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R2CD2 by 


R esearch on the  R obotics for the  D evelopment of  C oncepts and Capabilities

Date: 2016-2019


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The employment of robotic autonomous systems (RAS) and robotic swarms in the future military operational environment is going to be one of the key challenges of modern warfare. The NATO Modeling and Simulation Center of Excellence (M&S COE) has been developing the Research on Robotics for Concepts and Capability Development (R2CD2) project since 2016 to deliver an open, scalable, modular, and standardized prototypical architecture of M&S tools for experimentation on RAS and robotic swarms in three annual phases. In detail, it focused on experimenting with extending the C2SIM standard to unmanned autonomous systems (UAxS) for command and control (C2) and simulation system exchange of orders and reports. 


The R2CD2 2nd generation architecture implemented tactical network simulation and cyber effects capabilities to support experimentation and proof of concept of a recognized cyber image layer in a military Common Operational Picture (COP) to extend and improve situational awareness of SARs and swarms at the tactical and operational levels. The experiment, conducted in 2020, proved the feasibility of complex interactions between different systems in three different locations using several interoperability standards. The latest generation of this architecture, called R2CD2 EVO, introduces virtual simulation, a real ground control station (GCS) for real and simulated unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and a C2 system to provide a RAS/Swarm COP that includes the cyber layer. 


The platform allows us to study, analyze and countermeasure RAS systems and swarms, highlighting a behavioral script describing the process reacting to external stimuli from modeled sensors, depending on the mission tasks and the dynamic attitude of the simulated system. The platform data implementation scenario was developed by implementing an urban environment based on a future megacity model (WISDOM) and extends wargaming concepts to RAS, acting as a training test arena, not only for standard training of personnel employing RAS systems during a military mission, but also as attitudinal training algorithms projected to capability development. As a result of the research and development activities, the R2CD2 EVO has been proposed as a cornerstone for the development of a synthetic environment for RAS to support concept development, experimentation, training and exercise activities on multi-domain UAxS for both NATO and nations. 



One of the M&S tools used in the implementation of the RAS-SE project is the MASA SWORD constructive simulator. The objective was to demonstrate and experiment with the ability of this tool to be used in support of CAT activities, thus benefiting from the built-in analysis functions. These functions were evaluated to prove the concept of future deployment of autonomous robotic platforms in operational environments with military ground units in combat, combat support, and combat service support activities, taking into consideration hypothetical operational environments of 2035 and beyond. From a technical point of view, a RAS computer-assisted wargame, as an alternative to a tabletop wargame, could be performed with different teams operating with different simulators or taking advantage of the use of a platform (i.e., a constructive simulator) where it is possible to plan the operation by teams and then execute the TCA. The adjudication phase, in this case, will be devoted to the simulation that will provide the results of the different alternatives based on their "quantitative" analysis.

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