Technology Today

2013 Issue 1

Embedded Training in the Modern Command and Control Environment

Raytheon Solipsys produces tactical display and command and control (C2) software for domestic and international customers. The C2 implementations run from single-user expeditionary systems, such as the Marine Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S), to continental defense (where many dozens of operators work simultaneously), such as the Air Force Battlespace Command and Control Center (BC3). The modern C2 system places great power in the hands of the individual operator. The same human machine interface (HMI) can be used for surveillance, command, control, planning and maintenance activities.

While this density of capability has considerable advantages for experienced operators, it does present a challenge for training. Operators are best trained on the tactical C2 system, yet the environment is necessarily isolated from the Internet. The solution is to provide an embedded training capability that can reside with and stimulate the C2 system so operators can train the way they fight in a live virtual constructive (LVC) environment as mandated in DoD Directive 1322.18.

The importance of embedded training will likely grow as DoD fiscal budgets become constrained, reducing the number of live training exercises. Real assets are not only costly to operate, but training with them increases the potential for injury. While embedded training cannot fully replace live actors, it does offer an environment where the operators can exercise their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). Operators within the C2 system can develop the muscle memory and tool familiarity that are essential for responsiveness in the tactical situation.

Further advantages of embedded training include the consistency and flexibility of application. The embedded trainer application will typically execute a scenario that was developed in advance to subject the operators to a particular test condition such as, in the case of a C2 system, a particular enemy attack formation that threatens a friendly base. The scenario will play back in real time and the operators can be observed to determine their timeliness and accuracy while responding to the stimulus. The same scenario can be played identically each time — which is not the case with real assets involved in an exercise. The embedded trainer should be sufficiently easy to use that a new scenario can be generated quickly to vary the stimulation of the system under test; ease of use and flexibility are paramount in embedded trainer design.

Sculpt

Raytheon Solipsys’ Sculpt is a powerful scenario generator for training, testing and simulation environments. Sculpt facilitates the rapid creation of scenarios of varying size, length and complexity through its intuitive, easy-to-use interface. With a few clicks of the mouse, operators can create detailed scenarios combining air, surface, and undersea platforms. Platform behavior can be customized using Sculpt’s extensive point-and-click editing capabilities, from minor adjustments to altitude and speed to major changes involving platform waypoints and paths.

During scenario playback, the trainer can elect to let the scenario play as planned or interact dynamically with vehicles to introduce real-time changes to tracks. In addition, operator-controlled vehicles can be dynamically injected at any time during playback. The freedom to introduce unscripted, unexpected events gives event supervisors the tools to evaluate operator response to an array of mission variables. Scenarios can be played locally or output to any Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS)-compliant C2 visualization system.

Figure 1. Sculpt operator interface

Interface hooks are also available to support High-Level Architecture (HLA) and Test and Training Enabling Architecture (TENA) protocols. As Sculpt is a 100% Javaplatform, it is portable to any commercial operating system that supports a Java virtual machine. To avoid purchase of dedicated hardware, Sculpt is frequently hosted on the same machine as the C2 display; during the training activity the machine is commandeered for the trainer.

Sculpt maximizes force readiness by giving operational organizations the power to generate timely, realistic and relevant training scenarios. In addition, Sculpt’s ease of use assists training organizations in reducing the learning curve required for training personnel to gain proficiency in planning and generating effective scenarios.

Users orient themselves quickly to Sculpt, as they are already familiar with the layout of menu locations, dashboard widgets, filtering buttons, display personalization and the map behavior itself. Sculpt is the same as the Raytheon Solipsys’ C2 systems that they operate; an example screenshot is displayed in Figure 1. This familiarity extends to real-time execution as collaboration features such as chat and alerts also match those of the C2 system.

