Land Forces Australia 2021: Preparing Indo-Asia-Pacific with Capabilities for the Future Fight

synthetic environments

Land Forces Australia is a leading defense event in a unique region of the world. The Pacific Ocean is a key domain for several of the largest armed forces and some of the most ambitious nations. Protecting interests here requires remaining ahead of the curve and on top of the latest technology that can give a warfighter the edge.

In the modern connected battlespace, the warfighter needs every advantage possible. Land Forces Australia presents an opportunity for defense industry professionals to discuss how the connected battlespace should look. Trusted communications, secure navigation, and integrated air, land, sea, and space forces are the future, but what does it take to bring advanced capabilities to the warfighter?

The event, which takes place this week, seeks to bring manufacturers, systems integrators, and logistics experts together to discuss the full scope of warfare in the modern age. The Modern Integrated Warfare spoke with Enver Eyiam, Business Development Manager for APAC at Collins Aerospace, who shared the greatest challenges in the region and what he believes is the future of integrated warfare.

Modern Integrated Warfare (MIW) Editors: Land Forces Australia is now underway. Why is this event important to your team and what are you most excited about seeing or hosting?

Enver Eyiam: Land Forces Australia is the leading event in the region for organizations to demonstrate new capability and ideas, forming new collaborations to allow end-users to achieve their objectives efficiently.

This year, Collins Aerospace is excited to showcase the Cognitive Assessment Tool Set (CATS) that provides real-time measures of human physiological data, timestamped and synchronized with technical performance metrics. Collins Aerospace is the first to use human biometrics (i.e. cognitive workload) and task performance metrics to assess training effectiveness.

Data visualizations are provided to review individual and class aggregate results. These machine learning scripts quickly synthesize gigabytes of data, reducing the time it takes an instructor to process. It is a post-processing application that can be used for debriefing and improving instructional content.

Using the operator technical performance and cognitive workload measures, we use a recurrent neural network to predict performance 20 seconds into the future, based on five seconds of past performance with 96 percent accuracy in near real-time. This data can be used as a trigger to modify learning in real-time to sustain user engagement.

MIW Editors: What are the big trends in the industry that are driving the innovation and the integration that we see in everything from equipment, technology, and services?

Eyiam: Recently, we have seen many of our customers in the region progress on current and even new military programs. As a leader in LVC (Live Virtual Constructive), we are seeing many common trends in LVC training environments. Our customers have initiated discussions with us on LVC blended test and training links to live platforms with manned simulators in virtual environments that can add constructive forces.

As the battlespace becomes more dynamic and complex with the increasing use of technology, soldiers are being asked to operate quicker, faster, and with teams. This all increases cognitive workload. To be able to process more information in changing environments, it’s important to understand how to get the most relevant data to the soldier. Technology can be developed to mitigate risk, modify strategies, or adapt training to keep soldiers engaged.

A blended LVC environment enables the training participant – whether in a live aircraft or a simulator – to interact seamlessly, improving overall training effectiveness. This is one of the key elements of enabling a connected battlespace. Having that increased training effectiveness comes from soldiers training like they will be fighting.

With fifth-generation aircraft, battlespace complexities, security considerations, and evolving operational tactics, effective training in some scenarios is not possible using a wholly live or virtual environment.

MIW Editors: How are simulation and training evolving to meet the changing demands of integrated warfare?

Eyiam: Integrated warfare has called for an increase in demand for collective training. The goal is the same: to graduate competent and skillful warfighters.

The engineering industry has done an excellent job at increasing the technological capabilities in training and operational devices. These advancements have surpassed the capabilities of humans; for example, jets can fly faster than the speed of sound, yet we rely on humans to operate this technology.

This has resulted in the level of autonomy within warfare increasing exponentially. Doctrine writers and training syllabi are considering the risks associated with autonomous systems and training personnel appropriately. We’re currently very skilled at measuring hardware and software systems in our operational environments to detect and predict errors and failures, but we can do more to monitor the human system and assess the physiological demands we place on personnel to operate these technologies. We also need to understand how these physiological demands affect learning.

To do this, we use a wireless, untethered, unobtrusive, small, and lightweight tool called the Cognitive Assessment Tool Set (CATS). CATS collects, stores, timestamps, and synchronizes technical performance and physiological measures in real-time. This approach of human assessment is agnostic and can be applied to an entire workforce whether it be a pilot, radar operator, or a Joint Fires Observer.

We are assessing varying training adaptation methods to keep students optimally engaged to accelerate learning and identify specific areas where they need more attention. We are also assessing how technology like AI can assist in performance improvement to help distribute cognition across teams.

MIW Editors: Where do you see areas for collaboration between public and private sectors of the defense industry?

Eyiam: There are many opportunities for collaboration between defense forces, science, and technology organizations, academia, and industry. For example, the Science, Technology, and Research (STaR) Shots program, led by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group.

The aim of STaR Shots is simple: to deliver a capability and technological advantage for Australia over the next decade through eight STaR Shot areas that are aligned with the defense’s strategic priorities and future capability needs.

The STaR Shots program recognizes the need to drive innovation through engagement and collaboration with Industry and Academia to achieve mission success.

Stay tuned to @LandForces_Expo for real-time conference updates.