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Towards a persistent capability for NATO MTDS

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Author: Lemmers, A. · Huiskamp, W. · Mevassvik, O.M. · Pink, S.
Publisher: SISO - Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization
Source:1st Simulation Innovation Workshop, SIW 2016. 12 September 2016 through 16 September 2016
Identifier: 762722
Keywords: Distributed simulation · HLA Backbone · Mission training · Human & Operational Modelling · MSG - Modelling Simulation & Gaming · TS - Technical Sciences


NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) and nations have a common need for training of air combined and joint collective tactical training. Due to reduced availability of live assets in the military air space, the general restrictions inside the airspace and the significant effort it takes to prepare and conduct live multinational exercises it is an agreed necessity to evaluate future options for conducting such training. Since most NATO nations already own simulators for their "general" pilot training in order to save costs, the goal is to achieve collective tactical training by networking these national simulator assets. This concept is referred to in NATO as Mission Training through Distributed Simulation (MTDS). Several NATO and national activities have been conducted in this area and some nations have national implementation programs for networking their national air force simulators. With these activities and programs, MTDS has achieved a level of maturity that makes it feasible for NATO to implement a persistent capability to support operational readiness training. A strong air warfare capability is one of the pillars of NATO's defence while training of aircrew is a national responsibility, thus implementation of MTDS operations has to be a combined effort of NATO and the nations. Therefore in October 2013 the NATO task group MSG-128 "Incremental Implementation of NATO MTDS operations" was set up with the objective to establish essential elements for a permanent NATO MTDS capability and validate these elements through initial operational test and evaluation. The approach of MSG-128 is two-fold: define a reference architecture and concept of operations (CONOPS) for a permanent MTDS architecture (focus on the longer term), and start building the MTDS environment incrementally by organizing a yearly MTDS exercise (focus on short term). The MSG-128 task group consists of three teams: OPS (Operational), TEK (Technical) and IMPL (Implementation). The OPS team focused on developing the CONOPS. This team mainly consists of active military operators. The TEK team focused on defining the MTDS reference architecture and establishing the standards, technologies and agreements for the technical framework. The IMPL team main tasks are to set up the yearly exercises and connecting simulation assets. This paper outlines the MTDS architecture and describes the technical choices and federation agreements that have been made in setting up the MTDS exercises. The MTDS architecture will incrementally transition to a NATO ratified HLA 1516™ 2010 (HLA Evolved) based solution. In 2014 an initial technical interoperability exercise took place between the NATO AWACS simulator and German Eurofighter flight simulators. The NATO AWACS also provided the Computer Generated Forces. In 2015 a second training exercise was executed where the initial NATO AWACS/German Eurofighter setup was extended with Netherlands F-16 simulators and Canadian F-18 simulators. In 2017 a third training exercise will be held extending the MTDS environment with a Norwegian CRC (Control and Reporting Centre) and ground radar, and a French Rafale simulator. This exercise will use an HLA Backbone. The lessons learned from the exercises are fed back into the NATO MTDS reference architecture. Antycip Simulation; Aptima; et al.; MAK Technologies; NATO Modelling and Simulation Group (NMSG); Pitch Technologies