American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Virtual acquisition and Test Range (VaTR)with Applications
to Electronic Combat Evaluation
Col Eileen Bjorkman
, Timothy Menke
, Walter March
The Simulation and Analysis Facility (SIMAF) at Wright Patterson AFB is developing a Virtual acquisition and
Test Range (VaTR) capability. This capability is required to conduct both development and operational testing of
emerging weapon systems in a “systems-of-systems” network-centric warfare environment that includes a high-
threat density and non-traditional forms of warfare, such as urban operations.
Existing open air range
infrastructures cannot support the large number of test assets required to conduct realistic live testing of this
The VaTR will link live, virtual, and constructive modeling and simulation (M&S) facilities and test
ranges to provide a solution. A specific application related to the electronic combat test environment has already
been developed; the next application focuses on testing machine-to-machine interfaces. Current efforts include
connecting to existing test and M&S facilities, parallelizing avionics and sensor models to permit high-fidelity,
real-time modeling, and developing a real-time air combat architecture.
Each of these areas will be discussed,
including previous test programs, existing status, and challenges to implementation. Related efforts in the United
States Air Force (USAF) and other services will also be discussed.
HE concept of a virtual test range is not new or unique. However, in the past a series of obstacles prevented the
widespread use of M&S to augment test requirements.
These obstacles were due to limitations in resources,
computational power, network technologies, architectures, and business models in the acquisition and test
Within the acquisition community, a plethora of M&S tools supported acquisition decisions
throughout platform life-cycles, but not usually guided by modeling and simulation master plans for USAF
programs, let alone the joint community. Within the test community, the use of M&S was relegated to test planning,
test rehearsal or post-processing of data, but generally not used for direct test support.
The advent of affordable
desktop computers capable of computational power previously available only in high-end workstations, coupled
with new simulation tools, DOD architectures, networks, and appropriate resources opens up possibilities to expand
the use of M&S tools to support science and technology, acquisition, and test requirements.
While M&S capability is expanding, that capability expansion is not closing the gap in comparison to the
demands placed upon the acquisition and test communities. Network Centric Warfare (NCW), Electronic Warfare
(EW), and a shift from platform- and threat-centric to capability-centric acquisition and test processes are stressing
our ability as a community to meet these requirements. NCW, cooperative EW, and Capability Based Planning and