Features

When developing the simulated scenario for a particular training lesson, the user selects what type of entity to produce and then draws the path of travel for that object directly on the map (Figure 1, locations 1,2,3). To replicate two- or four-ship flight formations, subsequent entities can be defined as following the leader with a defined standoff (Figure 1, location 4). In a test environment the realism of the background air picture is important, so Sculpt has the ability to record time histories of actual air and surface tracks, in a generic data format, and subsequently play a track back simultaneously with the simulated scenario tracks developed as part of the training lesson.

Being compatible with the C2 display, Sculpt can communicate with central display services to obtain shared shapes such as association control measures, which define where the C2 has allocated space for refueling, safe corridors, transit routes, missile engagement zones, etc. (Figure 1, locations 5,6). For simulations to be realistic they should adhere to these conventions. The trainer can utilize a timeline slider bar to review how all the tracks will behave during the scenario playback (Figure 1, location 7).

During execution the tracks will all follow their planned paths. The Sculpt trainer can, however, take control of a specific track in real time and divert it. This functionality, commonly referred to as a “pseudo pilot,” is very useful while training the C2 operator in fighter control.

Sculpt can also support more general simulation and modeling tasks by defining and providing “ground truth” position and velocities of air and surface objects to other applications via its DIS interface. For instance, radar simulators can take the Sculpt-generated DIS truth data and determine if the system being evaluated should be able to observe each track and, if so, the simulator converts the data to the specific interface protocols of the system under test. In such a configuration, Sculpt is merely acting as a component of a larger test scenario and ensuring that the tracks are presented to the system under test. Non-Raytheon customers are currently evaluating Sculpt as an enhancement to their test environments.

Application

Sculpt’s software architecture flexibility allows it to be rapidly adapted to support new or emerging mission areas. One example of this was when a customer was investigating the use of Raytheon Solipsys’ Multi-Source Correlator Tracker (MSCT) and Tactical Display Framework (TDF ) software products for a Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (CRAM) C2 solution. Sculpt was needed to support the demonstration of the C2 solution and, if the C2 solution were selected, provide operator training, which in this case is a very time-critical function due to the short flight time of the RAM threats. Sculpt already had capability to simulate tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs), but did not support the simulation of short-range ballistic weapons. However, over the course of a couple of weeks, representative RAM trajectories were extracted from public domain sources and the software team reprogrammed the existing TBM scenario creator to include mortar and short-range rocket threat trajectory generation as well. As Sculpt utilizes industry-standard models such as Collada, it was possible to purchase an 81-mm mortar shell model for less than six dollars off the Internet.

Using Sculpt, a simulated RAM attack on a defended base can be defined and displayed in both two- and three-dimensional views. In the two-dimensional viewing window, the trainer selects the ballistic vehicle pointer and then draws on the map the desired launch and impact point locations. The flight trajectory is automatically computed, where the range triggers the appropriate algorithm choice (among TBM, short-range missile and mortar) so the geometry is immediately visible in Sculpt’s three-dimensional viewing window. The trainer can preview the scenario by using the time slider to review the fly-out. While this is a simple example, it does reflect one of the tenets of the Sculpt product; namely, it is not necessary to provide fidelity in simulation beyond its intended purpose. If the focus is to train C2 operators, then the fidelity must pass their credibility test. Too often programs attempt a “one size fits all” approach to simulation, resulting in the development of a large, complicated infrastructure where the costs of adding functionality are prohibitive.

Sculpt Looking Forward

Embedded training techniques continue to improve, providing increased simulation realism and breadth of scenarios to the operators, and Sculpt continues to expand its capabilities in both these areas. A particular challenge is the integration of tactical data link functionality within the simulation. Increasingly, tactics, techniques and procedures are relying on these digital data link methods to execute the C2 mission, where it had previously been dominated by voice interaction. Sculpt’s flexible development architecture and its compatibility with Raytheon Solipsys’s MSCT product, which already has an extensive tactical data link capability, ensures that Sculpt can meet this emerging need.

Richard Harman

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