REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (November 14, 2023) – To fight in a multi-domain battlefield, you must test in a Multi-Domain Operations, or MDO, environment and that’s exactly what the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, or ATEC, can now offer to the Army.
During a series of test events in October 2023, ATEC made history by executing a live multi-domain distributed test effort involving land, air, space, and cyberspace components, utilizing eight ATEC locations. This Initial Operational Capability, or IOC effort was led by ATEC subordinate organizations, the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center and the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center.
ATEC’s Modernization Task Force set conditions for the MDO IOC event. The MTF included technical directors from all ATEC organizations. To support future and emerging test requirements, this task force spent months traveling to each test range and center to examine how ATEC could lean forward to support the Army of 2030. The task force identified Live Virtual Constructive testing as a key to achieve this goal. The benefits of distributed testing include saving time and money by allowing key leaders to evaluate testing in near real-time. RTC’s Distributed Test Control Center has been the standard-bearer for Distributed LVC testing for the past 20 years.
RTC’s Distributed LVC test capabilities are led by RTC’s distributed test professional Tilghman Turner and Dr. Ken LeSueur, RTC’s senior solutions architect, now serving as a contractor supporting the efforts after retiring in 2022. “There is a lot of versatility to this type of testing,” said LeSueur. “It doesn’t replace open-air dirt testing, but you can test in a real environment, get your parameters, then use modeling and simulation to test to a scale that would be too expensive to in real life.”
The MTF network enterprise team was then tasked to develop a test and evaluation network plan to allow the ATEC Enterprise T&E community to become interconnected and interoperable.
The MDO IOC objectives included the requirement to connect the ATEC enterprise on a distributed test network; integrate ATEC elements to execute the MDO test scenario; include a mixture of live, virtual, and constructive assets, along with military operators; publish a formal test operating procedure after the event; perform data collection/instrumentation analysis and report in a cloud-based environment; and educate the workforce on MDO, Distributed Testing, and LVC environments.
ATEC’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. James Gallivan, recently hosted Army senior leaders to demonstrate the MDO IOC. The MDO IOC team demonstrated the ability to connect and conduct a simulated test across the ATEC Enterprise. ATEC collaborated with the Test Resource Management Center's technologies to demonstrate operational test scenarios in land, air, space, and cyber environments with more than 60 tactical systems, hardware in the loop assets, simulations, and data collectors in a distributed test environment.
The MDO Test Network IOC ran several runs for record while collecting data for both near real-time and post-test analysis. The test scenario included threads that provided operational mission context while conducting developmental and operational testing that matches how our Soldiers will use the associated weapon systems.
Building a state-of-the-art digital sandbox is required for ATEC to continue to support the development of systems that can fight and win in an MDO environment. The cornerstone of this effort is a capability that pulls existing LVC T&E assets across ATEC together in real-time.
“The Distributed LVC environment will support ATEC’s modernization effort and directly supports the Army in the development of interoperable systems”, explained Col. Joseph Alexander, the commander of RTC. “PEOs and PMs can utilize this capability, test systems early during experimentation and during developmental test. The goal is to fully maximize the ability to reduce risk throughout the acquisition lifecycle of a weapon system. Ultimately this reduces risk, potentially reduces cost to a program and provides a more capable and safe weapon system. This represents the art of the possible.”
What is the value for the Army? Geographically distributed testing as conducted in the MDO IOC gives access to more resources, reduces cost, reduces risk and opens up the ability to utilize assets such as open-air ranges, hardware-in-the-loop facilities, and radars, among other assets. Utilizing live, virtual, constructive assets in a test increases scale, fidelity, and repeatability of tests that otherwise could not be realized with all live assets, providing an operationally realistic rest environment.
“This capability gives the Army an environment to support distributed user-involved Developmental and Operational system-of-systems experimentation and testing at scale,” said Gallivan on this critical Army demonstration.
To read more, click ATEC hosts multi-domain operations test demonstration