Automation Technology and Human Performance: Current Research and Trends

By Mark W. Scerbo | Go to book overview
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Table 1 Critical SEAD mission attributes
Critical Mission Attributes Description
Stimulating the Environment.Accurate location of threat systems are dependent upon threat emissions,
operator must decide how to stimulate system to emit
Fluid/Reactive TargetingOperator must adapt to change in the threat environment. Expectation based on
intelligence brief must be reevaluated as situations emerge
SAM Launch Reaction.A success SEAD tactic is to force threats to engage SEAD assets while
disengaging strike assets, operators must respond to such engagements
IR/AAA Threats.A primary threat to SEAD assets are passive threat systems that do not emit EM
energy. SEAD assets must be able to avoid, detect, and evade such threats
System Malfunctions.System operator must remain aware of system health and effect of system
malfunctions on capability and mission success.
Decoy Site/Anti-HARM Tactic.In an attempt to distract and confuse the SEAD operator, decoy emitters are often
deployed. SEAD operators must assess emissions to determine their validity.
Airborne Re-Planning.Based on an evolving battlefield, the SEAD operator must be able to conduct in-
flight mission replanning in response to unknown or unanticipated events.

assessment is conducted to determine the extent to which the mission situation maps to the situation anticipated during mission planning. If mapping to original plan is poor, then the crew must modify the plan to respond to the dynamics of the mission situation. Furthermore, the process of mission planning is critical to the ability of crews to effectively adapt to situation dynamics. One SME reported that the primary purpose of mission planning is to avoid surprise. Survival is dependent upon "staying ahead of the game" and not being caught off guard.

Effective mission planning is the means by which crews prepare for the unanticipated, develop contingencies, and contemplate situational possibilities and alternative responses. The characteristics of system behavior toward which cognitive systems engineering is focused during system design, are addressed operationally during mission planning. For this reason, mission planning represents an extremely fertile environment for gaining insight into the dynamics of the operational realm.

Table 2 Probes used during critical decision method session with SEAD subject matter experts.
Category Probes
What is being assessed?
Why is it being assessed (e.g., decision, monitor, coordinate, etc.)?
How is assessment conducted (e.g., information, inferences, assumptions, expertise, etc.)?
What is the product of the assessment?
What actions result from the assessment (e.g., decisions, reactions. etc.)?
What is the decision to be made?
What are potential options?
What are relevant clues to guide the decision maker?
How does the decision maker assess the quality of the decision?
What are the consequences of a sub-optimum decision?
Are opportunities available to modify or correct decisions?


We report here on work in progress towards applying cognitive system engineering to the design of UAVs. Our focus has been to understand the SEAD mission. Lack of existing UCAVs performing the SEAD mission calls for a blending together of knowledge elicited from pilots performing this mission with other


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