As discussed in a recent ATI Blog, Model Based Systems Engineering is a great way to accomplish goals cheaper, faster, and better. MBSE alleviates the need to verify your design and construction with frequent and expensive field testing. Unfortunately, however, there is still a need to occasionally conduct field testing. Field testing may be required to verify the validity of models which feed your MBSE. Additionally, it is sometimes critically important to conduct field tests, even though Models suggest that the system will work as designed. One example of this would be when human lives are at stake, and the designer is unwilling to put full trust in the MBSE.
The design of the US’s newest Aircraft Carrier, The Gerald Ford Class Carrier, is an excellent example of how Field Testing may be used in conjunction with MBSE.
The US Navy explains that “The Navy designed the Ford-class carrier using advanced computer modeling methods, testing, and analysis to ensure the ships are hardened to withstand harsh battle conditions.” Although MBSE assured engineers that the ship would be safe in battle conditions, field testing was ordered in order to verify the MBSE. Such verification is not performed for every design. In fact, the last time field testing was used by the Navy to verify MBSE was in 2016 for Littoral Combat Ships.
Pyrotechnic Shock Testing on August 8, 2021 in water off the coast of Florida validated the ship’s ability to sustain operations in a simulated combat environment. Forty Thousand pound (40,000 lb) underwater explosions were released at distances progressively closer to the Carrier, which was heavily instrumented to record the amount of shock that was experienced onboard.
The Navy explains that “These shock trials have tested the resiliency of Ford and her crew and provided extensive data used in the process of validating the shock hardness of the ship.”
Engineers should always use MBSE, but must also be familiar with Pyrotechnic Shock Testing which is sometimes required in addition to MBSE.
To read the US Navy’s reporting of this Pyrotechnic Shock Testing, and to see pictures and videos of the testing, you can go here.
To read about and register for ATI’s upcoming Pyrotechnic Shock Testing course, you can go here.
And, as always, to see a full listing of all ATI courses, you can go here.