has used MathWorks’ Model-Based Design to develop a new on-board trainer (OBT) for the UK Royal Navy’s Type 45 Destroyer to deliver more effective training to the crew before they enter service on the complex warship.
The new on-board training simulator allows the crew to control, reconfigure and recover the ship’s propulsion, generation and auxiliary systems across various fault and damage scenarios in real-time.
Simulating 16 interconnected systems with approximately 4,000 inputs and outputs to create a highly realistic training environment for the crew, the OBT also models faults such as pressure drops due to leakages and the bilge alarm from the resulting compartment flooding to ensure trainees are prepared for all eventualities in the real world before they enter service.
The BAE Systems design team used Simulink and MATLAB to streamline the creation of plant models for the OBT.
Once the plant models were developed and verified, a real-time version of the simulation was created and integrated with the ship’s on-board control systems. BAE Systems engineers automatically generated more than 90,000 lines of C code for the OBT. With more efficient C code, the resulting real-time simulation used only 2% of CPU time, well within 20% utilisation specification, freeing up the computer processor for other tasks running simultaneously. Overall, development time for the simulation tool was cut in half as compared to a typical project of this scope.
Peter Worthington, principal engineer at BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships’ division explains that they couldn’t have completed the trainer without MathWorks tools. Conventional techniques would have taken 2-4 times more development effort for completion of the OBT project.
However, Model Based Design helped them simplify their design process, with the project requiring only three engineers to model and simulate the ship’s physical systems and generate production C code for the training system.
Since the MATLAB and Simulink models in the OBT were created before the systems they emulated were fully designed, the OBT design team was also able to identify and communicate potential issues related to system interactions early on to the rest of the Type 45 project team. This ensured vital design problems could be reviewed and addressed at an early stage, avoiding costly rework if discovered later in the process.
According to Jon Friedman, aerospace defence industry marketing manager at MathWorks, Model-Based Design continues to be a preferred method of engineering within the commercial and defence industries worldwide, as companies recognise the benefits of this approach to improve their design efforts. He adds that BAE Systems’ work further illustrates the power of Model-Based Design in improving communication between design teams working on complex projects and finding and addressing design issues early in the process.