Supporting Future Navy Surface Acquisition Programs via Enhanced Structural Design Approaches


While platform structures do not receive the same degree of attention as novel combat systems, propulsion devices, or design methods, structural performance shortfalls continue to bedevil naval architects working on naval vessels. Such shortfalls range from production-phase structural distortion and miss-alignment to in-service damage, fatigue cracking, and corrosion. Resolving such issues add to the vessel’s total ownership costs and the associated downtime also reduces the vessel’s operational effectiveness. This paper argues that development in two areas is needed to resolve this shortfall: development of complete lifecycle analysis tools, and development of tools enabled to work with the Navy’s new set-based design approaches. The paper presents two examples of such tools, including a life-cycle cost tradespace development algorithm and a set-based, or path-locating, design exploration algorithm. The types of advances required for these approaches to succeed are discussed based upon the two examples. Such new approaches to structural design would benefit the Navy as it plans the design process for the next generation of surface acquisition programs, including the Future Surface Combatant.

Naval Engineers Journal