Loral lands $113M battlefield simulation pact

Loral Federal Systems knocked off teams led by Hughes Training and TRW Inc. to win a $113 million Army contract to develop advanced simulation technology that will train warfighters for battlefield and peace-keeping missions.

The Warfighter Simulation (Warsim) 2000 program will give Army commanders the ability to simulate nearly every aspect of the command and control environment, from the tank level up through echelons above corps. The new program will also plug into the joint task force simulation environment.

The Army Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command (Stricom) selected Loral after a six-month competition in which the bidders demonstrated their ability to design scalable simulation programs using object-oriented programming and other advanced technologies.

"The selection was based on which [bidder] had the best processes and the best capability to produce it," said Col. Jim Schiflett, project manager for Stricom's Combined Arms Tactical Trainer. "We did not necessarily select it based upon the best architecture" developed during the bidding process, Schiflett said.

Members of the Loral Federal Systems team include Dynamics Research Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Mystech Associates Inc., Logicon RDA and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) .

Four Systems Headed Out

Warsim 2000 will replace four legacy systems that focus on different levels of the C2 environment: battalion, corps, combat and service support, and intelligence activities. Instead of separate systems, commanders will be able to assemble the relevant components they need to simulate a given operation in Warsim 2000.

It is a software-intensive project that will incorporate the latest Defense Department research in simulation technology and conform with the High-Level Architecture for simulation programs defined by the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office.

The new program will also provide the land warfare component of the Joint Simulation System, DOD's future joint service simulation environment.

Stricom expects to field the first build of Warsim 2000 in fiscal 1999; this build will provide all the capabilities of the legacy systems. Loral will deliver an enhanced version in 2003 with more advanced functions.

Warsim 2000 will include the use of computer-generated forces to interact with training forces, which is much less costly than using additional DOD personnel, said Bob La Rocque, director of the National Simulation Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

To be fully effective, the use of computer-generated forces requires what is called cognitive or behavioral modeling, in which a computer simulates the command and control decision-making process, said Carla Powe, the Warsim 2000 program manager at Loral Federal Systems, Manassas, Va.

Warsim 2000 also will enable the Army to simulate peace-keeping activities, which often are more complex than battlefield operations, DOD said.

In large part, Warsim 2000's capabilities will stem from the use of object technology, La Rocque said.

Projects of this scope often collapse because the software becomes too complex to maintain, La Rocque said. Object-oriented programming, which allows developers to take a more modular approach, helps get around that problem.

The Loral team brings to the project extensive experience in past and current simulation programs, Powe said. Most recently, Lockheed Martin won the $500 million Advanced Distributed Simulation II contract for support services at Stricom. Loral is the Army's contractor for the Close Combat Tactical Trainer, while SAIC has worked with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on simulation research.

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