On the Military Utility of Spectral Design in Signature Management : a Systems Approach

University dissertation from Helsinki : National Defence University of Finland

Abstract: There is an ongoing duel between military sensor development and developments in signature management. The last decade, with warfare characterized by joint expeditionary operations and asymmetry, has favored sensors. However, on account of the worsening security situation in Europe, there is now also an increasing interest in efforts to increase survivability of own military platforms. Spectral design is one of several promising technologies with extensive research potentially suitable for Low Observable platforms. It involves creating desired spectral optical responses from surfaces, in this case reducing contrast to background, by choosing suitable materials and structures. The challenge to a military decision-maker, faced with inherent uncertainties concerning the future and with limited resources, is how to choose among alternative capabilities, technologies or equipment. Correspondingly, on account of the system character of the signature attribute, researchers in technologies for signature management has difficulties communicating relevant basis for these decisions. The scope of this thesis is therefore to find and analyze patterns in decision situations involving technology or technical systems for military use, and the purpose is to propose conceptual and methodological contributions to support future decisionmaking. The technology focus is on spectral design and the application in focus is signature management of Low Observable military platforms. The research objective is addressed from a military system and capability centric perspective using methods from several disciplines in the military sciences domain. The result is synthesized from four separate studies: 1) on spectral design using systematic review of literature, 2) on military utility using a concept formation method, 3) on modeling for how to operationalize a link between spectral design and measures of military utility using methods of military operations research, and, 4) on cases of systems engineering of military Low Observable platform designs. In summary, the result of the work presented in this thesis is a compilation of related work in military sciences, systems engineering and material optics into a framework to support effective decision-making in relevant contexts. The major contribution to theory is a proposed concept called Military Utility, capturing how to communicate the utility of technical systems, or technology, in a military context. It is a compound measure of Military Effectiveness, Military Suitability and Affordability. Other contributions can be expected to support decision-making in practice; - the so-called Ladder-model is a template for how to quantitatively operationalize the military effectiveness dimension of Military Utility regarding the use of spectral design; - an applied Ladder-model is demonstrated, useful for analyzing the military utility of spectral designs in Low Observable attack aircraft; - a probabilistic framework for survivability assessments is adopted into a methodology for doing the analysis, and lastly; - a generic workflow is identified, from relevant development programs, including decision-situations that can benefit from the adopted methodology.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.