The weapon target assignment problem under uncertainty



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The weapon target assignment problem (WTAP) is the problem of assigning a set of weapons and munitions to target with the goal of minimizing the enemy threat. In its simplest form, WTAP can be formulated as a non-linear integer program and has been shown to be NP-complete. The literature on WTAP mainly studies the problem under deterministic parameters. In reality, however, most of the information about military operation is based on data from training, test, exercise, historical events, and personal experience, which adds uncertainty to parameters that are relevant to WTAP. For instance, it is not always possible to estimate, with 100% certainty, target information, location, and weapon effectiveness on specific targets. Such uncertainty poses challenges to military commanders and, as such, it is of utmost importance to embed such uncertainty in their decision-making framework. Another problem that is understudied in the literature is that of WTAP in the context of sequential decisions. In this setting, it might be beneficial to strike enemy targets in batches. However, in this case, earlier strikes negatively effect information availability for future strikes as remaining target and/or targets that failed to be destroyed scramble and camouflage. Taking this uncertainty into account leads to difficult multi-stage WTAPs.