DARPA Small Unit Operations
Planning & Decision Aids

Hostage Rescue MOUT Demonstration

This is an initial demonstration of plan generation, execution monitoring and plan repair for Small Unit Operations (SUO) forces performing Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT). The SUO forces are equipped with a Situation Awareness System (SAS) which includes a Planning and Decision Aid (PDA) which is intended to assist them in generating, refining, selecting, communicating, executing and repairing plans across multiple echelons.

Demonstration Features

Story Board

Initial situation: the action takes place in the village of El McKenna (shown right). 17 Opposing Force (OPFOR) soldiers are holding the local population as hostages in the three central buildings (32, 33 and 41). A Small Unit Operations Company is to be sent to neutralise the OPFOR threat and free the civilians. The SUO company start from a base camp about 20km from the village. They are to be transported by helicopter to two landing zones several kilometres from the village, march to form Operation Reconnaissance Points (ORPs) on the perimeter of the village, then enter the village and free the hostages.

Constructing a plan: the company commander sets the objectives for the overall mission. The objectives editor allows the commander to set up the Operation Order (OPORD) for the mission in four parts: assumed situation, assets and resources available, mission and time available.

Setting the objectives: the commander specifies the mission as three tasks to rescue the hostages from the three buildings. The commander can also specify the platoon to be used and the toehold building to be used for each of the three tasks. In this scenario the commander explores the use of different toehold buildings. The first COA is set up as follows:

rescue_hostagesplatoon_1 building_34building_33
rescue_hostagesplatoon_2 building_21building_32
rescue_hostagesplatoon_4 building_46building_41

Plan generation: the commander sets the time available to 4 hours. The commander sets this as the first possible mission specification and asks O-Plan to generate a plan. This completes successfully, but the time taken is longer than 4 hours. On examining the plan, the problem is found to be the use of building 21: this is a large building which take a long time to clear. The commander now sets up a second COA, based on the first but using building 31 as the toehold for 2nd platoon instead of 21. This second plan completes within the required 4 hours.

En-route replanning: the company is now dispatched in helicopters to the two landing zones. During the flight, the company commander is informed by the recon team on the ground that OPFOR have been preparing booby traps in building 46. The commander therefore generates a new COA to deal with this, using building 42 as the toehold for the 4th platoon rather than building 46 (shown right). Since the new COA completes within the available time, the commander tells the leader of the fourth platoon to go in via building 42.

Execution: the helicopters arrive at the landing zone and the commander then selects the chosen plan for execution. At this point in the demonstration a scenario page will now appear which allows the user to select which problems will be encountered during execution. The user should select ``concertina wire'' and ``snipers''.

Concertina wire: execution of the plan proceeds smoothly until 4th platoon reach their ORP, 200 yards East of building 42. At this point the scouts observe that OPFOR have prepared concertina wire in the open ground between the ORP and building 42, making the initial plan of moving directly into building 42 invalid. A number of options are available for plan repair: go around the wire, cut through, use satchel charges to blow through the wire, use the Bangalore torpedoes (currently assigned to 1st platoon), use the engineering team (currently assigned to 2nd platoon). Having viewed the options, the leader of 4th platoon decides to cut through the wire. Going around is risky since it takes the platoon into unknown ground where a trap may have been laid, satchel charges may not work and the other two options add too much delay to the plan.

Snipers: the 1st platoon takes its toehold building (34) successfully but encounters two snipers shooting from building 32 and building 46. The two images (see right) show the views that the two snipers have onto building 34. There are a number of options available to the leader of the 1st platoon for each sniper: suppress with other friendly unit, suppress with Advanced Fire Support System (AFSS), suppress with well-aimed smoke, use a tactical air strike, etc. However, not all of these are suitable: for example, AFSS and air strikes cannot be used if a friendly unit is occupying or planning to occupy the building. Suppress with other friendly unit is suitable when the other unit will be passing through the building that the sniper is occupying. The option of throwing smoke is available so long as the platoon holds sufficient smoke grenades.

In the chosen scenario, the snipers are in building 32 and 46. Since 2nd platoon are using building 32 as their toehold, one possible option is for them to assist 1st platoon by suppressing this sniper. However, since this building will eventually be occupied by the 2nd platoon, using AFSS or air strikes is not possible. For the other sniper, the three options are to use the AFSS, air strike or throw smoke. The leader of the 1st platoon elects to suppress the first sniper with fire from 2nd platoon and the second sniper with fire from the AFSS. The adjusted plan now executes to completion.

Contributing Technology

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AIAI Page maintained by John Levine (J.Levine@ed.ac.uk), Last updated: Thu Jan 27 14:03:45 2000