As the uses of simulation advance from training to test design to test evaluation, the demands on the validation of the simulation increase. Unfortunately, it is difficult to comprehensively determine whether a validation is ''sufficient," since (as discussed in Chapter 5) there are a large variety of defense systems, types of simulations, and purposes and levels of system aggregation for which simulations might be used.

Types of Simulation

The defense community recognizes three types of simulations: live, virtual, and constructive. A live simulation is simply an operational test, with sensors used to identify which systems have been damaged by simulated firings, using real forces and real equipment. It is the closest exercise to real use. A virtual simulation ("hardware-in-the-loop") might test a complete system prototype with stimuli either produced by computer or otherwise artificially generated. This sort of exercise is typical of a developmental test. A constructive simulation is a computer-only representation of a system or systems.

Thus, a simulation can range from operational testing itself to an entirely computer-generated representation (i.e., no system components involved) of how a system will react to various inputs. It can be used for various purposes—including test design and developmental and operational test evaluation—and at various levels of system aggregation, ranging from modeling a system's individual components (e.g., system software or a radar component, often ignoring the interactions of these components with the remainder of the system), to modeling an entire prototype, to modeling multiple system interactions.

The panel examined a very small number of simulations proposed for use in developmental or operational testing, and the associated presentations and documentation about the simulation and related validation activities were necessarily brief. They included: RAPTOR, a constructive model that estimates the reliability of systems based on their reliability block diagram representations; a constructive simulation used to estimate the effectiveness of the sensor-fuzed weapon; and a hardware-in-the-loop simulation used to assess the effectiveness of Javelin, an anti-tank missile system.

The panel did not perform an in-depth analysis of the validation of any of these models or their success in augmenting operational experience. However, preliminary impressions were that RAPTOR would be useful for assessing the reliability of a system only if the reliability of each component had been previously well estimated on the basis of operational experience and only if the assumed independence of the system's components was reasonable; the simulation for the Javelin was able to successfully measure system effectiveness for some specific scenarios; and the simulation used to determine which subsystems in a

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement