Magazine article National Defense

Air Defense Planning Aided by Simulations

Magazine article National Defense

Air Defense Planning Aided by Simulations

Article excerpt

War-planning software currently in development for Navy Aegis cruisers will give air defense planners at sea--via digital simulations--a capability to try to predict how their proposed layout of forces would affect the outcome of the battle.

The system is called the area air defense commander (AADC), a program that started in 1998. It automates air defense planning--a task that traditionally has been accomplished with paper and pencil. AADC produces a digital, 3-D picture of the battlefield, which expedites the process of conducting "what-if" scenarios for air defense.

AADC is a command and control system that uses data received from other sensors to develop alternative solutions for placing blue forces in the theater. The air defense commander tool allocates resources and does not manage individual engagements.

There are three prototypes being tested today. The Navy plans to install AADC on 12 ships by 2006, as part of an overall upgrade program for the Aegis cruisers.

One of the prototypes is at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, in Laurel, Md., where the system first was developed. The other two systems are being demonstrated on the USS Shiloh and the USS Mount Whitney.

"The warfare area commander function in the past was done manually with pencils," said Navy Cdr. Dean M. Pedersen, AADC program manager. "The system that we are building automates those functions and gives [the commander] better information," he said, during a conference on naval theater ballistic missile defense, in Columbia, Md.

The main reason the Navy is trying to carve out a role for AADC is that it expects to be "first on the scene when the crisis begins," said Pedersen. The AADC system can be operated by the ship force, organically. A reserve team of about 33 people would be sent onboard the cruiser to augment the force. "Once you enter crisis support mode, the cruiser would support the joint task force commander," he explained. "AADC would transition capability ashore for joint operations. A regional area defense commander would remain on the cruiser.

AADC has encountered "challenges in development," said Pedersen, because of the various concepts of warfare "shaped uniquely by the services, independently, for air defense. The AADC operators would be coordinating defensive roles, for example, for the Army's Patriot and theater area (THAAD) anti-missile systems. "We also are working the air defense picture against cruise missiles and manned aircraft," said Pedersen. …

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