AVT-RTG-238: A NATO-effort to Enable Early Stage Warship Design for Effectiveness and Affordability
By Bart van Oers, Kelly Cooper, Francesco Perra, Janel Nixon
Many NATO navies are in the process of renewing their fleets. A key issue for these replacement efforts is finding and maintaining a suitable balance between operational effectiveness and affordability, whilst ensuring future warships fit within limited budgets, benefit from the rapid development of technology, and can cope with increasingly complex threats. Achieving such a balance is best done early on, during the concept exploration phase of the warship design process. Still, this is not straightforward, as early on, changes in requirements, and budget have significant influence on design and the time to consider the impact of these changes is generally inadequate. Moreover, ship design, cost estimation and operations analysis are typically executed separately. Operations analyses of the design, often occurs later in the design process if at all. As a result, the capacity of these early stage design and analysis activities to balance requirements, ship design and affordability is limited, which is hampering the ability to assess and improve both effectiveness and affordability early on in the warship design process. To enable the capability of NATO nations to include effectiveness and affordability in the early stage warship design process, a Research Task Group (RTG) was established under the flag of the Applied Vehicle Technology Panel of the NATO Science and Technology Organisation. Participating nations are The United States, The United Kingdom, Italy and The Netherlands. Contributions to the RTG consisted of national funding from R&D programs (e.g., Italy, USA and The Netherlands), in-kind contributions (the UK) and international programmes (e.g., Italian and Dutch projects funded by ONR). Working in collaboration with the NATO Naval Armaments Group’s working group on Total Ship System Engineering, the RTG’s objective is to develop both the required processes and software tools to enable the assessment of effectiveness and affordability simultaneously during concept exploration. The paper presents the processes and tools developed by the research task group, and documents the results from the test-cases they conducted. These test cases focused on a surface combatant and a mine-countermeasures vessel. In particular, it will provide examples on how the approach enables stakeholders and decision makers (regardless of their area or speciality: ship design, costing, operations analysis, or requirements) to benefit from better understanding how requirements, ship design, affordability and effectiveness interact. The paper concludes with the RTG’s planned activities for 2017.