Using Modeling & Simulation for Defense and Homeland Security Training
MAK software is used to integrate nationwide defense systems, visualize mission plans for flight simulators, analyze data for prototyping new defense vehicles, and so much more. Modeling and Simulation was born in the defense industry, growing and maturing into an integral element of the defense life cycle. For over two decades, VT MAK has been helping defense customers leverage our networking, simulation, visualization, and terrain technologies to build and deliver simulation systems. MAK’s suite of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) products, partner products, and custom developed solutions have been used to integrate nationwide defense systems, visualize mission planning for flight simulators, analyze data for review and prototype defense vehicles and systems. Our Modeling and MAK can help you build a simulation system of any scale.
The homeland security, emergency response, and public safety communities face challenges similar to those dealt with in the military domain--they need to plan and train. But large scale live simulations are simply too disruptive to be conducted with regularity. Catastrophic emergencies require coordination of local and state public safety personnel, emergency management personnel, National Guard, and possibly regular military.
Check out some of the ways people are using MAK's products for Defense and Homeland Security today:
Wargaming System to Stimulate C4I System – Raytheon IDS
What’s at stake
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems selected MAK to develop the simulation system to drive the wargaming & training component of their Command View C4I system that was subsequently delivered to a Raytheon customer.
The C4I system is used for national defense and simulated Command Post Exercises at the division, brigade and battalion levels, providing opportunities for experimentation, doctrine development, and training.
How MAK Helped
MAK used VR-Forces' flexible architecture to develop and deliver a MAK Command and Staff Training System (MAK CST) to stimulate Raytheon’s C4I system. MAK CST acts as the simulation engine for operational level training exercises — it feeds the C4I system with track data and reports from simulated forces.
Commanders and their staff lay down the Order of Battle and participate in the exercise using the same C4I system they would use in a real-world battle, while members of their organization direct the simulated forces by interacting with MAK CST in the simulation cell.
This two year project resulted in VT MAK delivering a fully compliant system, on time, and within budget. Deliveries included documentation, training, comprehensive test procedures, and on-site integration support. The newly developed software has been integrated into the COTS VR-Forces product for ease of maintenance and upgrade. The system includes the VR-TheWorld Streaming Terrain Server.
Vehicle Crew Training Systems
Vehicle Crew Training Systems
What’s at Stake:
For armies around the world, ground vehicles play important strategic roles. Whether they’re transporting personnel and cargo as part of a convoy, mobilizing for an offensive maneuver, or defending against a roadside ambush, they are an essential piece of the mobile support and sustainment structure.
Developing effective crew training systems to operate ground vehicles is key to maximizing this strategic asset. Proper training improves team communication, combat effectiveness, safety, and driving efficiency. The consequences of a lack of training range from inefficiency to loss of life.
As the demand for vehicle crews remains high, there is a need to train larger classes. Instructors are looking for systems that simulate vehicles in convoy missions and hostile entities in a high-fidelity synthetic environment. They seek systems that provide role-specific, informative visual interfaces to the crew and creative scenario construction in real time. Instructors want to connect to local or global networks of simulation systems, with maximum hardware flexibility.
The MAK Solution:
VR-Vantage provides trainees with high-detail role-specific visual scenes, including scenes with high-fidelity data overlays. VR-Vantage emulates exterior camera views and 2D maps for the driver and commander, and a scope for the gunner with accurate data displays. Instructors use VR-Vantage to observe the exercise from a third-person perspective and evaluate trainees. VR-Vantage can be customized to match performance and resolution needs, and is used on a range of hardware, from lightweight laptops to complex motion-platform simulators.
With MAK you have choices on how to create a host vehicle simulation. For ground vehicles we’ve found Vortex, by CM Labs, to be an excellent vehicle dynamics solution. Vortex's contact dynamics simulate all the moving parts of the vehicle including the interaction with the terrain, water, obstacles, vision systems, grasping, and more. Everything from suspension travel to traction and gearing is accounted for to provide the driver with an enriching, engaging training scenario.
For instructors looking to control the simulation and incorporate computer-generated forces, VR-Forces is the perfect pairing for VR-Vantage. VR-Forces is a scalable simulation engine that allows instructors to populate the scene with friendly forces, hostile units, civilians, animals, and obstacles. Instructors use VR-Forces to move units around the scene, setting up scenarios or altering a live situation in real time.
Both VR-Forces and VR-Vantage include MAK’s networking technology. VR-Link’s protocol independent API allows both applications to communicate through industry standard High Level Architecture (HLA) and the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocols, including HLA 1.3, HLA 1516, HLA Evolved, DIS, and DIS 7. The MAK Data Logger records and plays back all the network simulation traffic for after action review and analysis. The MAK RTI (runtime infrastructure) is available when connecting to HLA federations using any of these SISO standard protocols: HLA 1.3, HLA 1516, and HLA Evolved.
UAV Surveillance and Operations Training with VR-Forces
What’s at Stake?
You are tasked with training a team of sensor payload operators to use UAVs for urban reconnaissance missions in a specific city. Upon completion of training, trainees must be able to comb an area for a target, make a positive identification, monitor behavior and interactions, radio in an airstrike, and then report on the outcome.
An ineffective training environment could lead to additional costs, losing important targets, and inefficient surveillance systems. Training with a robust solution enhances homeland security human resources for a minimal product investment.
What Are We Building?
