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EDF-2021-NAVAL-R-DSSDA: Digital ship and ship digital architecture

Digital technologies evolve at a very high pace, with civilian markets as key driver for innovation. The mastery of the data cycle, from capture to management and exploitation, is now considered as a key element for ship superiority at sea (combat capabilities, improved maintenance, enhanced crew training…). To ensure the adequate integration of innovative digital capabilities and the development of advanced data-based services, it is necessary to define a data-centric IT infrastructure, based on principles that offer resilience, high level of native security, availability and performance as well as computing and storage scalability – while considering the specific requirements of European navies (duration of the mission at sea, low connectivity, sea conditions and environment, interoperability…). This topic is a structuring one. It aims to help the development of fundamentals for digital ship: digital architecture and data/interface standards and ask for the studies of a concrete demonstration on ship and ship systems health monitoring.

The specific challenge is directed towards the definition of shared digital architecture of naval surface vessels and data/interface standards, against which innovative data management solutions will be tested and selected. This architecture will in particular include a modelling and simulation environment (including digital twinning) that allows for intelligent predictive maintenance based on sensor technology, crew training, training, continuous upgrades of naval capabilities and on-board assessment of the impact of degraded systems on critical functions and ship capabilities, assisted by on-shore experts. A model based systems engineering design approach that represents a realistic testing environment for the continuous integration of evolving digital technologies (processing, data storage capacities, Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)…) to ensure the openness and scalability of ships’ digital architecture.

Strategic importance is identified as the overarching goal to increase the level of automation and support to the ship crew in order to be able to reduce the crew, obtain higher speed in the OODA-loop (observe–orient–decide–act), ensuring high value military tasks, increase safety, operational efficiency, operational readiness (training on real data) as well as decreasing the total life cycle cost of the ship.

The proposals must aim at obtaining higher degrees of automation in ship and combat systems using big data analysis, data fusion, Artificial Intelligence (AI), including machine learning and multi-agent technology and other technologies to obtain higher speed in the OODA loop, including digital twinning. This objective will be achieved through the definition of a data- centric digital architecture and shared data/interface standards, allowing for new services.

The proposals must address some of the following elements:

  • Identification of the specifications for warships’ digital architecture such as European navy needs and specific constraints (operational, environmental, energy-related, connectivity-related…);
  • Definition of a ship digital architecture and of smart processes in order to optimise sharing, pushing, pulling, selection, collect, enrichment, exploitation of data, whether for optimising the functioning of systems or for constituting data bases of knowledge or data bases for machine learning or both;
  • Development of a limited set of interface and implementation standards in order to ensure interoperability and the integration of future data-based solutions and services in various ships.
  • A modelling and simulation environment based on Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) principles;
  • The combination of IoT technologies, sensors, data lake infrastructures to improve data collection and management, and AI based analysis capabilities to be able to provide services as to assess a platform’s health status and develop predictive and corrective maintenance strategies;
  • The capability to introduce novel technology or functionality on an existing design and demonstrate impact on Requirements, Functional, Logical and physical domains;
  • The definition of the best application of digital twinning aiming both at product development and lifecycle management.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding possible upstream activities eligible for research actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;
  • the design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.

The targeted activities must in particular include:

  • definition and demonstration of principles for implementation of a standardised on- board naval IT infrastructure, which may integrate computing, storage, networking, and virtualization resources to be able to run on commodity hardware and/or withstand country-specific choices of technical solutions, but also standards to allow for the joint development of new services and data-based solutions;
  • identification, evaluation, test and selection of classes of solutions/services to address data management issues of data integrity, data and user’s confidentiality and data traceability;
  • MBSE implementation in existing design environment. Availability of physical- mathematical models for system behaviour;
  • select and design new (AI based) functionalities aiming at increasing the level of automation and support for operational crew on-board, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the OODA loop;
  • SPDM (simulation process and data management) and PLM (product life cycle management) integration for platform and combat system development;
  • IIoT standards, data infrastructure solutions and AI based algorithms. Component and system failure modelling;
  • modular design principles to reduce interfaces among systems and facilitate upgradability of system.

Definition and demonstration of ship and ship systems health monitoring:

  • design, development and realization of an engineering environment using MBSE for the design of 2 till 5 complete systems (e.g. power and propulsion system, pumps, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, combat system capability);
  • definition of a model based systems engineering design approach that represents the ships’ functions and capabilities for advising the crew on remaining functions and capabilities if systems are degraded;
  • design of a condition monitoring method for selected systems and develop component and system failure models. Development of AI and/or physics-of-failure based algorithms to predict remaining useful life of critical components. Development of AI based algorithms to predict remaining critical functions and ship capabilities in case of damage, failure or anomalies;
  • implementation of modular design principles in a state-of-the-art IT-architecture to be able to upgrade and or to replace components or part of systems and assess impact on requirements, functional performance, logical architecture and physical integration.

A detailed planning of potential subsequent phases must be generated, including the identification of implementation priorities, according to the operational needs.

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EDF-2021-NAVAL-R-SSHM: Ship Structural Health Monitoring

Researching on structural health monitoring techniques and their integration in an expert system specific for naval vessels.

