Developing Tools, Techniques, and Methodologies

Ballistics Survivability, Lethality, and Vulnerability (SLV)

Ballistics SLV involves developing, sustaining, and improving the tools, techniques, and methodology to analyze and assess threat-target interactions. Innovative scientific tools, techniques, and methodologies are foundational to advancing the ability to identify, understand, quantify, and model the potential effects of both emerging and future weapons against fielded and developmental systems. Research areas include the following: development and application of computational techniques to deliver faster and higher-resolution SLV analysis (in terms of both target geometry detail and the scale at which target-threat interactions are modeled); improved visualization and interactive SLV analysis; robust, efficient and accurate methodology for estimating vehicle and occupant vulnerability to under-body blast threats; methodology for lethality analyses of the effects from multiple ballistic impacts and from ballistic threats coupled with nontraditional directed-energy threat effects; and methodology and tools to integrate ballistic SLV tools and capabilities that provide a holistic understanding of the system or platform mission readiness.

Design of Experiments (DOE) for Ballistic SLV Testing, Modeling and Simulation

System, subsystem, and component-level testing and modeling and simulation (M&S) is used to address the survivability and/or lethality of Army aviation, ground combat, Soldier and munitions systems against the full spectrum of battlefield threats. In the Ballistic Vulnerability/Lethality Division of SLAD, we conduct tests and M&S-based analyses which include determination of ballistic penetration through materials, failure of vehicular components, loss of subsystem functionality and impact of damage on a vehicle's ability to conduct military missions. Researchers will conduct fundamental research to develop novel DOE methods that will enhance the validity, accuracy and value of our SLV products to the Army, decision makers, and the LFT&E community.  Posters: Design of Experiments for Ballistic Testing, Modeling and Simulation

Principal Investigators:

James Edwards,, (410) 278-2467

Under-body Blast Methodology Development and Validation

The proliferation of under-body blast (UB) threats in recent military conflicts requires the development of modeling and simulation (M&S) tools to assess the effects of UB threats on vehicles and occupants.  A primary focus of our methodology development centers on computational efficiency and robustness to meet the analysis requirements of ground vehicle evaluators serving the test and evaluation (T&E) community.   ARL’s high-explosive experimental facilities offer the ability to study the fundamental phenomenology of buried blast threats and to develop data required for model validation.  Complementary laboratory facilities offer the capability to simulate the effects of UB threats to occupants–in a non-explosive environment–with the use of anthropomorphic test devices.  Opportunities exist in the areas of: 1) advanced instrumentation methods that are sufficiently robust to capture the time and spatial distribution of buried blast loading on structures, 2) advanced algorithms to develop meta models from extremely complex computational physics models, 3) novel methods for modeling complex soil and explosive interactions with vehicle structures, and 4) automated techniques to develop complex meshes of vehicle structures. The ultimate vision of the methodology development is a common modeling and simulation toolset that will span the application space from research and development to T&E.  Posters:  Under-body Blast Methodology Development and Validation.

Principal Investigator: 

Craig Barker,, (410) 278-0214

Vertical Lift Performance, Sustainment, & Survivability Research Center

Objectives: To provide opportunities for Government, Industry (large & small) and Academia to collaboratively develop solutions that enhance rotorcraft performance, sustainment and survivability for both Military and Public operations.  Posters: Vertical Lift Performance, Sustainment, & Survivability Center.

Areas of research that are included within the scope of this center include:

  • Survivability to Ballistic threats
  • Survivability to DE weapons such as HEL
  • Survivability to hard and crash landings (caused by a threats, reliability failure, etc…)
  • Development and assessment of survivability technologies
  • Rotorcraft state awareness for pilot and crew
  • Integration of multiple disciplines for design optimization
  • Methods to enable integration of computation, modeling, test, & analysis with live tests and hardware-in-the-loop simulations in virtual and composite virtual-real environment accommodating realistic loading conditions

Available facilities at ARL:

  • Extensive ballistic experimentation facilities
  • Unique system, subsystem and component-level test fixtures such as blade test rigs
  • Complete operating helicopters that can be used for many types of experimentation
  • Propulsion and drive-train labs
  • Computational facilities including HPC

Principal Investigator: 

Rick Grote,, (410) 278-6294

Cyber Survivability, Lethality, and Vulnerability

Cyber SLV involves the development of tools, techniques, and methodologies to conduct cybersecurity analysis and assessments on technologies, weapon systems, information systems and networks. Cybersecurity includes the prevention of damage to, the protection of, and the restoration of computers, networks, electronic communications systems and services, wired and wireless communication, and electronic communication, including information contained therein, to ensure the information’s availability, integrity, confidentiality, and nonrepudiation. Cyber SLV research is focused in the following areas: cyber-vulnerability attack techniques; cybersecurity vulnerability assessment techniques of emerging technologies and defensive cybersecurity operations; cyber vulnerability assessment and instrumentation tools leveraging advanced intelligent agents, data analytics, advanced cyber visualization; malware reverse engineering and analysis; and security code analysis.

