’s on the screen.”Honestly, I think the technology will help us all to reach our ambitions and discover the potentialities of M&S systems in helping NATO forces to reach their objectives,” said Gomez-Ramos.
M&S Concept Development & Experimentation (CD&E) and Military Experimentation
The objective of CD&E is “To develop & to validate possible, feasible, useful and innovative solutions which able to cover the gaps in the organization. They will have to be established following a methodological way and generating a set of processes with the aim to control and to guarantee the reaching of the objectives as they were initially defined”
“The main objective of (Military) Experimentation is to validate in a Low Cost Environment the new concepts, doctrines, procedures, guidelines, reaction mechanisms, … needed to face future threats, to mitigate them or to obtain new and/or better capabilities, before they are definitively implemented” It allows understanding future scenarios and their associated problems. It is an innovative tool which permits adaptation to continuum changes. It allows increasing the reliability in the likelihood and convenience of possible solutions.
CD&E Process has stage of initial prospective for the identification of threats and future scenarios, stage of experimentation, in which hypotheses are established and are evaluated using tools such as modelization, simulation, tests and trials in technological laboratories, and finally Implementation of a general solution encompassing the complete spectrum MIHTDLS (M – ateriel, I – nfraestructure, H – uman Resources, T – raining & Education, D – octrine, S – tructure & L-ogistics ). It will be the answer to the identified need/threat.
Modeling and Simulation trends
Simulation is used from powerful desktops running six-degree of freedom, full-motion dome flight simulator, which gives new and veteran pilots the feel, visuals and real hardware of a combat aircraft in flight to fully networked systems simulating actual aircraft flying over a training range, offering the most intense and comprehensive ground-based training and mission-rehearsal environments. There are drawbacks, however. The domes are huge, meaning they have to be housed permanently at specific bases. They also are expensive, complex, and require a high level of maintenance oversight and work — sometimes more than the aircraft they simulate. Accordingly, the main challenges regarding the use of M&S are to provide operational solutions faster and better; and to enable a more efficient development, usage and maintenance of M&S solutions.
While AI and data science have been drivers of many recent advancements in digital technology, we see simulation as a third member of this set. All three disciplines depend on each other for progress. For example, the combination of increasing amounts of data, more capable data science techniques, and a range of machine learning techniques is offering opportunities to construct faster and more realistic simulations, able to combine observed real-life behaviour with expert judgement.
Equally, simulations are playing a crucial role in training AI. These three disciplines also come together through digital twin technology and where AI and machine learning are used to dramatically accelerate scenario exploration, planning and optimisation.
“Similarly, M&S tools can evaluate human effectiveness under various scenarios while only risking the virtual lives of avatars. When properly applied, M&S capabilities provide critical insight that allows leaders to make smart decisions about how to accomplish the mission and increase human performance more quickly and at lower cost and risk than reliance on real-world testing,” write Scott D. Snyder and James M. Taylor, Jr.of University of Nebraska.
Modeling and Simulation initiatives
“In different ways, all three [government, industry, academia] are driving portions of this transformation, almost a renaissance,” says Isaac Zaworski, CEO of 3D . “The government side has some of the very large service models looking at how training and mission rehearsal are conducted, focusing on leveraging commercial technologies to provide timelines that allow soldiers to train more frequently and connect the dots between synthetic environments and simulation to train like they fight. That has traditionally been cost prohibitive or the tech just wasn’t there.
To integrate capabilities ranging from rail guns and high-energy lasers to big data and artificial intelligence and robotics, however, the joint force needs to usher in a new era of conceptual experimentation. USAF is establishing a new office for capability development that would test the feasibility of technologies like directed energy weapons and hypersonic platforms using tools such as war gaming, modeling and simulation and prototypes.
