The Air Force Research Laboratory commander, Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello, wants an integrated analysis capability and common framework that allows understanding the effectiveness of directed energy and kinetic weapons, whether used separately, cooperatively or synergistically.
To meet this need, AFRL created the Integrated Weapons Environment for Analysis, or IWEA, which brings together, for the first time, analysis tools that are used to evaluate the effectiveness and military utility of potential weapons technologies into a common analysis environment. Before IWEA, the military utility attributed to a particular weapon technology was assessed individually with varying degrees of fidelity.
“Bringing the tools together in a common analysis environment increases the overall fidelity and allows analysts to consider the synergistic benefit of combining different technologies like kinetic and directed energy weapons,” Masiello said. “IWEA provides a comprehensive weapons strategy to better meet warfighter needs.”
The IWEA project began in 2012 as a multi-directorate project under the AFRL Commander’s Research and Development Fund with researchers from the Aerospace Systems, Directed Energy, Human Effectiveness, Munitions, and Sensors Directorates supporting development. AFRL’s chief technologist Dr. Morley Stone highlighted IWEA as a “shining example of AFRL cross-directorate collaboration.”
Masiello designated the Directed Energy Directorate as the lead directorate with Linda Lamberson as program manager responsible for leading integration of the directed energy analysis tools into the IWEA environment.
Capt. Melanie Walton, the deputy program manager from the Munitions Directorate, was responsible for leveraging and enhancing existing kinetic weapon analysis tools and for providing the Endgame Framework software that was used to integrate all of the lethality tools together. IWEA is also now using the Analytical Framework for Simulation, Integration, and Modeling for all mission level simulation requirements.
Leveraging from research in autonomy, the Aerospace Systems team provided novel aircraft/weapons employment optimization tools to rapidly and efficiently explore the best combination of weapons and weapons load-outs for specific mission areas. Human Effectiveness provided tools to evaluate collateral personnel hazards from directed energy employment. Sensors provided the interface to their high fidelity sensing data analysis toolset.
“AFRL envisions many uses for the IWEA environment,” Lamberson said. “AFRL technologists can use IWEA to identify specific design requirements that will support research and inform technology investment decisions, ultimately resulting in capabilities that better meet our warfighter needs. Also, analysts from AFRL or other Air Force and Department of Defense agencies can use IWEA to generate weapon effectiveness data for use in military utility studies designed to evaluate alternatives to meet specific mission needs.”
Modeling and simulation is a critical component of AFRL’s support to Air Force development planning, Masiello said.
“AFRL is leading the way for the Air Force in new modeling and simulation paradigms which includes IWEA. The integration of IWEA with our AFSIM modeling program will be a powerful combination of AFRL M&S tools directly supporting development of national defense capabilities.”