Agent-based simulation of unmanned surface vehicles : a force in the fleet
Steele, Melissa J.
Sanchez, Susan M.
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The Navy is considering the use of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) to reduce risk to personnel in maritime interdiction operations, and to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and force protection (FP) missions. In this thesis, alternative configurations of the prototype and operational uses of the USV are explored using agent-based simulation for three scenarios. An efficient experiment design alters settings of ten factors for the two ISR scenarios and 11 factors for the FP scenario. Some factors varied in the experiment are uncontrollable during operations, such as the total number of contacts, threat density, their maneuvering characteristics, and the sea state. The USV sensor range and endurance are also considered as well as factors set by the decision-maker for a particular mission: namely, USV speed and numbers to deploy. The results provide several operational and tactical insights with implications for patrolling and combat radius, and form the basis for a recommendation to use the USV in an active role in maritime missions. The results also support the guidance on the benefits of improving USV sensing and endurance capabilities, and find that simply increasing USV numbers is not necessary for attaining high mission performance.
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