Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE)
What is BSI’s Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE)?
MACE is a physics-based, many-on-many simulation and threat environment with a large order of battle, ideally suited for both standalone mission rehearsal and distributed mission simulation. MACE provides computer generated forces (CGF), sometimes called semi-autonomous forces (SAF), as well as scenario creation, management and IOS features. Using MACE, you can quickly and easily extend your distributed simulation framework. MACE supports the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) architecture including simulation management, entity state, fire, detonate and emissions PDUs. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like pricing information on MACE.
The One SAF You Need for Standalone Training
MACE’s large order of battle is fully extensible by the end-user, meaning users can add new platforms, weapons and emitters, even customize RADAR pulse, scan and beam characteristics. Because MACE can generate semi-autonomous air and ground forces (including air defense systems), it is the only CGF/SAF you need for robust, standalone CAS training even in contested/non-permissive environments. MACE was designed to put the power of distributed simulation in the user’s hands, with a logical, consistent and easy-to-understand user interface and fast learning curve.
Standalone Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Training
MACE includes both Call-for-Fire (CFF) and 9-Line interfaces for quickly tasking constructive entities. When used with MetaVR’s Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG), MACE is the only CGF/SAF you need for standalone JTAC training. MACE also has fully flyable flight models, and supports commercially available USB-based HOTAS devices such as the Thrustmaster Warthog joystick. Thus MACE supports both constructive and pilot-in-the-loop standalone CAS (close air support) training.
A Worldwide Battlespace
MACE is built upon a mature Geographic Information System (GIS) core. That means your virtual Battlespace is the entire world! That’s important because it means MACE can be used for operational mission rehearsal and not just for a couple of ‘canned’ training scenarios. MACE supports dozens of industry standard raster and vector formats, including NGA standard Compressed Arc Digitized Raster Graphics (CADRG), Compressed Imagery Base (CIB), GeoTiff, Shape (SHP) files, Google Keyhole Markup Language (.kml), and NGA’s Vector Product Format (VPF).
Multi-Threaded Line-of-Sight (LOS) Analysis
MACE takes advantage of today’s multi-core processors. MACE supports both Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) elevation data. MACE is multi-threaded and uses thread pooling to provide extremely fast line-of-sight performance – essential for real-time, many-on-many simulation. MACE supports DTED0-DTED3, 30m and 90m SRTM data, as well as VRSG MDS and MDX elevation.
Integration with Existing Mission Planning Systems
MACE works seamlessly with existing mission planning systems, such as the Portable Flight Planning System (PFPS), Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) and FalconView. Users can import routes/orders of battle into MACE, or create them from scratch in MACE itself. MACE missions are not scripted; actions can be pre-planned or dynamically injected into the scenario in real-time.
Energy Based Aerodynamic Models for Constructive Aircraft
MACE uses an energy-based aerodynamic model for aircraft flight. Specific Excess Power (Ps) is the primary driver for describing an aircraft’s flight performance. At positive values of Ps an aircraft is free to turn, climb or accelerate; when Ps is negative an aircraft is forced to decelerate or dive or a combination of both. Ps is also useful to depict an aircraft’s speed-altitude envelope, if Ps has reached zero, then the aircraft can no longer climb nor accelerate thus the aircraft has reached either its ceiling or maximum level velocity. When an aircraft maneuvers, it retrieves the specific excess power of the aircraft at its current altitude, Mach number, and g-loading. It then initiates a climb angle, turn angle, and rate of acceleration based on its specific excess power data-tables. As the aircraft’s altitude, speed, and loading changes, its energy state changes. The Energy model continuously retrieves the available excess power and adjusts its climb angle, turn angle, and rate of acceleration to reflect the new energy state. An energy based aerodynamic model is a good balance between reasonably-close aircraft performance and limited CPU usage when trying to simulate large numbers of constructive forces.
Physics-Based Weapons Delivery
MACE uses a physics-based aerodynamic model and limited guidance model for missile fly-outs. Missile aerodynamics are derived from weapon thrust, drag, and weight. Weapon thrust is calculated by the motor’s mass flow rate and specific impulse. Drag is calculated by the missile’s drag reference area, coefficient of drag (subsonic and supersonic), speed, and atmospheric conditions at the flight altitude. Missile weight is reduced as propellant is burned. The missile flight profile is based on a four-stage approach that includes a free fall time, booster stage, sustained stage, and glide stage. The guidance model will shape the missile’s flight path to a loft, direct intercept, or dive profile while maintaining the target within the seeker’s gimbal limits in pitch.
