Lockheed Martin Australia is working on improved human systems integration (HSI) for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) new Attack-class submarines.

John Towers, the HSI lead at the company told MON that this factor in submarine design has often been neglected but with modelling and simulation it is possible to establish “best practise” that can improve operational performance.

Using a commercial tool for task analysis the activities and workloads of each operator on the submarine can be monitored and tracked. Towers said that whilst Lockheed Martin’s specific tool for the simulation of the Attack-class is still under development “it allows us to identify where there could be workflow issues.”

Viewing a layout of the submarine control room it means that consoles can be arranged and roles to positions allocated and this can be exported as a configuration file so that a simulation can be run quickly and the results played to see in specific scenarios and how that situation evolved.

“It is a complex environment with 20 operators working, so with that tool we can have a look at the graphs and as we input the data it will organise it into different phases of the scenario then we will see where we have elevated workload or issues of workflow,” Towers said.

This can be played back to see how a scenario unfolds with the data visualised on an overlay of the control room showing the interactions between personnel such as crew and command and its effect.

“We spend a lot of time looking at how best to optimise communications between the roles access to display with high level consolidated command information and start to design new concept workstation and screens,” Towers explained.

With the establishment of more Tier 1 suppliers on the Attack-class programme and understanding of equipment that will be installed into the combat system, Towers expects in the near future to be able to model down further with more detail of the roles and workload.

TIm Fish

A model of the combat systems equipment room and weapons embarkation ramp that shows one possible layout of the control room. Lockheed’s modelling tools will be able to optimise operator workloads and activities in that space to make it more effective improving the overall operational performance of the platform. (Tim Fish)

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