The CapTech “Experimentation, System of Systems, Space, Battle lab and Modelling & Simulation” (Captech Simulation in short) combines several areas with the task to enable European cooperation through distributed simulations, common development and training processes together with Modelling and System Engineering approaches looking for European Systems interoperability and common grounds for research.
The main objectives of this CapTech is to launch collaborative R&T projects that fulfil pMS needs, and to help the work of Capability, Armament and Technology (CAT) Directorate by providing tools and methods to prepare collaborative programs more efficiently. This very transversal CapTech must also help to better link various programs by better specifying the operational interfaces. The key R&T domains covered by the CapTech are:
- Systems Engineering & Architectures
- Space systems (all capabilities concerned)
- Experimentation, verification and validation.
- Simulators, training systems and synthetic environments
- Distributed Experimentations & Battle Labs
The work of the Simulation CapTech is generally of TRL in the ranges of 2 to 6, although work in higher TRLs is not discarded. By its nature, CapTech Simulation addresses operational challenges that bear relevance for all main tasks of the Generic Military Task List (GMTL), i.e. Command, Inform, Engage, Protect, Deploy and Sustain. Moreover, special emphasis is put on cross-cutting, pre- and post-mission tasks such as training, exercises, mission rehearsal, experimentation and (interoperability) testing.
With regards to its technological scope and the topics it aims to address, CapTech Simulation identifies synergies and interdependencies with other CapTechs, in particular the CapTechs Information, Air, Land, Maritime, Armaments, Radar, Optronics, CBRN and Human Factors, Navigation, and the Cyber Working group. It also contributes to the identification of Critical Defence Technologies related to its area of work.
The Simulation CapTech meets 3 times per year, with a meeting maximum duration of 2 days. All the information is shared in its Workspace. Back to back to the CapTech meetings, workshops or seminars might take place. The Workshops objectives are to achieve concrete outcomes, such as the preparation of a project or fulfilment of an extraordinary request (topics for calls for proposals, SRA development, technology assessment, etc.) The workshops are “hands-on” and participative. On the other hand, the seminars objective is to raise the awareness and knowledge about specific technologies identified in the CapTech, and gain insight on the potential of that technology for defence applications. Subject matter experts are invited as speakers.
To become a Simulation CapTech member (CapTech Governmental Expert CGE or CapTech non-Governmental Expert - CnGE), please follow the instructions included in the R&T General site, and be aware that your request will be forwarded to the relevant CapTech National Coordinator - CNC. The approval of the CNC will be needed to become a CGE or CnGE, and also for your participation in a CapTech event.
The activities of the CapTech Simulation are guided by the Simulation CapTech Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). Currently, the SRA for CapTech Simulation is being updated. The CapTech has been among the first to follow EDA’s OSRA methodology, which aims to provide a systematic approach to harmonise the SRAs for all CapTechs and to develop an Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA). The mission of CapTech Simulation is to foster R&T innovations mainly in the areas of Modelling & Simulation and (distributed) Experimentations via Battle Labs. The SRA identifies major operational challenges for the short-term time frame (0-3 years), medium-term time frame (3 to 7 years) and long-term timeframe (7 to 15 years). From this, R&T needs are identified and prioritized, which are then translated into Technological Building Blocks (TBBs). Linkages between technologies and capabilities are thus formalized and the specific innovation requirements are defined. Eight main R&T priorities have been identified in the SRA 2017 update process which have been transferred to eight systematic TBBs.
Based on the SRA, any CapTech member can propose ideas for new activities (projects, workshops, seminars, etc.) at any meeting. The ideas are collected and, if not immediately detailed with clear expression of interest, it is the role of the moderator to persist and revisit what remains to then re-launch or definitively discard an idea. The active involvement of non-governmental members in proposing solutions for governmental needs, with a consistent and systematic ground for dialogue can definitely encourage cooperation.
Simulation CapTech Portfolio:
There are several examples of EDA projects with the focus on simulation and experimentation like the project “Blue Force Tracking Experimentation”. In summer 2011, the CapTech Simulation was newly established with the goal to examine common structures and methods to support undertakings at the area of ‘Pooling and Sharing’. Focus of the activities were planned to support tasks concerning ‘Distributed Education and Training’ and ‘Distributed Sites and Experiments’. This resulted in the definition of one of the themes of CapTech, EU Distributed Experimentation Laboratory (EU-DEL). A distributed experimentation hub like this could serve as foundation for future examinations of potentials for capability enhancements of broader technical systems solutions up to common mission preparation training measures connecting distributed sites within a common mission environment, and, therefore, could become a central service tool for a variety of support requests from other client areas.