The specific challenge is directed towards the transition from traditional time-based scheduled maintenance schemes to condition based maintenance (CBM) and complete lifecycle monitoring and management of naval vessels. Such a transition is of paramount importance for reasons associated with reduced maintenance costs, increased operational availability, increased safety, and optimization of operational performance.

Strategic importance is identified as the overarching goal to utilize the big amount of data from sensor measurements by innovative means. When included in the monitoring system, this will offer new information and capabilities on-board and on-shore. Model analysis and tools will further help optimization of design, support the implementation of sensor systems, such as the location and number of sensors, as well as optimize the hull and ship maintenance program. Sensor-based model tools will also be relevant for simulated exercises and training.

The proposals must aim to obtain improved naval vessels’ operational capability through research on advancing the utilization of data from the state of the art, and/or innovatively improve the hull ship structural health monitoring systems, using modern data science tools, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), digital twin models or other. This will address key topics, such as safe operational envelopes both in peacetime operations and crisis/war situations, weapon systems accuracy improvement, sensors’ optimal placement and networking, ship hull structural computational modelling and lifetime extension, damage detection/diagnosis and prognosis, vibration contribution to the hydro-acoustic signature – or more general the vessel’s signatures and condition – and their integration in a decision- making system for naval vessels.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding possible upstream activities eligible for research actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;
  • the design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.

The targeted activities must in particular include:

  • Extension of the on-board SHM systems to detect features in data related to damage detection and assessment, and in that way expand operational envelopes by optimal utilization of vessel capabilities.
  • Identification of local/global structural vibrations that contribute to the vessel’s hydrodynamic signature and establish tools to aid operators in visualization and prediction, with the result of avoid being recognized/positively identified by “red forces”.
  • Exploration of the possibilities in utilizing SHM measurements of local and global hull deformation/vibrations to improve the precision of weapon systems on board the vessel.

A detailed planning of potential subsequent phases must be generated, including the identification of implementation priorities, according to the operational needs.

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EDF-2021-NAVAL-D-MMPC: Modular and multirole patrol corvette

The ambition of the EU navies is to drastically increase the flexibility of second line vessels in order to conduct a wider range of operations and to make the vessels more suitable to face 21st century challenges and newest constraints and operational requirements to expand the capacities to interoperate and significantly elevate their level of availability and sustainability.

The ambition of the EU navies is to drastically increase the flexibility of second line vessels in order to conduct a wider range of operations and to make the vessels more suitable to face 21st century challenges and newest constraints and operational requirements to expand the capacities to interoperate and significantly elevate their level of availability and sustainability.

Moreover, the new class of ships needs to be based on a shared baseline, which can be tailored to different national individual requirements.

These goals can be reached at most optimized cost by a new generation of ships defined with a high level of commonality and modularity and taking advantage of a common engineering knowledge base and the large experiences at EU level.

The challenge is to take into account the different requirements from participating Member States and succeed in defining and demonstrate the capacity of building a family of ships which will have a common baseline (reference ship) jointly with some specificities (modularity in design and flexibility in mission) to answer to specific needs from each participating Member States.

The proposals must aim to:

  • define a shared and common set of rules, standards and interfaces applicable to naval architecture and associated systems to improve the industrial cooperation and integration of the European naval companies and Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) and promote common European supply chains;
  • create standardized industrial processes and methodologies and increase Member State’s joint capability to develop future warships in a reduced amount of time and at most optimized cost, and so contribute to the competitiveness of the European defence industry;
  • increase availability through integration of modularity and flexibility in the design of military vessels, and ultimately to generate a new 2500t-3500t class modular vessel able to increase current capabilities of the navies mainly in terms of MSA, Surface Superiority and Power Projection and also carry out a large spectrum of maritime operations ranging from peacetime governmental activities to wartime operations.

The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding possible upstream activities eligible for development actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

  • studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;
  • the design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.

The activities must in particular include:

  • Definition of common methodologies, tools, set of common rules and standards for the studies and construction of the vessel, list of innovative solutions and relevant technological bricks, list of potential EU original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to be used during the following phases. This phase also includes the definition ofstandardized interfaces and the study and demonstration of some core technological bricks that are of highest importance for the concept of the vessel.
  • Concept and feasibility studies for the reference ship and verification of capability to cope with participating Member States/national specific requirements. Definition of flexible and scalable architectures and demonstration they are able to handle the amount of variability of vessel and systems impacted by the participating Member States/national specific requirements. This phase also includes the selection and the definition of the standardized interfaces with the main systems. The feasibility studies will provide several solutions for the reference ship plus specificities (sizing, general arrangement…).
  • Concept studies and evaluation, in order to elaborate and characterize the main parameters (sizing, general arrangement…) of MMPC solutions for the reference ship and characterization of national variants, and prepare the next detailed design phase for the MMPC.

In order to increase commonality between national variants, and to reduce non-recurring costs, the systems aboard the vessel must have, as much as feasible and economically interesting, standardized functional interfaces to be defined during the first phase of studies.

To allow participating Member States to share capability modules in the flexible areas, the physical and functional interfaces and technologies in those areas must be common. The confirmation of the feasibility of such flexible area will be demonstrated.

A detailed planning of potential subsequent phases should be generated, including the identification of implementation priorities, according to the operational needs.

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