webSAF -an easy-to-use, web-based graphical user interface for controlling semi-automated forces

FFI-Report 2019
Per-Idar Evensen Kristian Selvaag Madeleine Josephine Selvig Hallén Dan Helge Bentsen Håvard Stien Helene Rødal Holhjem
At the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) we address complex issues related to warfare. One of the research questions we are investigating is how to increase combat effectiveness in land force operations. As part of this work, we conduct detailed, entity-level simulations of battalion to brigade level operations in order to assess and compare the performance of different land force structures, which may vary with regard to composition of material and equipment, tactical organization, or operational concept. Our simulation experiments are conducted as what may be described as simulation-supported, two-sided (Blue and Red) wargames, where military officers participate as players/operators on both sides. For our use, traditional constructive simulation tools often lack the required level of resolution, are too complex and cumbersome to use, or are not flexible enough with respect to representation of new technologies such as new sensor systems, weapon systems, or protection systems. We are therefore developing webSAF – an easy-to-use, web-based graphical user interface (GUI) for controlling semi-automated entities in constructive simulations. This enables us to tailor the GUI and the simulation environment to our specific needs. The system has been named webSAF to reflect that it is a web-based system for controlling semi-automated forces (SAF). webSAF is tailored for simulation-supported, two-sided wargaming and requires only a minimum number of operators on each side. It currently has functionality for controlling indirect fire and manoeuvre entities simulated in Virtual Battlespace (VBS) and air defence entities simulated in VR-Forces. However, webSAF is in principle independent of the simulation tools in use and can be used to control entities in a federation of different simulation tools. In the future we plan to extend webSAF with functionality for controlling combat support entities simulated in VBS, and air entities simulated in VR-Forces. This report describes the functionality of webSAF version 1.0, which was completed in June 2019. First, we describe the background for this work. Next, we discuss our general requirements for simulation of land force operations for experimentation and analysis. Then we give an overall description of the simulation environment for webSAF, including the simulation tools in use. After this, we give a more detailed description of webSAF, including the functionality, design and implementation. Finally, we summarize our initial experiences with webSAF and outline our plans for further work.

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