VIR­TUAL MIS­SION PLAN­NING – TA­BLE TOP : A VIEW­POINT

VMB also is use­ful in cor­po­rate se­cu­rity, its ad­van­tages be­ing im­proved vi­su­al­i­sa­tion; 3D ter­rain en­vi­ron­ment of the en­vi­ron­ment; build­ing in­te­rior and x-ray views en­hances sit­u­a­tional aware­ness Ta­ble top

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

The world awoke to the ex­ploit of US SEAL Team 6 pulling off a spec­tac­u­lar raid to kill Osama bin Laden and sprint his body away, Pak­istan obliv­i­ous to hap­pen­ing de­spite an In­ter-Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence (ISI) desk manned to mon­i­tor Osama, as has been re­cently dis­closed. Pic­ture of Obama and his staff mon­i­tor­ing the oper­a­tion live back home was flashed all over; gains of ad­vance­ment in tech­nol­ogy and NCW. Ca­pac­ity build­ing in NCW is pro­gress­ing in the In­dian mil­i­tary al­beit at slow pace.

The Army is de­vel­op­ing the Tac C3I Sys­tem in pur­suit of the same ca­pa­bil­ity. What is yet to be looked at and in­tro­duced is the Vir­tual Mis­sion Board (VMB), a de­ploy­able multi-touch dis­play ta­ble that en­hances op­er­a­tions and train­ing by im­prov­ing mis­sion plan­ning and train­ing through vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Sim­i­lar to a smart phone or tablet, it pro­vides a multi-touch in­ter­face that en­ables the ma­nip­u­la­tion of 2D and 3D ter­rain mod­els in­clud­ing cities and towns. The highly cus­tomised ta­ble touch-screen dis­play pro­vides sit­u­a­tional aware­ness through full vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of the event and en­ables cen­tralised mis­sion con­trol for mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions as well as se­cu­rity.

En­hanced vi­su­al­iza­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the VMB per­mits dis­pens­ing of paper maps, over­lays and elab­o­rate mod­els that of­ten re­quire an en­tire op­er­a­tions cen­tre with many dis­plays. Un­like these, the VMB al­lows users to vir­tu­ally nav­i­gate the ter­rain from sev­eral per­spec­tives in­clud­ing fly through and walk through that give the ac­tual feel of the op­er­a­tional/train­ing area be­fore the warfight­ers go into the op­er­a­tional area.

In ad­di­tion, the VMB syn­chro­nises the dis­play of in­te­grated live, vir­tual, and con­struc­tive en­vi­ron­ments to aug­ment the op­er­a­tions and train­ing process from plan­ning and re­hears­ing to ex­e­cu­tion and eval­u­a­tion. Ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the VMB in­clude: first, multi-touch in­ter­face – pro­vid­ing in­tu­itive nav­i­ga­tion of ter­rain model; sec­ond, ex­ten­sive map im­agery – dis­play of up to 15-me­tre map im­agery. Users can ap­ply graph­ics to the ter­rain model as well as dis­play lo­ca­tion and dis­tance in­for­ma­tion through sin­gle touch; third, mul­ti­ple nav­i­ga­tion modes – in­cludes fly through, walk through and drag. Each nav­i­ga­tion mode pro­vides its own per­spec­tive (on foot or flight) along with line of sight tool that al­lows users to see when their line of sight is clear or ob­structed; fourth, ex­ter­nal in­ter­faces – sup­ports an in­te­grated Test­ing En­vi­ron­ment through COTS prod­ucts like SE Core, One SAF, VB2 etc, as well as any pro­gramme of record (LVCG).

VMB also has a Level 9 Tech­nol­ogy Readi­ness Level; fifth, cus­tomi­sa­tion – en­ables ad­vanced cus­tomi­sa­tion fea­tures such as 3D ter­rain model of the op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment or build­ing in­te­rior and in­te­gra­tion into an Im­mer­sive train­ing En­vi­ron­ment with video and au­dio feeds and RFID track­ing; and, sixth, self con­tained and se­cure—pro­vides a fully self-con­tained sys­tem that is adapt­able for se­cure en­vi­ron­ments with the ca­pa­bil­ity for ex­ter­nal pro­jec­tion.

Sim­ply put, VMB is an in­no­va­tive so­lu­tion for op­er­a­tions and train­ing that fa­cil­i­tates plan­ning, re­hearsals, ex­e­cu­tion and as­sess­ment, lat­ter both pre and post the mis­sion or train­ing. With the VMB, it is easy to de­velop and save pul­ti­ple mis­sion plans. Con­duct of split-screen op­er­a­tions for mul­ti­ple users and view­ing is pos­si­ble. Mon­i­tor­ing of op­er­a­tions and train­ing can be done ef­fort­lessly and sig­nif­i­cant events can be tagged for af­ter ac­tion re­view. Ad­di­tion­ally, in­cor­po­ra­tion and record­ing of au­dio, video, and per­son­nel and ve­hi­cle track­ing data is pos­si­ble. Tai­lor made ad­van­tages in plan­ning mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions and train­ing com­prises: plan and re­hearse with vir­tual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of cho­sen ter­rain; 3D ter­rain model and 2D map of the op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment; user de­fined graph­ics tai­lored to each mis­sion; syn­chro­nised dis­play of in­te­grated live, vir­tual and con­struc­tive en­vi­ron­ments; qual­ity train­ing cen­tre fa­cil­ity at home sta­tion; syn­chro­nised play­back of track­ing data, video and au­dio via time­lines with events tagged; and, im­me­di­ate feed­back fol­low­ing ex­e­cu­tion.

VMB also is use­ful in cor­po­rate se­cu­rity, its ad­van­tages be­ing im­proved vi­su­al­i­sa­tion; 3D ter­rain en­vi­ron­ment of the en­vi­ron­ment; build­ing in­te­rior and x-ray views en­hances sit­u­a­tional aware­ness; and, it is pos­si­ble to in­te­grate with ex­ist­ing se­cu­rity ca­pa­bil­i­ties like per­son­nel and ve­hi­cle lo­ca­tion data, video, etc for holis­tic sit­u­a­tional aware­ness. Con­sid­er­ing that here is a so­lu­tion that al­lows warfight­ers to gather around a ta­ble, and plan their op­er­a­tions, weapon fire and train­ing, it would be use­ful for the mil­i­tary to ex­am­ine the VMB for pos­si­ble in­duc­tion into ser­vice.

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