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Dynamic Synthetic Environments for Distributed Simulation

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NATO Modelling and Simulation Group

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Correlation, Distributed Simulation, Dynamic Terrain, MSG, Sensors, Simulation Interoperability, Standards, Synthetic Environments, Technologies, Weather


Military operations are performed in a world that is dynamic and where weather and climatic conditions have an impact on the environment. The dynamic nature of the environment affects how military operations are performed, e.g. changes in weather (such as rain and wind) impact the mobility of vehicles, and damages to infrastructure during an operation limits available routes. To better train and prepare for dynamic real-world conditions, the Synthetic Environment (SE) needs to support this in a standardized and interoperable way to provide a consistent representation across dissimilar simulation systems. Current best practices, standards and technologies already struggle to achieve correlated static representations of the operating environment. The inclusion of dynamic aspects will make this struggle even more challenging, thereby underlining the need for more extensive methodologies and technologies to achieve correlated environments in distributed simulation systems, including Computer Generated Forces (CGFs) and sensor simulations. To ensure that simulations can be setup and used efficiently in the future by NATO and NATO Nations, it is important that correlated dynamic SEs can be effectively produced and maintained. The NATO MSG Exploratory Team ET-045 has investigated this topic and identified the main challenges of introducing correlated dynamic SEs. These challenges are the starting point of MSG-156.


• Define best practices, required methodologies, technologies and inform requirements for standards needed to achieve a correlated dynamic SE in future distributed simulation exercises; • Evaluate methodologies and technologies through concept experimentation where needed.


Dynamic terrain How to achieve a dynamic terrain that can be shared between different participants? Topics to be addressed are: • Methods and technologies to deform terrain/terrain features (cultural features, 3D models), in a common and consistent manner across Virtual and Constructive (synthetic forces) simulation systems, i.e. visual and non-visual sensors domains; • Methods and technologies to deform littoral features (e.g. effects of sea state), in a common and consistent manner across Virtual and Constructive (synthetic forces) simulation systems; • Natural effects on the environment, specifically effects of rainfall/flooding, temperature, ocean tides, surface weathering and drainage; • Human geophysical effects on the environment, e.g. dredging, digging, tunnels, river diversion; • Force engagement effects on the environment, e.g. effect of ordnance (including craters, damage to buildings, bridges, roads, airfields). Weather Besides the terrain, representation of realistic weather is also an important element of SEs. In most current simulations weather is static in both time and space, whereas real-world weather can be very dynamic and have major effects on operations. Items to be considered include: • Which methodologies and technologies are needed to easily specify and integrate consistent weather and its variations into distributed simulation systems; • Which weather variations should be represented in SEs; • What should be the effects of these weather variations on SEs, re: natural terrain features, 3D models, platform performance; • How to ensure that weather variations affect different elements of SEs in a common and consistent way; • Which data sources are suitable to introduce realistic weather in SEs. Effective correlation For the participants of distributed simulation, a ‘fair-fight’ is an important aspect. Therefore correlation of a dynamic SE is required. It should be realized that the assets in a distributed simulation will have different (technical) capabilities and that 100% correlation may not be achievable or necessary. Items to be considered include; • How to specify the amount of correlation of the synthetic environment that is needed for the purpose of a distributed simulation? • How to asses if different simulation assets meet the required level of correlation? • Which methodologies and technologies are needed to effectively manage correlation within a distributed simulation?

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