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Desktop Tactics Trainer for Maritime Patrol Aircraft


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems, Air Platform

OBJECTIVE: Develop a desktop trainer with a low-cost, computer-based, simulated environment where students can practice tactics learned in advance of discussions, simulator events, and flight events.

DESCRIPTION: Fleet Naval Flight Officers (NFOs) in the Maritime Patrol community are trained to: 1) conduct anti-submarine warfare first, 2) conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance always, and 3) conduct anti-surface warfare, if needed. They use the multi-mission aircraft platform to accomplish these missions. The aircrew consist of multiple personnel (both enlisted and officers) operating a multitude of sensors. Using their training, and the complex yet effective aircraft, they are tasked with finding and tracking submarines and ships in the world’s oceans.Current students work through a syllabus comprised of verbal knowledge discussion and quizzes, simulators, and flight events. Currently fleet students (upgraders) do not have any tool that allows them to try-out and practice learned tactics in a simulated environment without scheduling highly limited and valuable time in a multi-million-dollar simulator. This SBIR topic seeks to fill the gap between learning tactics from a book, and utilizing those tactics in a simulator event by providing a low-cost, computer based, simulated environment where students can try out what they learned and practice tactics in advance of discussions, as well as simulator and flight events. Low cost should be considered as a solution that is capable of running on a typical mid-range Windows computer (laptop or desktop), typical of what most training centers have organic to their building. By providing an additional "learn on your own" simulation tool, students can increase their knowledgebase before an event, and decrease the likelihood of event failure, maximizing the value of expensive crew simulator events, both in effectiveness and efficiency. The ultimate result of a basic computer-based simulation tool will be trainees who are more highly qualified at the end of their training, making them more ready and able to perform tasks.The job is a difficult one and although the crew has a capable aircraft, they need to be proficient in their roles making the most use of the maritime platform. Although crewmembers conduct training flights and their qualifications primarily in live flights, they maintain a strong reliance on various training devices, as real ships and submarines are typically not available to train maritime aircraft crews. Additionally, when given real surface and subsurface platforms to train with, they are U.S. or allied friendly force units. Training against real-world adversaries would provide a higher fidelity of learning.A computer-based tactics trainer is a cost-efficient and effective way to provide hands on tactics training on demand to NFOs in training, or as a means to maintain knowledge, skills, and abilities overtime. The idea of the computer-based tactics trainer was a Fleet born idea, specifically to address the eagerness of crewmembers to apply their classroom training in a practical way, and on their own time, rather than waiting for the next scheduled part-task trainer (PTT) or weapon tactics trainer (WTT) simulator event. The computer-based tactics trainer would allow them to load up a myriad of relevant pre-built scenarios, or create their own, to practice the tactical and decision-making aspect of prosecuting subsurface (or surface) entities. At first, this capability would look to replicate the Tactical Coordinator’s (TACCOs) role, as mission commander. These NFOs receive inputs from the various sensor feeds and fellow crewmembers and compile the information to formulate a plan. The tactics trainer would then let the TACCO in training implement different tactics against the same target and see how each might turn out. Due to the tactical nature of the trainer, the trainee will need to see realistic outcomes and information from his or her inputs and actions. Through this, trainees that would like to practice their lessons to mastery, or close to it, can sit down at a standard computer, likely within the training center, load the computer-based tactics trainer, and run through scenario after scenario when they have time to do so. There are likely a few ways to accomplish the same goal when conducting a mission and the tactics trainer is the gateway to open those possibilities to a creative TACCO. The trainee can then try to implement their more effective tactics, techniques, and procedures once he or she gets to the high-fidelity simulator events with the rest of a crew. The tactics trainer can build confidence in new trainees, maintain Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) of current crew members, and enable NFOs to use their valuable full simulator time in the most effective way.Ensure Risk Management Framework (RMF) and Information Assurance (IA) guidelines [Ref 5] are considered during early software development to ensure future compliance.Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances. This will allow contractor personnel to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and NAVAIR in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Design and develop an innovative approach for a computer-based tactical trainer in the maritime patrol domain, or a similar domain for feasibility demonstration. All initial demonstrations will use publicly available data during Phase I. Demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed approach to be further developed in Phase II. Consider RMF and IA guidelines [Ref 5] during early software development to ensure future compliance. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

PHASE II: Based upon the proposed solution in Phase I, develop and demonstrate a prototype using the maritime patrol domain, specifically targeting the role of the Tactical Coordinator. Several realistic scenarios will be developed, including a creative/sandbox mode where the trainee can design his or her own scenario to then engage with. Fleet stakeholders will assist with the identification of desired scenarios, first at the Unclassified level and later at the Classified level. A form of automated performance measurement will be included and pulled from fleet doctrine in order to inform trainees how they are performing based on the standard qualifications. Demonstrate the working prototype computer-based tactical trainer. Ensure that RMF guidelines to support IA compliance are met throughout software development.Work in Phase II may become classified. Please see note in the Description section.

PHASE III: Further develop and refine the system to suit the needs of end users based on Phase II feedback and testing. Develop additional scenarios based on fleet needs and finalize the sandbox/creative mode. Demonstrate the validity of the software for transition purposes defined by the end-user Subject Matter Experts in the maritime patrol community. Plan and execute final testing of the trainer to Fleet stakeholders. Transition the capability to Fleet stakeholders within their training environment. The final capability will require RMF, information assurance, and cybersecurity compliance with all relevant regulations and guidelines.The architecture and design of the training tool, especially creative/sandbox mode, can be useful in professional industry and academic environments where planning and process implementation is warranted during lower fidelity training. This tool could be useful in dynamic environments such as aviation or maritime domains where the nature of tasks changes frequently.

KEYWORDS: Training, Interactive, Desktop Trainer, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Tactics Trainer


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