The use of Modeling and Simulation (M&S) in Test and Evaluation (T&E) provides test data to support system concept exploration. It provides valuable information that can increase confidence levels, decrease field test time and costs, and provide data for pre-test prediction and post-test validation.
M&S in T&E can be divided into three (3) categories:
- Constructive Simulations: A computer simulation with no hardware
- Virtual Simulations: A computer simulation that uses actual hardware
- Live Simulations: Use live exercises where troops use actual equipment under actual environmental conditions that approach real life combat.
Validity of M&S
Simulations, manual and computer-designed, can complement and increase the validity of live T&Es by proper selection and application. M&S must be approved for use through verification, validation, and accreditation processes. – – See M&S Verification, Validation and Accreditation
Support to Test Design and Planning
The M&S can assist in the T&E planning process and can reduce the cost of testing. Computer simulations may be used to test the planning for an exercise. By setting up and running the test exercise in a simulation, the timing and scenario may be tested and validated.
Support to Test Execution
Simulations can be useful in test execution and dynamic planning. With funds and other restrictions limiting the number of times that a test may be repeated and each test conducted over several days, it is mandatory that the test director exercises close control over the conduct of the test to ensure the specific types and quantities of data needed to meet the test objectives are being gathered and to ensure adequate safety.
Support to Analysis and Test Reporting
M&S may be used in post-test analysis to extend and generalize results and to extrapolate to other conditions. Simulations can be used to extend test results, save considerable energy (fuel and manpower), and save money by reducing the need to repeat data points to improve the statistical sample or to determine overlooked or directly unmeasured parameters.
Simulations are no longer stove-piped tools in distinct areas, but are increasingly crossing disciplines and different uses.
With M&S becoming increasingly more complex, more expensive, and more extensive, testers must be thorough in planning their use and subsequent technical confidence. Testers are expected to be involved increasingly earlier, including the Operational Test Agencies (OTA), if the subsequent T&E results are to be accepted. Simulation Support Plans (SSPs) are program documents that span the many simulations, their purpose, and their expected credibility.
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