Dr. James Kirsch, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate director, spoke at the 2019 AlaSim Conference in Huntsville Oct. 24, on the topic, “You’re Not Alone on the Battlefield: Assessing Multi-Domain Operations Using Live, Virtual and Constructive Simulations.” Kirsch briefed attendees on the ways modeling and simulation benefits the Army and Warfighter today, as well as its importance in the future. Kirsch noted the need for integrated live, virtual and constructive simulations, which would give users the ability to play systems together as well as to play pieces of systems together. The end result would influence how the Department of Defense invests in science and technology, as well as provide tools to combatant commanders to use in their experimentation. “The way we operate is changing, and so on the technology side we have to change with it and do things in a different way,” Kirsch said. “Modeling and simulation is going to be how we enable the Army to do that, and how we enable the Army to play different capabilities, new capabilities, new ideas or maybe just combinations of things we haven’t tried before.”
“With advances in commercial technology and remote sensing in the geospatial community, you can achieve that mission today. You have a confluence of advances with what is coming out of the computing world — large scale processing, cloud computing, gaming world 3D rendering, on top of the image generators,” Zaworski says. “That combination is driving a massive amount of innovation in a very short time. On the academic side, you have organizations such as the University of Southern California bridging the gap between government and industry on technologies being developed for mission rehearsal, for example. Those require real-world accuracy unique to that community.”
M&S role is further enhanced as a consequence of limited or decreasing budgets, restrictions due to security and safety regulations, and shorter response times as well as increasingly faster changing mission profiles and operational needs. As the future Warfare is becoming increasingly complex and distributed, involving actions across multiple domains — land, air, sea, space, and cyber — by multiple military services, at times simultaneously, the role of Modelling and Simulation becomes more important to enhance and transform both systems development and training. It allows representation of increasingly complex equipment, systems and scenarios for the purposes of decision support and helps to reduce wear on live equipment and on test and training areas. Training has required cutting edge technologies to ensure warfighters not only receive training on new weapons and technologies in the continental U.S., but also training that is mobile enough to accompany them on deployment.
M&S Approaches for Aircraft Survivability testing
After microenvironments in laboratories and costly flight test events, the third option for aircraft survivability testers is the M&S approach. More recently, with the help of advanced computer processing power, modeling and simulation (M&S) has begun to play a larger role in aircraft survivability test approaches by allowing mathematical approximations to examine survivability characteristics in ways not possible in traditional laboratory, ground, and flight test (and often at a fraction of the cost).
“Using modern computing power, we are able to simulate an operational environment with extreme precision. We are capable of emulating a realistic environment by using random number generators to provide distributions of performance, red and blue system data, and mathematical algorithms proven to reflect actual performance through rigorous analysis and comparisons between M&S results and flight testing, ” writes CPT Maxim Olivine, Director of Engineering for the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center. These scenarios include the system under test and other blue forces executing operational mission actions in the presence of integrated air defense systems that are representative of threats the system will encounter in combat around the world.
From an engineering perspective, one of the key aspects of improving survivability in the radio frequency (RF) domain can be described as the act of minimizing the RF signature of an aircraft, also known as the radar cross section (RCS). A smaller, “stealthier” RCS improves aircraft survivability by making the platform not able to be detected easily or consistently by enemy integrated air defense systems (including RF early warning, target acquisition, and target tracking radars), especially at longer ranges.
The proposed solution is to blueprint a design for a portable, easy-to-use, one-stop-shop software suite that packs all of the tools necessary to simulate or model any aircraft in any survivability scenario—almost like having a Microsoft Office-like toolkit for M&S. The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) is one of the major drivers of such a universal platform—namely, the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE), a government-owned M&S battlespace setting that is undergoing initial phases of development at the Naval Air Systems Command in support of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. The JSE is being developed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, and future expansion will be to an M&S campus at the Virtual Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, NV.
Currently, the JSE is being built to support a man-in-the-loop, multisecurity caveats operational test of the F-35. However, the system’s modular capabilities should allow for future integration of fifth-generation platforms—namely, the F-22 Raptor, the B-2 Spirit, and the B-21 Raider. Ultimately, the environment should allow for integration of most DoD air systems, including command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, as well as fourth-generation platforms (F-16s, F-15s, B-1s, etc.). What the JSE is intended to provide is a universal, real-time, effects-based environment where any test team can bring an operational flight program (OFP) cockpit representation of its system to test with other blue assets in operationally representative threat environments.