MACE also uses a physics-based aerodynamic model for ballistic fly-outs. The ballistic flight path is determined from drag and weight. Drag is calculated by the weapon’s drag reference area, coefficient of drag (subsonic and supersonic), speed, and atmospheric conditions at the flight altitude. The weapon’s pitch is matched to its flight path angle. The ballistic model/equations are flexible enough for bombs, artillery, and bullets.
Simulating an IADS
MACE can simulate an entire Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) including Early Warning, Acquisition, Height Finding and Target Tracking RADAR systems (down to the pulse level). During mission simulation, the EW, HF, ACQ and TT radar sites in ACE are linked together to form an Integrated Air Defense System (IADS). The ability to realistically simulate an IADS is a clear differentiator between MACE and simulations which rely on scripting or simplistic rules to trigger radar activity. In MACE, a complex algorithm is executed for each sensor in the battlespace. Does the sensor have line-of-sight to the target? Is the target obscured by stand-off jamming? Has the sensor ‘burned through’ the jamming, if present? Has chaff bloomed in the resolution cell? Is the radar already tracking its maximum number of targets? Is the target beyond the sensor’s maximum range as determined by the Radar Range equation, taking into account the sensor’s frequency and target’s radar cross section, and not just a simplistic ‘max range’ number? Is the site operating autonomously, or is it linked into the IADS? Can the site still communicate with its parent or child sites? Is the target already assigned to another target tracking site? Which target is the most attractive? MACE answers every single one of these questions, for every single sensor in the battlespace, many times per second.
Configurable Parametrically Generated Emitter Audio
MACE provides the user with a toolset for defining their own beam, scan and pulse patterns for each emitter. This pulse-level fidelity enables the generation of emitter audio from the pulses as they’re processed by the receiver. Both crystal video and super-heterodyne receivers are modeled within MACE.
Putting it All Together
One of the shortfalls MACE was designed to address is the huge gap between full-fidelity Flight Mission Trainers (FMTs) and other commercially available, DIS capable man-in-the-loop simulations. We simply could not find a product that offered the key capabilities required to interface with FMTs in the DIS/DMO environment. Vendors with good flight physics lacked fidelity in their RADAR models or could not generate RWR audio from the emissions PDUs. Vendors that could generate emitter audio did not have physics-based flight models. So while MACE can be used as a capable threat environment to generate constructive ground, surface and airborne platforms & weapons (at substantially lowers costs than our larger competitors), it can also be used as a “dial a friend” or “dial a foe” simulation, providing physics-based flyable flight models, surface-to-air and air-to-air weapons flyouts, air-to-ground ballistics, pulse-level, multi-mode RADAR simulation and dynamic, parametrically-generated emitter audio for low-cost, man-in-the-loop simulation. When coupled with an image generation system such as MetaVR’s Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG), MACE is a true turnkey simulation. With MACE, you can also quickly transfer control between virtual (man-in-the-loop) and constructive (computer) control, meaning you can take control of and fly an F-16 (for example, to shoot a HARM at a target in support of a strike mission) then send that F-16 back to autopilot (constructive control). Seconds later, you can be flying a MiG-29, overriding the constructive logic for a more realistic air-to-air engagement.
MACE comes standard with a library of avionics and combat displays, all of which can be resized and arranged in savable configurations. Standard displays include:
- A Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), which unlike most of our competitor’s versions is not a simplistic system, but a true physics-based audio processor that generates audio on-the-fly from the processed pulses in the simulated battlespace
- A programmable Countermeasures Dispensing System (CMDS) that supports burst/salvo programming for chaff & flare dispenses
- An Infrared Warning Receiver/Missile Warning System (IRWR/MWS) for detecting incoming missiles
- Bomb and HARM Release panels
- A full suite of avionics displays, including several Altimeter/Artificial Horizon/Airspeed Indicator/Compass/HSI options, and VOR and TACAN control panels. MACE can read DAFIF in SHP file format, and the VOR and TACAN control panels can be used to dial in VORs, VORTACs, TACANs, NDBs and VOR-DMEs.
In addition, a separate Electronic Warfare version of MACE is available (MACE-EW) that includes everything in MACE plus several advanced EW displays, including:
- An analog-type Panoramic Receiver(“Pan Scope”) for tuning in specific signals, with an expanded trace for fine-tuning signals
- A digital-type Pan Scope/Self-Protect Jammer (SPJ) for tuning and jamming specific signals
- A Direction-Finding (DF) scope which will provide Angle-of-Arrival information to signals from either Pan Scope
- A simulated Communications Jamming System (CJS)
- A simulated integrated Electronic Countermeasures display
- A simulated Towed Decoy jamming system
Who uses MACE? Click on a pin below to find out!