In fiscal year 2016, the Senate Armed Services Committee ordered the Navy to increase its fleet to 355 ships. However, the lack of construction facilities impedes this endeavor. Rear Admiral Brian Luther, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budgets, estimated that the objective of 355 ships will not come to fruition until the 2050s. As a result, the U.S. Navy is exploring potential fleet restructuring options.

There is very high interest in supplementing traditionally manned naval assets with unmanned systems. One such system is the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). With top-level interest in both fleet and unmanned systems, the Office of Naval Research (N9) requested a method and process to test future capabilities of UUVs and an experimentation environment or tool to conduct such investigations. Moreover, UUVs have traditionally operated to support mine warfare and minor surveillance missions, so their impact in other roles is not understood.

The aim of this research was to use a model-based systems engineering (MBSE) approach in a computer-aided wargame, specifically the Joint Theater Level Simulation-Global Operations (JTLS-GO), to explore the effects of advanced UUV capabilities as an asset in the future U.S. naval fleet and as an alternative to the dwindling submarine force.

The MBSE approach is a multi-step process that explores the whole project from beginning to end. This approach led to the development of an advanced UUV concept and vignette, or concept of operations (CONOP), from Cobra Gold 2018 (CG18), a six-nation (PACOM sponsored) command post exercise (CPX). Creation of the vignette permitted the iterative examination of CG18 to identify capability shortfalls that the UUVs could address.

In this case, the vignette focused on interactions between an enemy (Sonoran) task force against an allied task force, including the USS Benfold (DDG-65) and RSS Endurance (LS-207). The results of the real exercise included casualties sustained by the aforementioned ships. These casualties were due to lack of situational awareness and lack of offensive firepower. These issues presented an opportunity and motivation for UUV injection into the simulation to augment sensors and firepower. Afterward, the process of identifying and establishing the operational requirements and the constraints of the new capabilities ensued.

The new simulated UUV design must be able to provide additional offense and reconnaissance capabilities. Measuring how well the UUVs performed and what attributes to vary led to the development of the measures of effectiveness (MOE) and measures of performance (MOP). These measures helped direct the formulation of the design of experiments (DOE), which guided the experimentation and assessment of the notional UUVs.

The MOEs included detection effectiveness and enemy attrition. The performance factors (attributes) of interest consisted of UUV speed, number of UUVs (UUV fleet composition), and sonar type (active or passive). The DOE involved the testing of these factors at three different values (levels). The combination of the factors at varying levels led to an experimentation with 18 design points.

The JTLS-GO model is an event-driven wargaming simulation designed by Rolands and Associates that serves to test multi-sided joint campaigns and operations. The program tests several layers of warfare including political, strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Although JTLS-GO is useful for simulating engagements, its functionality is to train headquarters staff to command and control units more efficiently. Thus, testing futuristic concepts using JTLS-GO alone is not feasible as it requires significant resources.

To capitalize the human response and results from CG18, the original JTLS-GO simulation program was transformed into an automated computer-aided wargaming (CAW) simulation with the help of the NPS Simulation Experiments and Efficient Designs (SEED) center. This transformation permitted multiple, repetitive simulations of future capabilities for statistical analysis. In all, 540 simulation runs were made, utilizing 810 hours of computer time.

This work was done by Lieutenant Herman Wong for the Naval Postgraduate School.For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) below. NPS-0023


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Evaluation of Future Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Capabilities in an Automated Computer-Aided Wargame

(reference NPS-0023) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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