The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.

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September 2011

Defence and security

System of systems integration for real world, real time complex scenarios

SEWES DRFM-SigmaHat system

As a Defence Evaluation and Research Institute, the CSIR acts as the Department of Defence’s (DoD) in-house technology capability, contributing to the National System of Innovation in the fields of aerospace and security. A highly complex integration of this nature assists the DoD in the simulation of complex scenarios of conventional operations and operations other than war, by providing a virtual environment that allows scenarios to be played out in the real world in real time. This capability enables the research and development of sensors, identification and classification of objects, doctrine development and training.

Striving for accuracy
The integration involved the CSIR’s Sensors and Electronic Warfare Engagement Simulation (SEWES), its Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) hardware and SigmaHat, the organisation’s new Radar Cross Section (RCS) software prediction tool.

The aim was to create a more accurate hardware -in-the-loop (HWIL) simulator, says CSIR’s Duncan Stanton, who along with Johan Smit, Klasie Olivier and the help of Reeshen Reddy were the engineers behind this successful integration.

HWIL is a technique that is used in the development and test of complex real-time systems. In this case, real radars are “tricked” into tracking simulated targets, he adds. However modern radar systems have developed in such a way that they reject non-realistic target representations, he says. “Therefore, the challenge for us was to increase the realism of the target to be tracked,” says Stanton.

To do this, three different simulators were integrated into one system. According to Stanton, this was the only way the required realism could be achieved. Thus, integrating a high fidelity target response (SigmaHat); a proper scenario controller with realistic scenario dynamics (SEWES); and the hardware that can generate such a realistic target return in real time (DRFM), drastically improved the accuracy of the simulation, states Stanton.

The individual systems
SEWES is a few-on-few electronic warfare simulation environment with the capability of creating, performing and analysing scenarios. It is a scalable simulation that allows for a wide range of platforms and entities, consisting of various sensors to engage each other in a simulated realistic virtual environment. Simulated ‘what if’ scenarios can be displayed, stored and evaluated while the engagement is visualised in 3D.

SigmaHat is a radar scattering prediction tool for large complex objects. It can provide realistic estimates of the RCS of naval, air or ground platforms.

The DRFM is the hardware closing the loop with the radar under test that responds in real-time to radar signals. The DRFM records pulses received from the radar system and then recalls the recorded pulses back towards the radar, which now perceives these pulses as reflections from a target.

The integration of the DRFM with two software simulators – SEWES and SigmaHat – provides a high-fidelity hardware in the loop environment for radar and EW research and development such as target classification and deception jamming.


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