During its life, the equipment on-board a warship will be upgraded to improve function and performance and manage obsolescence issues. Continuing to develop and deliver high performance across the fleet at an affordable cost is a challenge as combat systems become more complex, and is being addressed through a radical new approach to design. This approach will help us by speeding up the time it takes to insert new technology into the combat system, and allow us to be smart about the way we manage those changes across the fleet; which in turn will reduce the cost of development and support.
How do we use Smart Design?
We are updating 7 classes of ships in 7 years with a new-shared infrastructure and migrating many of our legacy systems to run in this virtualized software services based environment, built upon commercial-off-the-shelf blade servers.
Through our Science & Technology programme we are developing and demonstrating the next generation of truly Open Architecture Combat System that will go even further.
Clever design also requires collaboration between the very best experts, and we are managing the evolution of the combat system through a strong Design Authority, led by the Ministry of Defence and supported by technical experts from across Industry.
As innovators we are researching and developing the next generation of robotic systems to carry out new missions and undertake existing ones cheaper, faster and safer. At Exercise Unmanned Warrior 2016, the Royal Navy will test this game-changing technology alongside warships, aircraft and marines.
Installing individual hardware, software or even a completely new combat system into a ship carries significant performance time and cost risks. If interface or compatibility issues are only discovered during ship installation and trials, it may be impossible to rectify them in-situ without delaying the programme or, worse still, it could be so severe that a major re-design of the ship would be required to meet performance and safety targets.
How do we approach Integration?
We conduct integration and resolving in-service issues on-shore, which has proven to reduce the amount of ship borne trials.
We perform Integration testing as part of test and trials, bringing elements together and testing as a whole system in order to verify the functional, performance, and reliability requirements placed on the equipment or software when part of a wider system.
We use Shore Integration Facilities to combine real hardware and software with a simulated environment to provide a unique testing and training environment for the Royal Navy and overseas customers to ensure that any performance issues or interference problems are identified early in the programme.
System safety and security is a complex issue that is exacerbated by rapid changes in technology. The Electromagnetic environment on-board ships must be managed to ensure that transmissions from: equipment, the environment, the ship’s own hull, friendly and opposing forces, do not degrade the performance of the combat system or trigger unexpected events, which may in the extreme present a risk to life.
How do we approach Certification?
We provide Combat System Certification (CSC) to give assurance that combat systems at sea are integrated and in a known and safe state. The CSC is permanently available from a central database maintained by MOD, is kept under regular review, and is emailed directly to ships, in particular during the final stages of their post upkeep regeneration.
Installing, fine-tuning and maintaining the brains of a modern warship is a critical partnership that takes place at the waterfront in the UK and abroad.
How do we offer Waterfront Support?
We review, update and upgrade the equipment within the combat system as a result of technology advances, capability requirements change or simply as a result of obsolescence in a carefully co-ordinated and controlled manner.