Traffic Based Model Generation

Analysts target protocols of interest and evaluate their survivability against a set, x, of known attacks. Variations in the effectiveness of such attacks have been observed across assessments. Often, these can be attributed to modifications within the target protocols.

This objectives of this opportunity is to: 1) develop a tool that will automate the generation of network protocol models that can be used to support the analysis of systems that use these protocols; 2) Enable further analysis of network protocols within stringent time constraints by automatically generating client software capable of communicating with them. 

Principal Investigator: 

Jaime C. Acosta, Ph.D,, (575) 678-8115

Center for Cyber Analysis & Assessment (CCAA)

The Center for Cyber Analysis and Assessment (CCAA) focuses primarily on leveraging the analyst’s viewpoint when tackling cybersecurity research problems. The goal of the CCAA is to expand the current state of the art related to analysis and assessment research to include security evaluation, forensics, intrusion identification, protection and detection. Outcomes of the center include applicable theories, algorithms and models.

The CCAA will develop a collaborative portal that focuses on cyber forensics, the advancement of fundamental theory, models and algorithms that will benefit the regional cybersecurity community. Through collaboration the portal will develop:

  • Techniques for efficiently identifying cross‐domain vulnerabilities, potential impacts and remediation strategies in systems and networks.
  • Innovative tools, technology and concepts for the automated identification of complex, memory resident vulnerabilities.

Principal Investigator:

Jaime C. Acosta, Ph.D,, (575) 678-8115

Electronic Warfare Survivability, Lethality, and Vulnerability (EW SLV)

EW involves the development of new tools, techniques, and methodologies to assess the impacts of emerging EW threats on Army electronic systems. Understanding how these EW threats have the potential to adversely affect basic operation and mission effectiveness of Army systems enables the Army to research, develop and apply mitigation strategies for these technologies and their associated effects. EW SLV research is focused in the following areas: advanced techniques in electromagnetic environment (EME) modeling, generation, and measurement (including both the threat technology inherent EME and intentional electronic attack (EA)); controlled environment development and analyses (laboratory, hardware in the loop (HWIL), anechoic chamber); counter-countermeasure development and analysis (threat EA mitigation techniques); impacts of dynamic EA threats on communications systems; impacts of dynamic EA ultrashort-pulsed lasers on optical sensors; and effects of emerging threats on position, navigation, and timing (PNT) systems, sensor systems, and autonomous systems (both airborne and ground based).

Laser Vulnerability of Optics and Electro-Optics

A critical concern on the modern battlefield is the vulnerability of Army optical and electro-optical systems, as well as the soldier, to lasers. The Army is continually introducing new and innovative optical systems operating in bands from the visible to the far infrared which are integral to the concept of a lighter, faster military. These advanced sensors require an ever-evolving approach to hardening to reduce active laser signature as well as jamming and damage vulnerability to lasers without reducing the optical systems’ performance. We develop concepts and designs for better laser hardening and we improve capabilities to evaluate the laser vulnerability of Army optics. This includes characterizing laser vulnerability of optical and electro-optical equipment and developing advanced predictive models. Researcher will provide fundamental research and analysis to support laser, optical, and electro-optical measurement and characterization, leading to the development of improved laser hardening designs and concepts as well as improved capabilities to evaluate the laser vulnerability. These capabilities include the development of modeling and simulation techniques as well as the design of laser-based laboratory and field experiments leading to the improvement of optical and electro-optical hardening to laser energy. Posters: Laser Vulnerability of Optical Systems

Principal Investigator:

Norman Comer,, (575) 678-9276

Supporting Facilities:
Electro-Optical Vulnerability Assessment Facility (EOVAF) (WSMR)
The EOVAF is a DoD unique facility for evaluating laser vulnerability of Army optical/electro-optical systems. The properties evaluated include eye protection, optical-augmentation signatures, and laser jamming and damage vulnerability of sensors. Working across the threat spectrum from the visible through the far infrared, the EOVAF accommodates laboratory and field experiments as well as theoretical modeling.

