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Simulation – The Key to Effective Testing of C2 Applications

Simulation – The Key to Effective Testing of C2 Applications

Insights Article

Ad-hoc testing of software products is no substitute for controlled testing using a set of precise and repeatable data sources that allow systematic verification. This is true for initial system development and also for ongoing regression testing, where it is desired to ensure that new additions do not change existing capabilities.

This paper explains how radar and camera video generated by a simulator supports automatic testing of C2 systems in a controlled and repeatable way.

Quality Software Requires Quality Testing

Testing is a key stage in the development of any non-trivial software product, especially where reliable, defect-free software is paramount. The testing process involves verifying the operation against an expected behaviour, initially to confirm that the product does what is intended and then subsequently to verify that changes or additions have not broken anything (regression testing).

For a C2 (Command and Control) product that receives and processes sensor data, such as radar or camera video, testing can be a challenge. In many situations, the development team may simply not have access to the equipment that forms part of the final deployment. How can a system be properly tested in the laboratory if the radar that it is intended to work with is only available when the equipment is deployed on the ship, for example?

Another problem with sensor data is that testing needs to be repeatable and predictable. To verify correct behaviour, the software needs to be presented with a controlled set of inputs, rather than whatever sensor data is being generated on the day of testing. This is especially important when testing processing functions, for example target tracking, where a behaviour may be proven for a specific scenario of moving targets, and that same behaviour needs to be maintained and verified through releases of the product. This can only be achieved if it is possible to generate a repeatable set of sensor signals so that each run of the test is exactly the same.

This is not to say that there isn't a role for less controlled testing of different data sets, so-called ad-hoc testing, but this should always be in addition to a discipline of testing on a repeatable set of test data.

Real-Time Data for C2 Testing

A C2 system receives, processes and displays sensor information, with the objective of supporting decision-making by an operator to control equipment or communicate threat information. Two key sensors that may be input to a C2 are radar and cameras...

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