Advanced Visualization for Test and Evaluation and Training Ranges
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Tactical Electronic Warfare Division
Background: By leveraging the rapid advances in computer graphics technology, the Tactical Electronic Warfare Division has researched advanced visual display concepts for improving the understanding of the integrated battlespace. For the Office of Naval Research (ONR), successful 6.2 and 6.3 projects were executed to explore, prototype, and transition an advanced three-dimensional display and analysis toolset known as SIMDIS. Under the ONR programs and with support from other Navy sponsors, the SIMDIS prototype toolset has matured and transitioned to a number of Navy test and training ranges, Fleet users, laboratories, and Warfare Centers.
SIMDIS is currently in operational use at several Navy and DOD ranges. It has gained acceptance as a tool that can rapidly improve an organization's analysis and display capabilities. The use of the SIMDIS toolset has continued to grow rapidly across the Navy and DOD, with more than 300 current users.
What is SIMDIS? SIMDIS is a set of software tools that provide two- and three-dimensional interactive graphical and video display of live and post-processed simulation, test, and operational data. The SIMDIS toolset is government off-the-shelf (GOTS) software that has been developed into a professional-quality software product. SIMDIS is supported, maintains file compatibility, and has an identical look and feel on multiple computer platforms. These include Silicon Graphics and Sun workstations, and PC workstations running Windows98, WindowsNT, WindowsME, Windows2000, WindowsXP, and Linux. SIMDIS does not require any commercial licenses to run, allowing visual playbacks to be easily shared with others and run on inexpensive PCs to high-end workstations.
SIMDIS provides a powerful capability for interactively visualizing and analyzing simulation and live data from any viewpoint, i.e., from different platforms/ sites or specified location. SIMDIS provides a three-dimensional display of the normally "seen" data such as platform position and orientation as well as the "unseen" data such as the interactions of sensor systems with targets, countermeasures, and the environment. SIMDIS also provides tools for interactively analyzing data using custom tools for displaying equipment modes, spatial grids, ranges, angles, and antenna patterns. SIMDIS provides the capability to view time-synchronized 2D, 3D, and digital videos on a single standalone workstation or across multiple networked platforms. Figure 6 summarizes the SIMDIS Toolset capabilities.
SIMDIS Use at Test and Evaluation and Training Ranges: SIMDIS toolset capabilities as a real-time and a post-processing tool work well to support the needs of the Navy's ranges and Fleet. Figure 7 highlights some of its key features.
At the Southern California Off-Shore Range (SCORE), which supports Navy training for undersea, surface, and air missions. SIMDIS is used heavily in two areas:
- 1. Exercise Control-displays real-time tracks from the Range Operation Center's live data stream or from an NCTS Portable Range. This allows the Navy/Marine command and control elements to monitor the progress of an exercise.
- 2. Debrief Tool-records and then plays back an exercise for a participating unit. Key uses have been for the submarine and Tactical Air Command (TACAIR) (F-14/F-18) communities, which benefit from the high-fidelity 3-D displays. SCORE has also made heavy use of SIMDIS for debriefings of recent PACFLT JTFEX and COMPTUEX training exercises. PACFLT is working to enable the live SCORE feed to be available to the Fleet over the secure network for live display using SIMDIS.
At the Pacific Missile Range Facility, SIMDIS is used to support both training and test and evaluation missions. SIMDIS is used in the following areas:
- 1. Exercise Control-displays real-time tracks from PMRF's Instrumentation Network (INET) to allow command and control elements to gain improved situational awareness during the test.
- 2. Range Safety-used as a real-time decision support tool by the missile flight safety officers for missile and target firings. In this capacity, SIMDIS, through its INET interface, works with the Range Risk Analysis Tool (RRAT) model to calculate and display real-time risk values and flash appropriate visual warnings when necessary.
- 3. VIP Display-used during high-profile tests to produce live integrated test mission displays for both local and remote viewing.
- 4. Debrief Tool-records live data streams during a test and is used to provide rapid visual playbacks for after-action quick-look data/test reviews. SIMDIS is also used for analysis purposes by calculating and displaying preliminary measures of effectiveness (MOEs), such as miss distances, etc. In addition, SIMDIS 3D playbacks are integrated with digital video files within a few hours of the test, and a detailed multimedia scripted playback is produced for mission data reviews.
- 5. Data Product-SIMDIS playback data files are also available as a standard data product from PMRF. Both test and training users of the range receive the integrated visual playbacks of their tests.
At other facilities, such as the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Echo Range, at China Lake, California, SIMDIS is used for post-processing analysis and display. Figure 8 shows a representative SIMDIS display of target tracking radars vs ground truth.
Summary: SIMDIS is a powerful way to integrate multiple types of data for both live and postprocessing analysis and display. The SIMDIS toolset success builds off of recent advances in graphics processing technology and provides concrete payoffs to DOD test and evaluation and training ranges, operational users, and others. The SIMDIS toolset demonstrates that a well-executed GOTS software development model can be very effective in rapidly transitioning simulation research into the Navy/DOD community.
[Sponsored by ONR]