The realisation of a distributed EU-DEL architecture was envisioned to be implemented in consecutive steps of increasing complexity. The first step was a short, common Blue Force Tracking experiment, which included a VIP demonstration at EDA premises in Brussels to demonstrate the advantages of an EU-DEL architecture to EDA member states. Parts of this task were already accomplished at national level and were implemented within a broader, international frame during the project. The motivation of this project was to give support to distributed training and exercises and to develop an infrastructure for distributed assessments and experimentation using common European means at EDA.
Blue Force Tracking (BFT) is a function that includes all type of stakeholders (including non-military, also) and is an ideal support to a useful way of reflection for an EU doctrine. The objective was the detailed definition and implementation of the Blue Force Tracking Experiment together with the participating nations, as well as the preparation and adaptation of the national technology and system contributions in accordance with the planning and definitions of the CapTech, making maximum use of established sites and solutions. The experiment generated system solutions and experience which are a solid foundation for the infrastructure and procedures to be implemented at a future EU-DEL.
The CapTech as well supports the analysis and application of very challenging and game changer technologies like BIDADEMS: “Big Data in Defence Modelling and Simulation environments”. The aim is to understand and describe in details, in the life cycle of future military systems where M&S is involved, the possible impact of Big data to simplify military simulation design, generate more realistic scenarios and environments, improve exploitation of simulation results and to offer new opportunities and bring new functionalities. The output of this study should facilitate future EU defence collaborative projects to develop new generation of military simulation systems based on, or using, Big data tools and processes. It should also help to better exploit fast evolving dual use technologies for specific military M&S applications.
Another interesting project was ONSIM: “Intelligent Online Simulation Support for Operational Battle Management”. The purpose of this study was to investigate tools for gaining decisive advantages in operations by increasing the pace of decision making and thereby getting inside the opponent’s OODA-loop (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act). This study was focusing on constructing a conceptual design of a decision support system for air combat and long-range weapon battle management using embedded simulations closely integrated with novel AI methodologies. The conceptual design has been based on tools from the research frontier of simulation and AI technologies, and operational requirements. These requirements was to provide support for key decision making of the commander within a few minutes for course of action development for the next phase of an air campaign. This is done by extrapolation and evaluation by measures of effectiveness of a future red and blue air battle, and presentation of results through a user interface.
In the Space domain, the Cat B project MIRACLE 2 is ready to be launched to cover the issue of achieving high resolution and large area coverage with microwave sensors. The idea is to solve the problem of large conventional systems through replacing the large SAR antennas by a cluster of small antennas accommodated on micro-satellites. This approach yields several advantages as distributing an antenna over a cluster of closely coordinated small satellites can offer lower recurrent costs. Distributed systems will have as well a more graceful degradation and less vulnerability than a single large satellite.
Other activities: One important activity related to the CapTech Simulation is the management of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) M&S Platform. In this Platform, more than 40 European SMEs are registered. The aim is variate but mainly to give SMEs the opportunity to meet each other and establish agreements for European Modelling and Simulation initiatives. During the 6 virtual meetings that the platform has held there have been presentations from primes and clusters offering research opportunities to the SMEs of the platform. Moreover, information on the several actions and mechanisms that EDA is launching to support the work and competitiveness of SMEs is presented and discussed.
Next CapTech meetings will take place on the 24/25 October 2017 and 5/6 February 2018 at EDA facilities. A study supporting modelling and simulation methodologies is planned to be launched after the summer. The analysis of System Engineering and Architectural frameworks, together with the use of Model Based System Engineering are understood as important to the R&T Community being the CapTech Simulation the right place to maintain the discussions on these topics.
A common Workshop with the CapTech Information on Artificial Intelligence was held at EDA premises on the 31 May 2018. The possibility to launch specific projects on this subjects is under consideration and assessment.
The project MIRACLE II on Micro Satellite Clusters II is expected to be launched this year.