Communication Modeling for a Combat Simulation in a Network Centric Warfare Environment


Effective and efficient information sharing in a warfare environment is a key feature of the Network Centric Warfare (NCW) concept, and a combat simulation model should reflect this key feature. Most existing combat simulation models adopt a simplified communication model, which may lead to overestimating an actual level of communication performance. On the other hand, while providing accurate assessment of communication performance, a low-level, detailed, engineered model for communication tends to be overly sophisticated and computationally intensive to incorporate in typical combat models. In this paper, we propose a communication model in the context of an engagement-level of NCW combat simulation. In particular, we use a propagation loss model to determine a success or failure of individual communication attempts. We also define a set of model parameters to characterize various communication networks deployed in a battlefield. Preliminary simulation experiments and their results are presented to illustrate the proposed modeling framework.

Warfare Simulation INTRODUCTION

Network Centric Warfare (NCW) is a modern concept of warfare, and the core of the NCW concept is to attain information superiority from improved situational awareness. Situational awareness is improved by seamlessly connecting various entities in a battlefield, producing networked information. In order to represent an NCW combat environment in a warfare simulation, a simulation model must incorporate a process of accomplishing information superiority: acquiring battlefield information by reconnaissance units, sharing the information through a communication network, and utilizing the information in a decision process.

Due to a partial and uncertain nature of information acquisition, there often exists a gap between the situational awareness and the ground truth of a real combat situation. Sensors may provide wrong or distorted information. Communication of obtained information may further degrade information due to vari-ous losses, delay, and distortion. These factors render command and control (C2) and other combat agents to form incomplete situational awareness, which deviates from a real situation of a battlefield. Quality and timing of decisions made by C2 depends on the quality of situational awareness it attains. When based on poor situational awareness, it ultimately affects the combat effectiveness and leads to damages to friendly forces.

A combat simulation model should incorporate the process of forming a potentially incomplete situa-tional awareness. This is especially important when a combat simulation model intends to capture a combat environment of NCW. It requires modeling various elements in C4ISR (Command, Control, Commu-nications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance). Of these C4ISR elements, this paper discusses modeling of the communication component. Specifically, we focus on a method to model imperfect communication, which affects a decision process of C2. To model the effects from various factors of a battlefield environment on communication, the proposed communication model adopts an approximation of engineering-level models: a propagation loss model and a communication network model. To demonstrate the utility, a simple experiment of communication between two agents and a pilot study of a close air support (CAS) scenario are presented.

Close air support warfare simulation model