Virtual Battlespace (VBS) for realistic, interactive simulations
Then there’s augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to consider. At present, engineers visualise their simulated designs on 2D screens, but with the acceleration and accessibility of VR and AR technology they will soon be visualising their designs in a 3D environment on a AR/VR headset such as in the Oculus portfolio. Data will be easier to evaluate and designs will be simpler to understand, edit and test, leading to a leaner, more effective process.
Virtual reality is defined as a simulated 3D environment that the user or users can interact with in all senses. This is achieved using sensors in helmets, gloves and vests. According to a study done by digi-capital virtual reality is expected to “hit $150B revenue by 2020”.Military is widely using packages like Virtual Battlespace (VBS) that allow individuals to engage in realistic, interactive simulations. VBS3, short for Virtual Battlespace 3, is the third major version of the Virtual Battlespace software series, developed by Bohemia Interactive Simulations. It is a desktop tactical trainer and mission rehearsal software system. The software is primarily used for tactical training and mission rehearsal, though VBS3 can be used for a wide range of training tasks.
The U.S. Army has accredited VBS3 for training on more than 100 combined arms tasks. These tasks include entering and clearing a building, conducting an attack, conducting convoy security and more. The U.S. Army also is incorporating VBS3 into other simulators including its Close Combat Tactical Trainer simulator and Dismounted Soldier Training System.
Military’s M&S technology requirements
Modern advanced combat simulation and mission rehearsal has been driven by rapid advances throughout the last century, especially in computing speed and capabilities, improved real-time sensor data, significantly improved and individualized communications, long-range intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
“The first headsets came out eight years ago, but in the past year have reached a level of resolution where they can seriously replace the visual system on many trainers,” says Phil Perey, head of technology at CAE Defence & Security in Saint-Laurent, Quebec. “That makes them much more compact and enables training in the field you couldn’t do with a big trainer on six motion jacks. Another advance has been data analytics and machine learning, which are revolutionizing much deeper insights into how students improve their training performance. By analyzing hundreds of maneuvers, it can help instructors identify underlying weaknesses that may not have been identified before.
Advanced image generators
A high-fidelity, immersive simulated environment happens by using advanced image generator systems and high-density databases to create the appearance of a live-action picture in the trainee’s helmet-mounted display. Adding 3D sound, haptic feedback, and full-body sensation via combat training suits make the virtual world more realistic, but emerging technologies are expected to advance training and mission rehearsal through the next decade well beyond the state of the art of the last decade.
“Simulation requires a whole lot of knowledge about the digital world, very early constructions of transportation systems, the interiors of buildings and how we as people interact with those structures,” says Vricon’s Zaworski. “How do you use modern computer technology and machine learning to take satellite and drone imagery and rapidly and accurately correlate all that in near-real time? In the next five years, we will see a greater ability to build out the interior and underground elements.
“There also will be massive progress on the end user hardware side — integrating visual systems to allow people to interact with this data in ways we’ve never been able to before,” Zaworski continues. “You will see a host of other applications start to emerge, where we take the incredible investment in the commercial market into virtual reality and mixed reality headsets and impact the modeling and simulation world to leverage the latest and greatest of hardware tech with the core data underneath that is a living, breathing version of the planet, at human scale, to support mission rehearsal.”
“Users continue to look for better image quality and more realism,” says Andrew Fernie, senior technical fellow at CAE Defence & Security. “Each person evaluating a visual system makes a comparison, consciously or unconsciously, against what they see with their own eyes in the real world. And no matter how far industry has come, we still have work to do to satisfy that test of making the synthetic environment more like the real world.” “Improvements in resolution, density of the content and the fidelity of special effects will contribute to meeting expectations — and will require work on all aspects of the visual system: database content, image generator and display system. At the same time, however, we are expected to reduce the life cycle costs associated with the visual system,” Fernie says.
Cloud computing also plays a role in today’s simulation and mission rehearsal. “Cloud computing has really come of age now where the infrastructure the tech giants are providing means you can migrate an entire environment in the cloud,” Perey continues. “Cloud computing enables us to scale the number of entities and interactions, which could not have been done before for a single training device. It also gives you a direct access. Passive and real-time simulation can create The Vricon P3DR can georegister full-motion video, providing accurate coordinates, even on the sides of buildings. The Vricon P3DR can georegister full-motion video, providing accurate coordinates, even on the sides of buildings. an environment for commanders and a ‘what if’ scenario, giving them access to make the best and most informed decisions.”
Google Cloud powering new Air Force flight simulators reported in Dec 2020
Pilot training has become a critical issue for the Air Force, with recent initiatives like Pilot Training Next and others looking to fill a shortage of trained pilots with technology-driven solutions like the one Google now provides. The Joint Immersive Training System (JITS) has a consistent interface for several types of planes the Air Force trains on, as opposed to one-off systems that model specific planes.
The virtual system can be used with different type of physical components, even commercial-off-the-shelf gear like a gaming chair and joystick will work with the software. The JITS system is designed to offer initial training, starting new pilots on the basics of flight before throwing them in a cockpit. Being able to plug-and-play with different types of physical components is one of the factors that is expected to drive the cost down on the overall training system. Google’s cloud-based system also has an API that can be plugged into by a number of other vendors to glean insights on pilot training progress and other metrics. Google said the company is also providing services to DIU in addition to its technology to help implement the new cloud-based systems.
“Adopting Google Cloud provides a consistent and secure user experience for student pilots regardless of where they undergo their training,” Mike Daniels, vice president for global public sector at Google Cloud, said in a press release. “And with Google Workspace, we’ll also enable collaboration and remote learning with the best instructors who may be located in another state or at another Air Force Base.” Pilot training has become a critical issue for the Air Force, with recent initiatives like Pilot Training Next and others looking to fill a shortage of trained pilots with technology-driven solutions like the one Google now provides.
Modeling and Simulation as a Service (MSaaS)
Recent developments in computing and networking are making it possible for a customer to benefit from the products of computing without the full investment in hardware, software, personnel and infrastructure. This is the main idea behind cloud computing. In this case, hardware, software and expert personnel can be centrally located and the “services” they provide are accessed over the network.The application of a “services” model to Modelling and Simulation, henceforth called “Modelling and Simulation as a Service” (MSaaS), promises to greatly reduce the barriers of cost and accessibility and to result in greater utility of M&S throughout NATO and the Nations. The goal of MSaaS is to provide M&S applications as a cloud-computing service model so that they are available on-demand, over the network, with the ability to charge per-use rather than needing to purchase entire M&S products.
Artificial Intelligence for Military Simulation (AIMS)
Many military tasks can be performed more smartly when supported by simulations in which soldiers can practice with realistic role players, implement potential solutions and freely experiment with new tactics, procedures and materiel. Behaviour of entities in such simulations is based on artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that are able to classify objects in complex images, to resolve intricate puzzles and to forecast fuzzy situations.
Artificial Intelligence for Military Simulation (AIMS) allows for richer and more realistic behaviour of simulated individuals, teams, crowds and platforms in complex environments. Such simulations are better tailored to the needs of users: decision makers, trainees and instructors. Moreover, AIMS enables an easier, automatic scenario development process for the scenario developers.
The Army Research Lab is looking to use intelligent automation to reduce the manpower needed to design and run large-scale simulation-based training events. In a call for white papers, ARL said it wants better systems integration, intelligent automation and improved user interfaces for its Synthetic Training Environment — a capability that uses artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine learning, augmented reality and distributed computing for simulated training.
Even though STE includes training management tools to plan, prepare, execute and assess an event, putting on an event is still labor intensive, ARL said. Program leaders must develop training objectives, create scenarios, monitor and control the exercise, observe and assess the performance of trainees and provide analysis and after-action review. ARL said it is interested in using AI, machine learning and data sciences to speed the creation of training scenarios and deliver adaptive instruction, automated performance assessment, diagnosis and feedback for collective simulation-based training involving infantry, armored, aviation and mission command.
Simulation and mission rehearsal are not limited to weapons and platforms, but cover the entire spectrum of military activities — communications, logistics, tactical data links, and battlefield medicine — all of which must be part of any realistic training environment. Those at the heart of bringing emerging technologies out of the lab and onto the battlefield often disagree.
