Publication Detail

Shipboard Controls of the Future

John V. Amy, Norbert H. Doerry, Timothy J. McCoy, Edwin L. Zivi
10 pp.

Recent advances in computer networking and control system technologies present an opportunity to improve the capability of naval shipboard control systems. Most existing digital machinery control systems merely replace one-for-one their analog predecessors. These recent advances motivate rethinking the basic role and architecture of shipboard controls. Traditional machinery system control has remained largely separate from combat systems and other ship information systems. Existing machinery control systems have concentrated on four functions: machinery status, control, system stability, and fault response. To implement these functions, custom systems have been designed, built and debugged for each class of ship. This lack of commonality has been expensive in terms of development costs, maintenance costs over the lifetime of the ship, and also the unrealized benefits stemming from prohibitive costs of adapting machinery controls to take advantage of emerging technologies.
This paper proposes a new paradigm for developing a shipboard control system based upon a functional decomposition of ships' missions that leads to defining technology independent interface standards. Multiple vendors may be able to independently develop control system hardware and software elements adhering to such interface standards without a priori knowledge of a particular ship application, leading to the ability to develop a total ship control system with low risk by integrating proven hardware and software elements to meet specific ship design requirements. With this new concept, other functions not normally associated with machinery controls are feasible: spontaneous reconfiguration after a damage event, integrated training, condition based maintenance planning, data archiving, operator assistance, and configuration management. This new approach may also allow for the integration of machinery controls into a total ship control system with seamless support far combat systems. This new shipboard control paradigm promises to speed control system development, improve performance, facilitate maintenance and modernization, and lead to lower life cycle costs.