Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)

M. Battlespace Environments

1. Scope

The Battlespace Environments technology area encompasses the study, characterization, prediction, modeling, and simulation of the terrestrial, ocean, lower atmosphere, and space/upper atmosphere environments to understand their impact on personnel, platforms, sensors, and systems; to enable the development of tactics and doctrine to exploit that understanding; and to optimize the design of new systems.

Technology subareas for Battlespace Environments in the ASTMP are organized around a particular taxonomy that is specified in the Technology Area Plan prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Director for Research and Engineering. Two two technology subareas that apply to the ASTMP are the Terrestrial Environment and Lower Atmosphere Environment.

2. Rationale

Commanders at all levels must know how the environment will impact their operations as well as the operations of their adversary and use this knowledge for military advantage. Sensor and weapon system developers must also understand the environment’s effects on system performance to optimize design effectiveness. This investment will provide the following improvements to future warfighting capabilities:

3. Technology Subareas

a. Terrestrial Environment

Goals and Time Frames

The Terrestrial Environments subarea focuses on technology developments in the areas of cold regions research and topography. This work encompasses the study, characterization, and modeling of the physical phenomena, processes, interactions, and effects associated with terrain, its surface features, and the overlying atmosphere at scales of interest to ground combat forces.

Cold Regions engineering research focuses on the effects of snow and frozen ground on both materiel and winter operations. Topographic research focuses on better understanding the terrain through improved data generation, analysis, and modeling through the exploitation of multisensor data. Objectives in Terrestrial Environments technology development include the following:

Cold Regions

The winter environment presents a severe challenge to not only the performance of materiel but also its operability. Snow and frozen ground dramatically alter the propagation of acoustic and seismic energy. The infrared and millimeter wavelength signature of terrain features change markedly with freezing and thawing. Icing may dramatically change aircraft performance and impact communications capability. The ability to quantify and model these processes and their effects are essential to system design, test and evaluation, mission planning, and war gaming. The Cold Regions technology effort objectives are to—

Major Technical Challenges

Development Milestones

(1) Transition signal inversion techniques for seismic-acoustic sensor self-calibration in a dynamic winter environment to Wide Area Mine (WAM) developers (FY97).

(2) Provide baseline data on the low temperature performance of composite materials to U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (FY97).

(3) Provide techniques, kits, and support systems to reduce low temperature degradation of engineer materiel performance to U.S. Army Engineer Center and School (FY98).

(4) Provide critical data for integrated winter operation tactical decision aids (TDAS) (FY99).

(5) Integrate seismic-acoustic sensor performance in a synthetic environment to optimize sensor performance (FY00).

(6) Transition model of the spatial variability of atmospheric icing to support communications and aerial operations TDAs to the U.S. Army Aviation Center and School and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School (FY00).

(7) Integrate physics-based multi-band dynamic environment models for prediction of sensor performance and optimizing sensor design (FY01).


Providing improved knowledge of the terrestrial environments through topography encompasses varied requirements. Efforts are needed to provide technology for rapid digital terrain data generation, terrain visualization, data/software standardization, terrain analysis, data management, and realistic mission rehearsal and training. The warfighter needs these types of capabilities to achieve superior knowledge of the battlefield through a common picture of the battlespace, to win the information war and thereby dominate maneuver.

Topographic science is the delineation and representation of positions and elevations of natural and man-made features. Science and technology efforts as shown in Figure IV-M-1 concentrate on remote sensing, spectral characterization/analysis, mapping, point positioning, land navigation, surveying, terrain/environmental analysis, and their effects on tactical operations, battlefield visualization, and modeling and simulation.

Figure IV-M-1. Topography Science and Technology

Objectives in topographic and geospatial information development include:

Major Technical Challenges

Development Milestones

(1) Transition correlated dynamic battlefield visualization capabilities (terrain and climate) for Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) to the Army (FY97).

(2) Demonstrate identification of natural and man-made materials using far infrared and laser induced fluorescence (FY97).

(3) Demonstrate the feasibility of passive fluorescence for identifying natural and man-made materials (FY98).

(4) Demonstrate multispectral imagery/hyperspectral imagery integration with digital terrain elevations for terrain feature extraction (FY98).

(5) Test initial field capability for automated feature attribution using multispectral imagery (FY98).

(6) Incorporate radar and hyperspectral imagery into DrawLand visualization software and transition software to Open GL architecture (FY98).

(7) Devise neural network image data classification system (FY98).

(8) Develop new methods for portraying terrain analysis product reliability (FY98).

(9) Transition techniques for filling terrain/climate data gaps through kriging/cokriging (FY98).

(10) Incorporate automated feature extraction techniques into the Digital Stereo Photogrammetric Workstation (FY99).

(11) Link 3D model and texture library to data base generation capability (FY99).

(12) Finalize development and testing of terrain/precipitation model (FY99).

(13) Investigate terrain data exploitation from high resolution spectral satellite systems (FY99).

(14) Complete Hypermedia Transfer Version of the Desert Field Guide (FY99).

(15) Complete study of micro electro-mechanical system (MEMS) for advanced positioning and navigation (FY00).

(16) Develop improved user interface to Defense Software Repository System (DSRS) Mapping, Charting, and Geodesy Domain (FY01).

(17) Refine terrain/climate models for modeling and simulation (FY01).

(18) Investigate capability for automated feature attribution based on terrain reasoning (FY01).

(19) Demonstrate visualization and command planning tools for urban data sets (FY01).

(20) Improve terrain data inferencing methodologies (FY02).