“AI is not ready for this field yet; it still has a long way to go before it becomes intelligent. There’s no room for guesswork when talking about tactical data links,” says Brian Bass, director of operational support at the Curtiss-Wright Corp. Tactical Communications Group segment in Tewksbury, Mass. Nonetheless, he says he sees a need and a future for AI as the technology matures. “In many of the scenarios in which we participate, our adversaries are cuffed — held to what we know about them. But they could do something different in reality.
“In simulation and mission rehearsal, it would be better to train our troops to face the unexpected,” Bass continues. “Advanced systems could come up with new possibilities in a shorter period of time — and hopefully at lower cost. AI will multiply the speed at which those things happen, creating a lot of scenarios we might not think of so quickly.”
Military radios most likely will play a big role in future simulation and mission rehearsal. “The primary goal of tactical data links is giving anybody with a tactical radio the ability to receive the information they need, in the format they expect, in near-real time,” Bass says. “We would schedule advances in simulations in closer proximity instead of spacing them out. If we need to stress a system or operator, we can transmit a future event at a different time. We currently do not have any AI tool to assist the operator in making those decisions.”
Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) training
Live Virtual Constructive training has really expanded the field of virtual reality. According to The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology LVC involves “three distinct classes of military simulation: live simulation, virtual simulation, and constructive simulation”. Live simulation involves real people operating real systems, such as having a real soldier practice aiming a weapon mounted on an aircraft at targets below. Virtual simulation involves a real person operating a simulated system. A pilot using a flight simulator would be an example of virtual simulation. The previous two techniques have been used for years by the military but constructive simulation is relatively new due to advancements in virtual reality. Constructive simulation involves simulated people operating simulated systems like a simulated enemy attempting to thwart the plan of the mission.
A LVC event can happen without everyone being in the same room. Before, military training involved flying the team members to a specific training site to learn specific skills over a period of weeks. Now with LVC, everyone can participate in the exercise literally from the comfort of their own homes as long as they have the equipment.
In July 2018, Northrop Grumman Corporation was awarded a contract of USD 128 million by the US Army to provide operation and sustainment of virtual, live, constructive training, and simulation systems. The company has been supporting the army program, Mission Training Complex Contractor Support (MTCCS – III Corps), for the past 16 years. The company provides mission command training to more than 70,000 service members annually.
Vricon is working with the Army on elements of the Synthetic Training Environment (STE), a 3D training and mission-rehearsal tool combining live, virtual, constructive, and gaming environments for soldier and unit readiness. Vricon’s focus is on STE’s One World Terrain (OWT) component, an accessible 3D representation of the global operating environment.
In its winning proposal, Vricon officials said rather than trying to bring together incomplete and misaligned data sets from different sources, their company would create a foundation built from high-resolution 3D data already collected and establish a single data standard as the interface for OWT. The goal, Zaworski says, is to make it through a successful operational test at STE initial operating capability, scheduled for September 2021.
Military User-Specific Advantages
From the military user point of view, there are a number of (perceived) advantages of MSaaS as a cloud service:
- No major hardware necessary (e.g. on front-line) where you do not want it (it could be in a back-office);
- Less end-user maintenance of complex, military M&S assets (typically in large distributed training: version differences requiring upgrades, technical problems, etc.);
- Accessible from around the world (allowing, e.g., training wherever you are);
- Flexibility: adaptable depending on the training audience or selected scenario and required assets, solutions can be made to fit due to elasticity at the provider or by selecting another provider; and
- Scalability: adaptable depending on size of the training audience, solutions can be made to fit due to elasticity at the provider.
“The closer you push for mission rehearsal and high fidelity, the higher the need for protection. To practice team training, you need to share classified information over a network, so it is important the construction, the cyber security access, is very high so you don’t compromise the technology or the system,” says Lenny Genna, president of the military training sector at L-3 Harris Technologies in Arlington, Texas.
“Whether someone is stealing it or hacking into it to try to change it, the security is the same,” Genna says. “You build in anti-tamper plans so they can’t be messed with. The fidelity you want and access to the cloud requires working through the ability to have it secure no matter where it is. I think we now have worked it out so the students have a device that is not classified but connects to classified data once hooked up to the cloud.”
