Investigation of Requirements and Capabilities of Next-Generation Mine Warfare Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) tools, including functional flow block diagrams and functional hierarchies, are used to logically define mine countermeasure (MCM) UUV operations and support the development of alternative concepts of operations.

The current fleet of United States Navy (USN) Mine Countermeasures (MCM) ships, the Avenger class, is reaching the end of its planned service life. To fill the capability gaps left by removing these ships from the fleet, and to take advantage of technological advances in environmental sensing and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), the Navy will be acquiring new systems to perform the MCM mission. The Department of Defense (DOD) acquisition process aims to fill capability gaps with materiel solutions through development of new or improved systems or the purchase of existing systems. Beginning the acquisition process with ample knowledge of potential materiel solutions and their expected performance improves the likelihood of program success.

This research examines the current state of UUV technology and technological capabilities anticipated to be available within the next 10 years. It identifies the impact to system performance based on changes to system characteristics that drive the operational performance and provides recommendations to MCM decision makers about system attributes that will result in capability improvements for UUVs in support of the MCM mission.

This capstone project utilized a tailored system engineering trade-off analysis process, resulting in a framework that connects current and near-term MCM mission requirements with the anticipated performance of a set of proposed system architectures. The characteristics identified for detailed assessment were communications during the mission and data processing location.

Table 1. Proposed System Alternatives.

Three possible communication states were identified, which are no communication (NC) with the command ship, intermittent communications (IC) with the command ship, and constant communication (CC) with the command ship. It was decided that data processing could only occur either off-board the UUV via post mission analysis (PMA) or on board the UUV via Real Time Analysis (RTA). Completing the problem, space exploration and identifying key characteristics enabled the team to develop candidate system architectures. Six alternative functional architectures were developed and detailed using model-based systems engineering (MBSE) tools, summarized in Table 1.

Table 2. System Design Parameters Investigated.

To understand and demonstrate the benefits offered by adding communication or onboard processing to the MCM UUV, the analysis process began by modeling each alternative in the discrete event simulation software, Extend-Sim, using a set of 18 initial design parameter inputs that represent a feasible level of performance based on existing technology within the USN portfolio. Next, a design of experiments (DOE) analysis was performed to analyze the impact of individual design parameters across the system architectures. Table 2 shows the design characteristics investigated during the design of experiments portion of the analysis.

This work was done by Miguel Camacho, David Galindo, Daniel Herrington, Thomas Johnson, Ali Olinger, James Sovel, William Stith, Jeffrey Wade, and Peter Walker for the Naval Postgraduate School. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at mobilityengineeringtech.com/tsp under the Data Acquisition category. NPS-0024


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Systems Engineering Capstone Project Report

(reference NPS-0024) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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