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There is little debate that a submarine’s performance, and therefore success, in time of war will depend heavily on the experience and training of the crew. Prior training is most critical in the beginning of the conflict. The tragedies of the first patrols of WWII attested to the lack of adequate peacetime training. Not until patrol-experienced officers gained command did the tide tum in our favor.

Today the situation is better than it was some forty years ago, but realistic training is unnecessarily lacking. Some of the best submarine training received is during Pre-Overseas Movement (POM) workups and certifications. The expensive at-sea portion of a POM workup uses a U.S. SSN augmented with an unrealistic noise maker, conned by a Commanding Officer using his American training to imitate the enemy. Simulators ashore, or onboard training systems, could help fill the gap. Until now the realism of the simulated characteristics and tactics (using a U.S. SSN) have left much to be desired.

The Air Force Tactical Fighter Community have also appreciated the need for realistic simulations. in particular those which involve human combat behavior. Early Tac Air simulations modeled one-on-one USAF tactics. A simulation that created a multi-threat environment, as experienced in Vietnam, was required. To fill this need the Air force Center for Studies and Analyses began an effort in 1976 that has led to a highly successful computer simulation called TAC BRAWLER.

TAC BRAWLER is a Monte Carlo event-driven computer simulation of multiple aircraft combat. The simulation follows a dual approach to the modeling of human decision processes, making use of what are termed “information-oriented architecture (Figure 1 ). Human decision making under conditions of uncertainty is the model’s major strength. Even stress or lack of skill can be simulated. It would appear that the simulation architecture which is used can be directly transferred to the problem of multiple threat submarine combat. The interactive program is in place. Only the model characteristics of U.S. and Soviet aircraft, weapons, electronics and fighter tactics need replacing with models of U.S and Soviet submarines, weapons and sensors. Special attention has been paid in the design of the program to simulating cooperative tactics and to capturing the importance of situation awareness. The program also avoids one of the major pitfalls of computer models in general and tactics development models in particular. To keep from solving the wrong tactical problems or arriving at unrealistic solutions to the right problems, the program has relied heavily on comments and criticism from current, qualified tactical pilots in the construction and validation of the program. An essential part of adapting the model to the submarine warfare community would involve the same type of input from current, experienced submariners. The end result could provide a submarine crew, in training, with a fighting enemy having realistic Soviet signatures and human (vice stereotype) reactive tactics based on Soviet doctrine.

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The program’s ability to model many different mixes of platforms and weapons in complex threat environments makes an adaption of the air-to-air model to submarine versus submarine warfare a step that appears to be technologically practical and fiScally prudent. The system has been extensively used by the Air Force for over ten years. Most military aircraft manufacturers own a version of the model for use in validating new aircraft and equipment design efforts. It could also add increased credibility to our wargaming efforts. It seems only prudent for the submarine force to take advantage of work already completed in order to realize significantly increased training effectiveness and tactical and design development improvements.

Tom Murray

Naval Submarine League

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