Tactical Air Combat Maneuver - TACM

Defense Systems, Inc.; McLean, VA

TACM portrays a many-versus-many engagement of interceptors with a tactical strike group, including supporting fighters. The model supports analysis of the effectiveness of interceptor and escort speed and maneuverability, various interceptor approach geometries, the strike group's disposition of its escorts, AIM weapon parameters, the engage/parry strategy of the escorts, clear-to-fire inhibitions on interceptors and escorts, sensor parameters and telltale reporting by AEW/AWACS in support of the strike group.

Detail and complexity of the TACM model design have been deliberately held to the minimum commensurate with its objectives in order to provide run-time simplicity and speed. The model carries action through repeated firing attempts of the interceptors and parries by the escorts, but does not proceed to analyze any dog-fighting evolutions beyond two-dimensional flight. Curvilinear flight paths and relative motion are followed in detail during maneuver, but not the level of aerodynamic energy transfer.

The model is designed as a hybrid time-step-event-sequence simulation, with a two-stage time-step interval (long cycle until first attack turn starts, then shifting to short cycle). Geography is represented as a plane surface, with all aircraft positions in x-y coordinates. Differential aircraft altitudes are used in evaluation target signatures and sensor swept volumes for detection purposes. Aircraft speed changes are rendered instantaneously, but flight paths are represented as "true" curves with resultant dynamic relative motion changes.

The strike group, escorts and interceptors are all treated as individual aircraft with identifying "tail numbers". Each aircraft starts from a specific x-y location with its own heading and speed. Each escort is assigned a formation station on the basis of an offsetting relative range and bearing from the strike lead. Each interceptor has an "activate time" in the simulation, at which time his intercept starts toward his specifically assigned target, most likely, a member of the bomber group. Interceptors are aimed individually at ranges and bearing offset relative to their targets. All starting positions, speeds, activate times and interception targets are set by user-specified inputs.

An interceptor proceeds via collision intercept path to the initial aiming point, offset to his target, and then converts to a pursuit attack path. By choice of the offset specification, the user may make the intercept virtually pure collision, round-house, up-the-tail, down-the-throat, or other mode.