With Cyber becoming nother domain of warfare, the requirement has arisen for military to rehearse cyber offensive and defensive operations. US Army plans to develop Cyber Battle Lab that will support every area of cyber electromagnetic activities, a fairly new term known as CEMA, which includes cyberspace operations, electronic warfare and spectrum management, according to a draft solicitation by the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Fort Gordon, Ga. It plans to award a contract, designated as a small business set-aside, to support the lab in providing experimentation support to warfighters “dynamic network experimentation integrated with cyberspace operations and electronic warfare,” the draft states. Activities will include live experimentation, modeling and simulation, regional hub node experimentation, and the Battle Lab collaborative simulation.
Among the experimentation support to be delivered under the contract are cutting-edge systems engineering, satellite support, analysis, prototyping, assessments, systems administration, network engineering, information assurance, model development, and distributed simulation network operations and security center services, according to the draft solicitation. Ultimately, the experiments, assessments, analyses and network support activities are intended to confirm the effectiveness of proposed new technologies and techniques to identify any gaps in cyber operations and electronic warfare.
Military employment of M&S
Cutting-edge simulation and mission rehearsal are of growing importance to all of the nation’s military services, including its joint commands, such as the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). SOCOM representatives highlighted the application of emerging technologies to unique SOF mission training sets at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Fla., in December 2019.
“SOCOM is focused on addressing defense and security threats and challenges from emerging great power competitors as well as terrorists and violent extremist organizations, as has been identified in the 2018 National Defense Strategy,” Army Maj. Gen. Robert Karmazin, Director, J-7/9, Directorate of Training, Doctrine and Capability Development, told a presentation of the SOF Simulation Technologies Capability Assessment Event.
“To help enable our objectives, SOCOM needs to expand the use of transformative technologies. For mission preparedness, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, AI machine learning capabilities are absolutely paramount.” Randy Jackson, chief of mission preparation, J3 Training and Education, explained the extent of emerging technologies on SOCOM’s overall training, mission rehearsal and operational future.
“The use of advanced technologies should help prepare SOF for what lies ahead. They will increase cognition, optimize human materiel performance, reduce operational risk and better enable SOF adaptation for a variety of situations,” he said. “We must harness these ideas, leverage capability, share information, capture the good, smell the bad, navigate data, transfer knowledge, fuse networks, bolster cyber security and increase interoperability — again to reduce risk, save time, increase cognitive learning and truly change the way we do business.”
Australia’s DST develops new VIRSuite real-time scene generation software
The Australian Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) has developed a real-time scene generation software for improving the effectiveness of missile performance. The new VIRSuite can be used for analysing, assessing and developing electro-optical systems in a range of complex scenarios and environments. The electro-optical systems play a key role in improving the survivability and operational effectiveness of the F-35A joint strike fighter, by warning the pilot of the incoming aircraft and missile threats. These systems are also crucial to the effectiveness of air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles that are used to attack both ships and land targets.
This real-time scene generation software was initially used in testing and in improving the capabilities of the short range air-to-air missile (ASRAAM) imaging infrared seeker. DST defence researcher Shawn Garner said: “A great deal of effort was invested to ensure the VIRSuite scenes matched those captured by ASRAAM during firings and initial testing.”
Garner added: “We were able to measure a similar engine on the ground and modify it to match the physical characteristics of the target. “We also took advantage of some work done elsewhere in DST on infrared signatures (heat emissions) to produce a predicted signature model for the target.”
By inputting this data into the VIRSuite software, the ASRAAM team was able to work with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to plan a set of accurate firings against the target which met all objectives, according to the statement. It can generate detailed scenes in visible, ultraviolet and infrared bands with high degrees of accuracy, including atmospheric effects. The software considers background clutter, including sun-glint on clouds and the way the waves interact with vessels. It is also capable of replicating sparse desert environments and complex urban environments.
The Army is moving rapidly to enhance training because of the renewed focus on potential near-peer adversaries,” said the report. “The training, modeling and simulation market is strong and growing.” To better prepare for high-end threats, the service is creating a synthetic training environment that would utilize a combination of live training, virtual and augmented reality, and gaming technology to enable individual soldiers and units to conduct realistic, repetitive training anywhere in the world.
