Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance- ISR. ISR simulation is the provision of simulated full motion video from sensors that are fitted to UK or Allied air assets, both manned and unmanned, fixed wing or rotary aircraft. Why is this so popular in the UK? Simulated ISR is created using sophisticated software applications that exactly mimic operational air assets including their kinetic effects and duration on station. When providing simulated ISR it does not involve any real aircraft, therefore the cost to operate simulated ISR far outweighs the cost of having live air assets. Simulated ISR is a performance thirsty application that runs on the very latest gaming spec laptops or PC’s. Exact metadata overlay, a series of alpha numeric characters that have meaning, are skilfully replicated as is the exact functionality of the sensor. This includes digital zoom, height above target and aircraft location. Why else is simulated ISR video feeds on the increase? The UK has some fairly inclement weather and many operational sensors cannot see through cloud cover, so if there is a low cloud base over the training area in the UK the sensor will be unable to see through it. Simulated ISR can operate without these weather parameter issues. Military aircraft often are just simply unavailable to support the exercise or they may have been tasked with higher priority missions. The sensor may be un-serviceable or the aircrew of the respective air asset may just have run out of aircrew hours and are required to rest. Simulated ISR is unaffected by weather systems, aircraft availability, un-serviceable sensors or restrictive crew hours. When delivering ISR managed services the simulated sensors can remain on tasking for as long as the UK MOD are requesting them. All of the sensors fitted to organic UK air assets can be simulated to great effect. On numerous occasions some individuals believe they are looking at the real thing.
1 Sqn RAF Regt were recently supported with simulated ISR on a CT2 level training. An Ops room was established in the Sqn hangar, where Nautilus used VBS3 software to push a simulated MQ9 ISR feed. mIRC chat was provided to enable communications between 1 SQN RAF and the simulated sensor operator from the ‘GCS’ and the Ops room. VOIP communications and an email server was also used to pass any still imagery during the target development phase. RAF commanders were provided with JTAC ISR full motion video handheld Android Samsung devices in rugged Juggernaut cases, which ran the Nautilus COP (Common Operating Picture). The COP facilitated live Friendly Force tracking provides both Situational Awareness on the ground and in the Ops room. A pre-recorded video added to a simulated news feed provided the context and relevance to the exercise providing a more open source intelligence picture.
As the Sqn were led in to the FUP by the RAF regiment snipers, Nautilus the day before pre-positioned battlefield simulation and medical simulation in the target area of interest. As the lead RAF C/S crossed the Line of Departure and gained entry in to the first compound, Nautilus simulated a suicide bomber. The sound and visual effects combined with sim bodies triggered a friendly force casualty, which was represented by high fidelity mannequin SimMan 3G Trauma. The RAF Team medics swiftly treated the casualty and evacuated to a safe location.
Once the target objective was secured, the order was given for the Sqn started to exfil. A this point they came under sustained effective enemy fire from the simulated .50 cal HMG. The 0.50 Cal was vehicle mounted and being remotely operated. The RAF JTAC quickly dealt with the technical and was neutralised in short order.