Broadly defined, simulation refers to a method for implementing a model over time. The term "modeling and simulation" (M&S) will refer collectively to those techniques that can predict or diagnose the performance of complex systems operating in the undersea environment.
The functions of M&S can be categorized as either prognostic or diagnostic. Prognostic functions include prediction and forecasting, where future oceanic conditions or acoustic sensor performance must be anticipated. Diagnostic functions include systems design and analyses, which are typically encountered in engineering tradeoff studies.
In the context of naval operations, simulations can be decomposed into four fundamental levels: engineering, engagement, mission and theater (National Research Council, 1997). Engineering-level simulation comprises environmental, propagation, noise, reverberation and sonar performance models. Engagement-level simulation executes engineering-level models to generate estimates of system performance in a particular spatial and temporal ocean environment when operating against (engaging) a particular target. Mission-level simulation aggregates multiple engagements to generate statistics useful in evaluating system concepts within the context of well-defined mission scenarios. Finally, theater-level simulation aggregates mission-level components to analyze alternative system employment strategies. Figure 1.3 illustrates the hierarchical relationship between engineering-level simulations and underwater acoustic models. Aspects of simulation will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter 12.
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