TALOSS: Three-Dimensional Advanced Localization Observation Submarine Software

This new project from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center will test whether an integrated 3-D display can give the commanding officers of US submarines the ability to make better decisions faster.

The US military has adopted the concept of network-centric (net-centric) operations as a means to develop speed of command. Under this methodology, speed of command has three parts: 1) the force achieves information superiority, having a dramatically better awareness or understanding of the battlespace rather than simply more raw data; 2) the forces acting with speed, precision and reach achieve the massing of effects, not solely the massing of forces; and 3) the results that follow are the rapid foreclosure of enemy courses of action and the shock of closely coupled events.

A significant issue in this concept pertains to the effectiveness with which distributed military combat systems can be integrated operationally to yield maximum battlespace awareness for the battle force. Net-centric warfare requires a common operational/tactical picture; that is, there must be a reliable and consistent common tactical picture (CTP) across platforms to provide dominant battlespace awareness in the multiwarfare environment.

The challenge in achieving speed of command is developing rapid, accurate awareness and understanding of the entire battlespace. Traditionally and currently, decision-makers develop a mental model of the battlespace by assimilating data from multiple 2-D displays and paper plots. A net-centric, or distributed, environment demands a new approach for presentation of the battlespace—both in the level of detail and in the manner in which it is presented.

The TALOSS system is designed to enable the rapid and/or accurate assimilation of complex information in the undersea battlespace. TALOSS is capable of generating a common undersea tactical picture, which includes threat danger zone estimation, sensor contact tracking and one's own ship's position and orientation presented in combination with navigational/topographic/bathymetric information. It is hypothesized that this integrated undersea picture can enable faster and more accurate decision-making, as well as provide improved planning and decision aids.

General Architecture

TALOSS is compatible with and has been tested under Red Hat 7.0–9.0 as well as Slackware 9. Linux was chosen as the operating system for several reasons: 1) it is compatible with current and future submarine combat systems; 2) it is a generic UNIX operating system, which means software and script files developed under Linux are transferred readily to other UNIX operation systems, such as HP-UX and IRIX; and 3) it is an open-source operating system with a large user community that can be tapped easily for system optimization and maintenance. TALOSS is comprised of three main modules: the Feeder, the Bezel and the 3-D Display. Figure 1 is an architecture diagram of the baseline software.

Figure 1. Baseline TALOSS Architecture

Tactical Data Input

Feeder is a program that reads in and sends submarine Combat Control System (CCS) data to the main display through TCP/IP sockets. The program can be linked directly to the combat database, or it can run reconstruction and demonstration data through ASCII input files. Feeder is a flexible module that can be reconfigured easily to import multiple databases. Because of this flexibility, the TALOSS system is compatible with non-submarine-related applications, such as oceanographic/topographic 3-D maps, 3-D velocity fields and 3-D radar/sonar maps, as well other applications involving objects moving in a 3-D environment.

Simulation Control

The Bezel is an information/control GUI written using the Fast Light Tool Kit (FLTK). It controls the 3-D main application (Main App) and, to a limited extent, the Feeder program. In addition to its role as a system controller, the Bezel also serves as a system status indicator. One way it displays system status is through an Open Inventor 3-D window showing the top-down view of the battlespace centered about one's own ship, labeled ownship. It is essentially a 2-D view of the 3-D scene giving the user an orientation point into the 3-D scene from which to locate ownship's position and orientation rapidly. The Bezel and the Main App communicate to each other through Shared Memory. Figure 2 shows a complete TALOSS display featuring the FLTK control Bezel linked with the Open Inventor 3-D display.

Figure 2. Complete TALOSS Display

In Figure 2, observe the pull-down menus at the top of the Bezel. They allow the user access to basic TALOSS functions, such as exiting the program, changing the view, changing the map color, changing the depth regime limits and so forth. Similarly, located on the bottom of the Bezel are two rows of toggle buttons that allow for the control of the tactical information presented on the 3-D display of the undersea battlespace.

The right side of the Bezel is distinct from the top and bottom in that its purpose is to provide pertinent tactical information, such as: 1) ownship, target and weapon information; 2) target and sensor selection status; and 3) numeric target containment region information. In addition, because the entire system is synchronized to a common operational clock, whose time is given in the Navy daytime group (DTG) format, that too is displayed on the top-right side of the Bezel. Figure 3 shows a representative illustration of the right side of the Bezel with corresponding feature description.

Figure 3. Right-Side Bezel Features



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