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Modularity and Open Systems Architecture Applied to the Flexible Modular Warship

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The Navy will be building new classes of surface combatants. The platform mission sets will change significantly throughout their lives. Between design, production of the lead ships, and production of ship classes, the decisions made during the design phase will impact the Navy for as long as the next 70 years. The Navy is applying modular and Open Systems Architecture (OSA)[1] strategy that promotes innovation, fair competition, risk reduction, and the rapid incorporation of prototypes and upgrades for new capabilities to address evolving warfighter needs. Given the expense of acquisition programs—coupled with budget limitations stemming from a fiscally constrained environment—it is time for a refined look at the Naval acquisition strategy. This paper will describe how the Navy is shifting its efforts toward decoupling the ship platform design to allow for flexible and rapid integration of evolving mission systems through open platform architectures.[2] In addition, OSA will be applied to the mission systems as well to support incremental and rapid upgrades to those payloads throughout their lifecycle. Lastly, this paper will touch upon the clash in product lifecycles between the ship platform and the mission systems payloads and will emphasize the need to look at these products through different lenses.

This paper will describe a product-line concept that can establish reusability of warfighting capability across platform types while also bringing third parties and non-traditional suppliers[3] to the marketplace for adding new performance features. The complexity of advanced warfighting capabilities and their associated safety and security concerns will always be robustly addressed. However, rapid capability reuse and deployment across many systems can achieve significant cost, schedule, and warfighting advantages.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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  • 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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