(21) Demonstrate a spectrally enhanced multisensor exploitation capability (FY02).

(22) Demonstrate linkages of image-based visualization systems with feature attribute data bases (FY03).

b. Lower Atmosphere Environment


The Army’s role in the Lower Atmosphere Environment subarea encompasses three technology efforts: Current Battlespace Weather, Predicted Battlespace Weather, and Decision Aids. One particular Service will assume the lead in specific research and development areas, and the work will be adapted by other Services. The Army’s efforts in these areas are in accordance with and keyed to objectives laid out in the TAP.

The goal of the Current Battlespace Weather thrust is to provide the ability to determine weather information for a battle-size area anywhere in the world. This is accomplished through direct or remote sensing of atmospheric parameters. The Predicted Battlespace Weather thrust concentrates on methods to predict atmospheric conditions over a battle-size area for any time from the present up to two weeks in the future. These predictions use analysis of any available data, as well as meteorological modeling. The goal of the Decision Aid thrust is to provide information to warfighters on the effects of the current and predicted atmospheric conditions. This involves assimilating and disseminating weather information and threshold values for all weather sensitive systems in order to produce tailored decision aids.

Successful accomplishment of these goals will provide the Army with the capability to Own the Weather, using knowledge of the lower atmosphere environment and its effects to gain an advantage on the battlefield.

Current Battlespace Weather

Accurate and timely weather and atmospheric information over critical parts of the battlespace will provide future higher resolution forecast models with the initialization data to increase their accuracy. Combining the new capabilities of remote sensing systems operating from ground, air, and space platforms with covert, small signature, in situ sensor platforms will result in new realtime data of the battlespace and target area meteorology environment. The changing role of U.S. forces into a reactive force deployed to global small-scale conflicts requires that this information be available on extremely short notice throughout the world. With the evolving capability of high resolution battlespace forecast models, as discussed below, this data will provide the critical initialization information and confirm the model predictions for commander confidence of planning decisions. Basic research focuses on the measurement of small-scale phenomena in the planetary boundary layer, including aerosols along with weather parameters. Objectives include the following:

Major Technical Challenges

Development Milestones

(1) Demonstrate, at the Army Field Artillery School, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, a downsized prototype atmospheric Profiler, trailer mounted, with an integrated Radio Acoustic Sounding System (RASS), capable of being towed by a HMMWV. Make measurements in one-eighth the time required by the Mobile Measurement Set (MMS), and reduce by 33 percent the number of vehicles and soldiers required (FY97).

(2) Complete development of neural net software for retrieving met satellite temperature soundings, and couple with an improved Profiler radiometer to eliminate the need for the RASS. Eliminate the requirement for the Profiler RASS, making it possible for a Profiler antenna to fit on top of a Single Integrated Command Post (SICP) shelter (FY98).

(3) Complete development of neural net software for direct retrieval of wind speed and direction from met satellite radiance data. Improve the accuracy of met satellite measured winds by 50 percent (FY99).

(4) Determine limits of laser-induced fluorescence for remote sensing and identification of chemical/biological aerosols under realistic battlefield conditions, and provide results to ERDEC (FY99).

Predicted Battlespace Weather

Relying on the Navy and Air Force large-scale, long-term prediction models allows the Army to concentrate on resolving the smallest battlespace scales, below one kilometer in space and one hour in time. As advances in the regional and theater scale models allows reliable forecasts beyond 10 days, the Army will reduce the space and time scales to 100 meters/1 minute and below to resolve the boundary layer processes that influence the propagation of acoustic and EO energy, and the motion and dilution of chemical and biological agents on the battlefield. Running as nested applications below the large-scale models, the battlespace model will provide the spatial and temporal data that fills in the scales provided by the larger models. Basic research focuses on transport and diffusion modeling and optical effects of the atmosphere on propagation through turbulence. Specific objectives include the following:

Major Technical Challenges

Development Milestones

(1) Demonstrate in Task Force XXI a 24-hour Battlescale Forecast Model (BFM) using client/server connectivity to the Army Battle Command System (ABCS). Reduce forecast errors by 35 percent for winds, temperature, pressure, and humidity while running on Army Common Hardware computers (FY97).

(2) Deliver to the Integrated Meteorological System (IMETS) a non-hydrostatic moisture microphysics BFM for clouds and precipitation forecasts. Improve adverse weather forecasts by 40 percent while running on Army tactical computers (FY99).

Decision Aids

Mission planning and weapon selection on a future highly mobile, extremely lethal battlefield will require the commander to have available the best possible information on the impact of the weather and atmosphere on the mission objective. Decision cycles will shorten, forces will be more dispersed and independent, and thus future decision aids must operate on the tactical platforms, using all the data the sensors and model provide and providing the output in the most effective assimilation format. Weather impact decision aids will allow the commander to employ the weather as a combat multiplier. Specific objectives include the following:

Major Technical Challenges

Development Milestones

(1) Demonstrate integrated EO/acoustic/gas/biological agent propagation with tactical weather data and DIS visualization tools for mission planning at Division Task Force XXI. Improve multi-component mission planning by 40 percent over current binary decision aid technology; improve information assimilation by 60 percent over 2D map decision aid displays (FY98).

(2) Demonstrate decision aids that display 3D sound levels over terrain (FY98).

(3) Demonstrate satellite remote sensing of battlespace environments and tactical use of such information in operational decision aids to CECOM (FY01).

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Battlespace Environments is shown in Table IV-M-1, below.

Table IV-M-1. Technical Objectives for Battlespace Environments

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Table IV-M-1. Technical Objectives for Battlespace Environments

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