As the instructor, you need to mock up a ground control station with accurate pilot/payload operator role definitions and supply that system with surveillance data from a content-rich simulation environment. You need to construct a scene that is informative, while providing trainees with opportunities to develop their instincts and test their operating procedures based on how the scenario unfolds.
Each UAV must be equipped with an electro-optical camera as well as an infrared sensor mounted to a gimbal. Radio communication between the UAV operators and a central command center must be available to coordinate surveillance and call in airstrikes.
Trainees need to experience the scenario through the electro-optical sensor and infrared sensor with rich, accurate data overlays to provide them with the information they need to communicate positioning and targeting effectively.
Your urban environment requires crowds of people who behave in realistic ways and traverse the city in intelligent paths. When a UAV operator spots someone, they need to be able to lock onto them when they are in motion to mimic algorithmic tracking tools.
The simulation needs to be adjustable in real time so that the instructor can minimize repeat behaviors and walk the team through different scenarios. Instructors also must be able to judge the effectiveness of a trainee’s technique.
In this particular case, VR-Forces provides all the software you need to bring your environment to life.
VR-Forces is an ideal tool for scenario development. It can model UAVs in fine detail, while allowing for instructors to customize those entities based on the scope of a mission. It’s simple to add the gimbal mounted sensor array that we need for this scenario and define parameters for - including zoom, zoom speed, slew rate, and gimbal stops.
Easily populate an urban environment with people by using the group objects function to add crowds of entities at a time. VR-Forces has features from Autodesk's Gameware built in, enabling Pattern of Life intelligent flows of people and vehicles, in addition to plotting the locations and tasks of individual entities. The Pattern of Life lets you manipulate patterns within the scenario – including realistic background traffic, whether it’s people, road, or air. Certain DI-Guy capabilities have been integrated into VR-Forces, meaning behavior modeling is more authentic, thanks to motion capture technology. Now you can train your team to look out for certain suspicious movements and calibrate their responses based on the actions of the target.
Sensor modeling is a point of strength for VR-Forces. Give your trainees a beautiful, detailed point of view of the scene through the electro-optical sensor, and provide a high-fidelity infrared sensor display when the daylight fades. VR-Forces adds accurate data overlays so that trainees can learn to quickly and accurately read and report based on that information. Instructors can visualize 3D volumetric view frustums and assess trainees’ combing strategies as well as any gaps in coverage, and engineer surveillance systems. We model sensor tracking to lock onto targets while they are in movement or on a fixed location.
What really makes VR-Forces perfect for training is the ability of instructors to manipulate the scenario in real time. You can keep your trainees from running scenarios that are too predictable by having your target enter buildings, change his mode of transportation, or actively attempt to avoid detection, all during live action.
Interested in Learning More? Have a look at the VR-Forces page for more information.
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Cyber and Electronic Warfare
The Battlefield is Evolving: The Increased Threat of Cyber Attack Affects Strategic Decision Making
As technologies continue to advance and become more deeply ingrained in modern life, threats of a crippling cyber attack or electronic warfare (EW) become increasingly probable. In an attempt to mitigate these risks, the Colombian national government (represented by the Ministry of Information Technology), the Higher War School in Colombia, and ITM Consulting Company joined forces to explore the role simulation plays in understanding, preparing for, and combating cyber attacks.
The organizations needed a tool that could create and model elements vulnerable to cyber attacks, such as radar systems, military and civilian entities, and communication systems. The organizations were looking for the freedom to redesign the User interface (UI) to match specific scenario needs and create response strategies.
The MAK Solution:
VT MAK offers commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to build EW simulations, backed by a company with an “engineer down the hall” philosophy to help organizations select and implement the most effective solution.
VR-Forces provided a scalable computer-generated forces simulation engine to populate the training environment with targeted infrastructure systems, friendly forces and hostile entities. VR-Forces allowed the organizations to pre-plan scenarios as well as interactively alter a live situation in real time.
VR-Forces provided the flexibility sought by the organizations, including UI customization. The group used this flexibility to conduct three major cyber attack scenarios, and create response strategies.
In the first scenario, VR-Forces simulated two aircraft teams. The red team was given a mission to use scanners and jammers to alter the frequency on the blue team’s radar systems; doing this enabled the red team to use attack aircraft to undermine the blue team’s defense system.
The second scenario used VR-Forces to simulate an electronic warfare attack on the Colombian oil infrastructure, a victim of frequent terrorist attacks. in this exercise, the red team was instructed to alter the readings on specific valves on a pipeline to ignite fires. Attacks on the blue team’s surveillance systems (via unmanned aircraft) set out to deter the blue team’s response.
The third scenario highlighted the inherent danger to civilian populations if the turbines in a hydroelectric plant are compromised through a cyber attack. The red team in this situation instigated drastic variations in water levels at the plant that in turn disrupted the power and energy generated to the nearby town. The power and energy disruptions brought about detrimental consequences for the simulated town.
The exercises using VR-Forces have contributed to research and development efforts led by the department of Telematics eSdegUe, and in particular its line of research in Cybersecurity and Cyber defense.
“What we were able to do with VR-Forces allowed us to lead the research process for the modeling and simulation of electronic Warfare and Cybernetics; it is through this research that we learn how to best describe the behavior of different cyber attacks and EW tactics to determine scenarios, trends, and courses of action with excellent results,” says Colonel Martha Liliana Sanchez Lozano, the Official Colombian Air Force Chief of Telematics and Program Coordinator of Cybersecurity and Cyber defense at the Higher War School.