The TReX consortium, which is managed by the National Security Technology Accelerator, is a public-private partnership intended to bring together industry, academia, laboratories and government agencies such as the Defense Department to promote innovation. The organization “expedites development, demonstration and delivery of prototypes to increase warfighter readiness,” according to the TReX website. “With a focus on modeling, simulation and training, TReX provides the United States government with an agile mechanism to iterate and refine critical technologies to keep pace with ongoing and emerging challenges. By actively incorporating structured operational user feedback, TReX will identify and develop innovative solutions to inform materiel procurement requirements and acquisition.”
USAF’s New office will test directed energy weapons and hypersonics technology
An initiative led by a southwest Ohio military base will test technologies like directed energy and hypersonics to determine if the weapons can be fielded on future battlefields, officials said. “This is a new way of doing capability development for the Air Force,” Office Director Jack Blackhurst said.The new field office is part of the Air Force Research Laboratory headquartered in Washington and will target Air Force-wide strategic requirements, rather than major command tactical needs, Blackhurst said. The initiative will report on the results of experiments, war gaming, modeling and simulation research, and the feasibility of prototypes as future weapon systems. “We might be asked to go do some experiments to get something in the warfighters’ hands to go try out and see if they really work or not in the capacity that they want them to,” he said.
The initiative is important to help the Air Force keep its military edge over potential enemies without wasting time or money, said Loren Thompson, a senior defense analyst with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute and an industry consultant. He said the goal is to make the Air Force “more agile.”USAF service has awarded Stellar Science a five-year, $7 million contract for advanced laser modeling and simulation. The Albuquerque-based company is expected to continue the work started in 2014, when the Air Force tapped the group to develop computer simulations and virtual testing of directed energy weapons. Aircraft-launched laser weapons could eventually be engineered for a wide range of potential uses, including air-to-air combat, close air support, counter-UAS(drone), counter-boat, ground attack and even missile defense, officials said. According to Stellar Science, “The goal of this research project was to compute the three-dimensional (3D) shape and orientation of a satellite from two-dimensional (2D) images of it.”
The US Air Force (USAF) has successfully integrated F-22 Raptors with F-16 Fighting Falcons during a live, virtual and constructive (LVC) training event.
Four live F-16s and two virtual F-22 Raptors were connected by Northrop Grumman’s LVC experimentation, integration and operations suite (LEXIOS) system. Through LEXIOS, virtual aircraft operated by actual aircrew members participate in the same airspace alongside their live counterparts via networked simulators at full security levels, Northrop said in a statement.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems satellite and network operations director Martin J. Amen said: “No aircraft goes to war alone. “With our increasingly joint and networked approach, fighter integration training is extremely consequential to effective execution in combat. “Although Distant Frontier is a small-scale training event, with this achievement Northrop Grumman has demonstrated that we can provide full-spectrum combat training and truly transform the way pilots train to fight.”
“As adversaries continually improve their capabilities, the ability to add LVC is critical to best train and prepare F-22 pilots for dealing with the full complement and degree of threats.” Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the USAF’s distributed mission operations network (DMON), which allows dissimilar aircraft platforms located across the globe to seamlessly interoperate and train together in a realistic virtual environment.
U.S. Space Force Invites Modeling and Simulation in June 2021
Catalyst Accelerator (Catalyst), powered by Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, is seeking Modeling and Simulation (M&S) technologies for its 3-month fall Accelerator. Applications are currently being accepted for small businesses and startups possessing dual-use technology that can be used by the U.S. Space Force (USSF). The problem statement this accelerator hopes to solve is:
How might the United States Space Force leverage modeling and simulation to improve operator training, system design, acquisition, architecture resilience and operations?
Modeling and simulation (M&S) is a key enabler of US warfighting capability; helping to save lives and taxpayer dollars, and improve operational readiness. For acquisition and system design, M&S is intended to provide readily available, operationally valid environments approved by warfighters to explore concepts and refine capability requirements in preparation for field experimentation. M&S tools are used to accurately capture current and future Joint and Service capabilities, doctrine, and tactics.
