Combat aircraft mission tradeoff models for conceptual design evaluation

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A methodology is developed to address the analyses of combat aircraft attrition. The operations of an aircraft carrier task force are modeled using the systems dynamics simulation language DYNAMO. The three mission-roles include: surface attack, lighter escort, and carrier defense. The level of analysis is performed over the entire campaign, going beyond the traditional single·sortie analysis level.

These analyses are performed by determining several measures of effectiveness (MOEs) for whatever constraints are applied to the model. The derived MOEs include: Campaign Survivability (CS), Fractlon of Force Lost (FFL), Exchange Ratio (ER), Relative Exchange Ratio (RER), Possible Crew Loss (PCL), and Replacement Cost (RC). RER is felt to be the most useful MOE since it considers the initial inventory levels of both friendly and enemy forces, and its magnitude is easy for the analyst to relate to (an RER greater than one is a prediction of a friendly force’s victory).

The simulation model developed in this research is run for several experiments. The effects of force size on the MOEs ls studied, as well as a hypothetical multimission aircraft deployed to perform any of the three missions (albeit at lower effectiveness than the speciallzed aircraft for their given roles but nonetheless with a higher availability).

Evaluation of specific technological improvements such as smaller radar cross section, higher thrust/weight, improved weapons ranges, is made using the MOEs. Also, a cost-effectiveness tradeoff methodology is developed by determining the acquisition cost ratio (ACR) for certain modified alternatives the baseline by determining the required initial inventory of modified aircraft to produce the same total effectiveness of the baseline aircraft.