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Systems Engineering in Naval Ship Design

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Awareness and discussion of systems engineering has grown dramatically in recent years, yet many of us involved in the development of complex systems find it somewhat difficult to reconcile the broad, abstract principles of systems engineering with the much more concretely understood steps involved in the engineering of our systems of interest The authors attempt to show how systems engineering can be understood to relate to the engineering process for Navy ships.

A background discussion of systems engineering definitions and methods is followed by a discussion of the fundamentals of systems and the nature of systems thinking. The process of engineering systems is presented as an iterative “design, analyze, decide” loop, which is discussed in its simplest form as well as in its application to a complex system. The role of various design and analysis disciplines is introduced. Systems engineering is related to the engineering process by showing that the systems engineering process of requirements flow down through functional allocation is critical to the validity and currency of the input to the engineering process. In addition, the application of systems thinking to the decision making inherent in the engineering process is shown to be a second critical area for the application of systems engineering. Finally, special considerations are discussed pertaining to systems engineering of naval ships as, possibly, the most complex manmade mobile systems.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • The Naval Engineers Journal is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE). ASNE is the leading professional engineering society for engineers, scientists and allied professionals who conceive, design, develop, test, construct, outfit, operate and maintain complex naval and maritime ships, submarines and aircraft and their associated systems and subsystems.
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