A Mission Library for Mission Plan Management

Kane, S., and von Kelsch, E.

Presented at the 8th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2017), Los Angeles, CA (July 2017)

When Navy pilots create a new mission plan, they frequently build off of prior missions. Specifically, they duplicate a “master” mission plan that contains official settings, operational specifications, and other information common across mission plans. This approach is both inefficient and error prone—each team applies unique workarounds to identify mission plan variations, such as ad-hoc file naming structures appending call signs and dates—there is no single approach or tool that manages mission plans for reuse.

To address these challenges, we designed a mission library that supports efficient mission plan creation and management. In this paper, we describe our approach to create official mission plan “templates” that include common information for operating areas, such as key waypoints, and official settings, such as frequencies. Navy pilots can build their mission plans from the template that matches their operating area. We also designed interfaces that support mission plan and template creation and management. These interfaces provide high level summaries of templates and mission plans, provide key information to capture evolution over time, and minimize the rote, low-level data entry required of Navy pilots when creating mission plans.

In this paper, we describe our approach to design and develop tools that support efficient mission plan management, including a requirements analysis with representative Navy pilots to identify critical functions, as well as information elements that are common across missions. We present design concepts that address these requirements to support mission plan management. Finally, we describe the preliminary results of our evaluation, which assessed the usability and usefulness of the interfaces for mission planning activities and whether they promoted more effective and efficient mission planning. Finally, we describe future work directions.

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