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UK Royal Navy Uses Model-Based Design to Develop On-Board Training Simulator

MATLAB and Simulink help speed production code generation and cut in half the time required to model and simulate physical systems


The Royal Navy’s HMS Daring on sea trials.
The Royal Navy’s HMS Daring on sea trials.

Natick, Mass. - (14 Nov 2012)

MathWorks today announced that BAE Systems has used 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 crew before they enter service on the complex warship. The new on-board training system allows crew to control, reconfigure, and recover the ship's propulsion, generation, and auxiliary systems across various fault and damage scenarios in real-time.

The OBT simulates 16 interconnected systems with approximately 4,000 total inputs and outputs to create a highly realistic training environment for the crew.  It 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 ships 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 per cent of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) time, well within 20 per cent utilization 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.

“Without MathWorks tools, we couldn’t have completed the trainer with as few resources as we did,” said Peter Worthington, principal engineer at BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships’ division.  “Using conventional techniques, the OBT project would require two to four times more development effort for successful completion. However, with Model-Based Design, we were able to simplify our design process and ultimately needed 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 to the rest of the Type 45 project team early on. This ability ensured vital design problems could be reviewed and addressed at an early stage, avoiding costly rework which would be needed if discovered later in the process.

“Model-Based Design continues to be a preferred method of engineering within the commercial and defense industries worldwide, as companies recognize the benefits of this approach to improve their design efforts,” said Jon Friedman, aerospace defense industry marketing manager at MathWorks. “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.”

For more details on BAE Systems’ use of Model-Based Design in the development of the on-board training simulator, read this story.

About MathWorks

MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software. MATLAB, the language of technical computing, is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numeric computation. Simulink is a graphical environment for simulation and Model-Based Design for multidomain dynamic and embedded systems. Engineers and scientists worldwide rely on these product families to accelerate the pace of discovery, innovation, and development in automotive, aerospace, electronics, financial services, biotech-pharmaceutical, and other industries. MathWorks products are also fundamental teaching and research tools in the world's universities and learning institutions. Founded in 1984, MathWorks employs more than 2400 people in 15 countries, with headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, USA. For additional information, visit mathworks.com.

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