Training is one of the most employed M&S applications, but there are many other ways that M&S enables USSF functions. In particular, M&S is used to analyze and inform decisions in acquiring new capabilities, adopting new tactics, processing intelligence, and testing systems before they are put into the hands of our fighting forces.
M&S will guide investment strategy and provide insight into future technology needs and capabilities within the context of warfighting needs and capabilities. It drives design of physical experiments along with associated reference architectures and CONOPS that apply candidate technologies and demonstrate their effective use for solving military challenges.
M&S use cases include: multi-domain operations; fuse and analyze multiple data sources; produce sophisticated pictures of the battlespace environment; wargaming; systems design; realistic space operator training; tactical ISR of agile and intelligent targets; space domain awareness; tactical missile warning; and experiment design.
The Military Simulation and Training market size is forecasted to grow from an estimated USD 9.2 billion in 2022 to reach USD 12.2 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2022 to 2027. Increasing defense spending in the world and new technological developments to help strengthen military capabilities and efficiency is expected to drive the market for Military Simulation and Training across the globe. Increasing geopolitical tensions across regions and overall strengthening activities across the world is triggering the defense spending across these regions. This, in turn, is pushing manufacturers and system component providers to design and manufacture more high technology, high resolution, military simulators for defense personnel to get trained upon.
Growth of the market is attributed to the increase in focus on using flight simulators for training combat aircraft pilots and the rise in emphasis on maritime security and subsequent focus on virtual training for naval operations. However, the lack of skilled simulator trainers is estimated to hinder the growth of the market.
Safety has been the main reason for the introduction of virtual pilot training. Virtual flight training has recently gained importance due to multiple benefits, such as effective training with a real-time view, reduced environmental impact, and cost-effectiveness. Most aircraft orientation and training are carried out with full flight simulators. Simulation-based training keeps the pilot and instructor in a low-risk environment, allows for training of impractical situations, and prevents trainees from damaging expensive aircraft. Simulators can also operate for over 20 hours per day with low carbon emissions at an operating cost 22 times lower than training pilots on an aircraft. In the case of the air force, flight simulation is prevalent for equipment-use training, such as computer-based battlefield training.
Most flight exercises have been substituted with simulation training and adopted by flight crews. The rise in fighter jets accidents results in the increasing demand for simulator-based training to ensure safer flights.
The global military simulation and virtual training market has been segmented on the basis of platform, training type, and region. By platform, the market has been classified as airborne, ground, and naval. In terms of training type, the market has been divided into live, virtual reality (VR), constructive, and gaming simulation.
Based on platform, the land segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period. The growth in demand for military vehicles across the land, sea, and aerial platforms would drive the market growth. Several countries are modernizing their military fleets by inducting newer generation vehicle platforms. This is generating a simultaneous demand for simulation-based training for the military personnel on these platforms, thereby propelling the market prospects of the related military simulators.
The aviation segment is expected to have a larger market share in the forecasted year. This is majorly due to the complexity and risk involved in aircraft compared to the other end users. For example, a single mistake by pilots on board a military aircraft while landing or take-off will cost the lives of people on board and result in the loss of sophisticated military property and compromise the mission. Such complexity has forced the military authorities to incorporate simulator-based training for pilots. Moreover, the increasing adoption of newer generation aircraft that incorporate complex technologies in the military may require training for pilots to familiarize themselves with the latest equipment and systems. In such situations, providing hands-on experience may be difficult due to high-cost involvement. In such cases, the simulators act as the preferred option
The market consists of three simulation categories: flight, combat, and maritime. Flight simulators are expected to account for 59% of the global military simulation market, followed by maritime simulators and combat simulators with shares of 21% and 20%, respectively. North America dominates the sector with a share of 36.4%, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific with shares of 25.4% and 25.2%, respectively.
The key players in the global military simulation and virtual training market include CAE Inc. (Canada), Cubic Corporation (US), L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (US), Lockheed Martin Corporation (US), Meggitt PLC (UK), Northrop Grumman Corporation (US), Rheinmetall AG (Germany), United Technologies Corporation (US), Saab AB (Sweden), Thales Group (France), and Raytheon Company (US).
References and Resources also include: