Air Force Institute of Technology WPAFB United States
In tactical aviation, decision superiority brought upon by high situation awareness remains the arbiter of combat effectiveness. The advancement of sophisticated avionics and highly automated cockpits has allowed for the reduction of aircrew size, and in certain platforms, removal of the crew from the aircraft entirely. However, these developments have not reduced the complex and dynamic interaction between situation awareness and crew workload. While many predictive and experimental methods of evaluating workload exist, situation awareness can only be measured by conducting trials with human operators in a functional prototype. This thesis proposes an innovative methodology to predicatively determine situation awareness potential with discrete-event simulation software. This methodology measures situation awareness as both a function of task accomplishment and workload experienced. Utilizing two common but complex tactical scenarios, this method and existing workload measurement techniques can derive a direct comparison between a reduced-crew highly automated cockpit and a less automated legacy aircraft. Finally, conclusions regarding the effectiveness of replacing human operators with automation in tactical events can be made and tested in future experiments with actual aircraft and aircrews.