The Navy-industry team of more than 1,200 software developers from 30 organizations and led by Raytheon in development of the Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE) for the Zumwalt-class
(DDG-1000) destroyer recently completed preliminary design review and a series of critical design reviews for key system software.
Raytheon Seapower Capability Systems, combat systems integrator for the ship, says that the new software, called Release 5, will add some five million lines of new code for surface warfare and undersea warfare, human-computer interface, information operations, and ship engineering control. The release also will provide post-launch support for the Evolved SeaSparrow and Standard air-defense missiles and the full range of capabilities for the destroyer's close-in gun and advanced gun systems.
Tom Laliberty, Raytheon's software director for the DDG-1000 program, says that the latest reviews completed the preliminary design phase of the program. A critical design review scheduled for late June is expected to certify the design as mature enough for the start of code development, testing, and integration into full-up system components.
The TSCE aims at achieving unprecedented levels of integration and automation through use of advanced computer networking techniques while being fully compliant with the Navy's Open Architecture initiative. The environment will permit highly distributed management and monitoring of all ship systems, including combat, command and control, engineering and ship control, and quality-of-life systems. Its mission center is built around 23 workstations that, Laliberty says, provide for "any role with any station" control, allowing any watchstander to carry out any ship mission, although, he adds, individuals will bring specialized skills.
Laliberty says that the development has "flattened out the network," enabling ship control from a single wide-area network and one common computing environment—referred to as the TSCE infrastructure—that uses highly integrated software to service all ship functions.
"Every aspect of ship operation and maintenance is serviced from that common computing environment and that flat network," he said.
The first three completed releases provided support for ten engineering development modules originally conceived for the DD(X) program, an earlier iteration of the DDG-1000. Now mature systems, the modules, which include a new dual-band radar, advanced gun system, integrated power system, integrated deckhouse, among others, will be controlled through TSCE.
Laliberty points out that ship-systems integration efforts in the past aimed primarily at higher levels of coordination of weapons and sensors. The TSCE will extend the level of systems integration to "fight with the whole ship." Command and control will carry such functions as maneuvering the ship for the correct heading, speed, acoustic and radar cross section, and other operational parameters—functions previously performed by the ship's commander with a grease pencil and coordination with numerous watchstanders trained for specialized tasks. It also will encompass machinery control, determining such factors as engine configuration and speed to achieve and maintain ship position and course. Whereas in the past engineering and combat systems personnel had little interaction, the destroyer's engineering and tactical action officers will work closely together in the same compartment.
The computing environment effort, Laliberty says, also aimed at a critical Navy requirement to reduce ship manning levels. The Zumwalt now is expected to go to sea with a crew of 148, a dramatic reduction from the 376-man crew required by the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers.
The degree of integration sought for the new destroyer required innovations in design planning. Laliberty says that ship commanders from the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets advised the team on arrangement of the ship's mission center. The discussions revealed to the designers that commanders typically organize different seating charts for different missions and skill and training levels. To account for such differences, the Zumwalt's layout offers a high degree of flexibility.
Laliberty says that while the DDG-1000 team moves toward approval for Release 5, it has been developing requirements for the final planned sixth release, with a software specification review set for June 2009.
The Zumwalt program remains controversial because of cost concerns associated with problems encountered in design, requirements development, and systems integration. Nevertheless, in February, the Navy awarded contracts to shipbuilders Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics-Bath for construction of DDG-1000 and -1001. Both are scheduled for delivery in 2014.