The effects of terrain on a system of systems
Ong, Cher Howe.
Lucas, Thomas W.
Choo, Chwee Seng
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Modern combat operations are predominantly joint or combined arms, in which different forces and weapon systems come together to fight as a single entity - as a system composed of many different systems. For land forces, system of systems typically exists at battalion and above-sized forces. This thesis investigates the effects of two types of terrain (urban and rivers) on combat operations. Using a synthesis of various simulation techniques (rapid scenario generation (RSG), red teaming, experimental design, data analysis, and cluster and outlier analysis), 2,827 of these operations are simulated to understand how the individual systems perform and provide insights into the effects of terrain on battle outcomes. With the operational scenario requiring the simulation of force sizes that were the largest ever attempted (battalion and brigade for the urban and river crossing scenarios, respectively) in Map Aware Nonuniform Automata (MANA, an agent-based simulation environment), an RSG tool was developed. This tool allows future MANA users to easily create combat models at the systems level. Results indicate that both types of terrain are disadvantageous for the attacker, especially the urban terrain. It is found that success in the attack relies critically on the survivability of armor protection, specifically to be able to survive at least three good shots from antiarmor weapons. In addition, for both the defender and attacker, responsive communications was identified as a key determinant of battle outcome and a threshold of less than 1.5 to 2 minutes is required for communications to be effective in enabling effective indirect fires.
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