Electromagnetic Vulnerability Assessment Facility (EMVAF), (WMSR)
The EMVAF is a major radio-frequency (RF) measurement facility developed by RDECOM to perform all types of secure RF/microwave measurements. The EMVAF specialty is measuring and developing susceptibility profiles on US Army weapon systems and foreign systems. Additionally, the facility has significant capability and skills in measuring RF/microwave emissions, coupling, and validating electromagnetic codes.

Radio Frequency Communication Survivability & Integrated EW Sensor Analysis

New radio communication techniques allowing unencumbered communication in the congested and contested electromagnetic spectrum.  Conduct EW and RF analysis earlier in the development cycle

Research Objective:

  • Improve radio communication performance using:
  • Electronic warfare (EW) mitigation
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Digital signal processing
  • Radio frequency (RF) laboratory investigations

Principal Investigator:

Jim Lurski,,  (443) 395-0055

Human-Systems Integration (HSI)

HSI involves the development of tools, techniques, and methodologies for predicting human, system of systems, and mission capabilities throughout the acquisition cycle. These efforts concentrate on identifying human capabilities and limitations within physical, perceptual, and cognitive areas to develop methodologies, and integrate the Human Systems Integration (HSI) domains as well as develop technical, parametric system assessments. HSI research under A&A is focused on developing human performance requirements, measures of effectiveness and human figure modeling tools as well as the integration of human factors, mathematics, statistics, and system engineering, to investigate critical tasks combinations. This research provides the necessary analytical data to support physical, perceptual and cognitive workload assessments and the development of a virtual environment that includes demographic influences to represent the Soldier as a system. 

Tools and Methods for Reducing Human Error, Improving Human Performance, and Optimizing Sustainment Operations
This opportunity focuses on developing innovative methods, models, and predictive analytics to support planning and course of action analysis, provide situational awareness, and improve decision making for deploying, operating and adjusting the sustainment supply chain in the theater of operations to match the dynamic OPTEMPO demands for sustainment. These efforts concentrate on identifying aspects of all sustainment operations that require intense cognitive demands to account for a variety of constraints that impact sustainability such as changing OPTEMPO demands, enemy, terrain, available lift assets, limited equipment, etc. as well as aspects of the sustainment process that are still manual operations. It is important to continue to collaborate with the wider academic and user community to improve and develop new innovative HSI methods and tools to assist the warfighter in a rapidly changing battlespace ensuring an optimized and effective supply chain for sustainment can be deployed and maintained.

Principal Investigator: 

Peter Grazaitis,, (410) 278-5895

Tools and Methodology for Effective Humans System Integration throughout the Acquisition Cycle

Tools and Methodology for Effective Human Systems Integration throughout the Acquisition Cycle focuses on developing effective models resulting from an integrated analytic suite of tools capable of enhancing human performance data collection and analyzing human, system of system, and mission capabilities throughout the acquisition cycle. These efforts concentrate on identifying human capabilities and limitations within physical, perceptual, and cognitive areas to develop and inform HSI methodologies and integrate the HSI domains into technical assessments. This will allow for the consideration of physical, perceptual, and cognitive concerns to perform early, cost effective HSI analysis and to check requirements compliance during the acquisition process.  It is important to continue to collaborate with the wider academic and HSI user community to improve and develop new tools and case studies to assist practitioners in conducting effective HSI analyses that support the ever increasing complex design of new military systems related to Human Agent Teaming, Cyber Security, and Dynamic Accommodation Design Prediction.

Principal Investigator: 

Dr. Jock Grynovicki,, (410) 278-5956

Personnel Survivability

Personnel Survivability includes the development of tools, techniques, and methodologies to identify, understand, quantify, and model the effects of threat-target interactions on combat personnel, including injury assessment and operational effectiveness. Advances in research and experiments in the area of personnel survivability are foundational to the identification and development of scientific techniques to 1) mitigate injury and enhance the survivability of Soldiers to the wide range of battlefield threats including ballistic, thermal, toxic substances, and less-than-lethal anti-personnel weapons; 2) enhance lethality of antipersonnel ballistic munitions; and 3) understand the effects of current and future weapons against personnel and protective systems. Personnel survivability research is focused in the following areas: understand human survivability and performance, which leads to the development of human injury and performance models; understand and characterize next-generation Soldier augmentation systems, protective systems, novel protective materials and future non-lethal and lethal systems; SLV analysis capability that is adaptable, interoperable, and interactive; SLV analyses tools for complex interactions in a mission/capabilities context; and SLV analysis tools that exploits emerging computation capabilities and can be used within a collaborative simulation.

Military Injury Biomechanics

The goal of our research area is to enhance Soldier protection through understanding the mechanisms and risks of injuries incurred in past conflicts, and relating those to task performance.  Our focus is on applied research and analysis that examines materiel solutions and their effects on protection effectiveness.  We develop novel methods for exploring the vulnerability of humans to blast and ballistics by using simulated environments of combat threats, including ballistic experiments and explosively driven shock tubes.  Fundamental research and analysis utilizes methods like computed tomography (CT) imaging of biological targets, biosimulants, and protective materials to examine material property changes under high-strain rate and traumatic environments.  Posters:  Understanding Military-relevant Injury Mechanisms.

Principal Investigator: 

William Mermagen,, (410) 278-8740

Complex Adaptive Systems Analysis (CASA)

CASA involves the improvement, application and sustainment of research and techniques to model the performance of complex adaptive systems at the engineering level to support the full range of force operating capabilities. These methodologies are crucial to the assessment of technology and system tradeoffs to illuminate and evaluate SLV aspects of competing capability packages and technologies. Utilizing modern research in simulation, simulation languages, emerging mathematical techniques, and other advancements will improve the capabilities to explore the continuum of military operations. The analysis methodologies will address the complexity inherent in interactions between systems including humans and multiple, autonomous, and potentially intelligent learning machines. CASA research is focused on leveraging other ARL S&T Campaigns, academia, and industry in the following areas: advanced mathematical, statistical, and modeling and simulation techniques, such as predictive sciences, uncertainty quantification, advance computational algorithms, and data intensive techniques; human dimension of future conflict, including human/machine interfaces and cognitive decision making processes; and communication, processing, storage, and retrieval of information, for example research on digital RF technology.

Cyber for Training M&S

Cyber is the newest warfighting domain and is the only domain that crosscuts every other. While much work is being done to train operators within the cyber domain, there is a need for those operating in the other, more traditional domains (i.e. ground, air, sea, and space) to have an operational understanding of cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA).  ARL is researching and prototyping modeling and simulation applications that leverage existing Army training simulation systems to provide trainees exposure to the effects of cyberspace that they may encounter on the modern battlefield. In order to provide realistic training capabilities, ARL is developing cyber effect models and the necessary simulation client toolsets necessary to provide CEMA and cyber related effects into current Army Live, Virtual and Constructive training systems. The main focus of many Army training systems is leaders and soldiers, not necessarily the cyber protection teams that directly monitor system activity. Collaborations are desired on innovative approaches to create a training environment that supports a wide-range of cyber-attacks, cyber and CEMA effects models, ways to best conduct the data exchanges between cyber models, editors and ways to represent cyber events in training scenarios. An end goal is to support mission training through responses to cyber-attacks at all levels of interaction, from soldiers and leaders to cyber protection teams.

Principal Investigator: 

Mr. Henry Marshall,, (407) 384-3820

Modeling Techniques to Enable Interactive Visual Analysis

ARL researches methods by which to improve the timeliness, and quality of simulation models of kinetic and electromagnetic interactions. These models are used to evaluate existing Army assets against ballistic and directed electromagnetic threats and to analyze the relative effect of design changes on these assets’ survivability versus kinetic and electromagnetic threats. These models are also used to establish doctrine on how assets are to be employed. Our research focuses on novel visualization and massively-parallel computational techniques. Through these means we hope to establish a cognition-driven simulation experience where the user can engage in computational steering and have their understanding intentionally shape the information presented by the simulation as it occurs. It is our intent to maintain this visually interactive environment from the moment the user sets out to construct the model to the final conclusion of the simulation. Researcher will provide fundamental research and analysis to support 1) optimizations of the computation of projectile/target interaction through ray tracing or n-body simulation techniques, 2) visualization of combined volumetric and surface data representations to communicate the concept of radiative or ballistic dosage within a physical environment, 3) methods of expressing massively parallel computation that assure ease of expression, highest performance, and utilization of current and near-term computational architectures, 4) new and novel computing architectures for massively parallel computation in non “data-center” platforms.  Posters:  VSL: Massively Parallel, Interactive, Cognition-Driven Analysis

Principal Investigator:

Lee Butler,, (410) 278-9200