While today’s warships are among the most sophisticated digital platforms that exist, maintenance cycles remain resolutely manual. That’s why DCNS is leading a revolution in ship maintenance to fight a long-standing enemy of any fleet: the scheduled overhaul.
Using our vast experience in naval architecture and construction as well in optimizing the technical availability and lifecycle costs of our customers’ fleets, we have recently introduced a new concept of intelligent maintenance or i-maintenance. The objective is to enable the ship to stay at sea for as long as possible in four ways:
- Predictive maintenance
The data captured by system sensors are used to prepare for and plan scheduled maintenance, including overhauls and upgrades. Predictive maintenance is a way to spot an impending failure in advance, prevent unexpected breakdowns at sea, keep costs under control, reduce the need to return to port for major work and shorten the time when there. All this helps contribute to greater availability.
- On-board diagnostics
DCNS i-maintenance gives the ship enhanced, centralized onboard diagnostic capabilities that cover 100% of all its systems, including combat systems. Using digital technologies such as tablet-based maintenance manuals, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), maintenance engineers can perform more complicated maintenance and repair tasks on their own at sea.
- Remote assistance
To further enhance operational readiness, the ship’s engineers can also request remote assistance from the DCNS COSIN Center of Operational Excellence. The COSIN brings together DCNS experts, reference platforms and exact duplicates of shipborne systems, a training center, and a high security data center. The first COSIN is currently being deployed in Toulon, France
Because ship maintenance management systems are increasingly integrated with operational systems, they are often seen by hackers as soft targets. DCNS has applied its robust cybersecurity framework to i-maintenance to protect the data used in maintenance operations as well as communications with the COSIN. These measures range from integrating cybersecurity into maintenance and diagnostic systems to fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness among maintenance engineers and teams.
Looking further into the future, i-maintenance thinking is also part of DCNS’ ship development process. DCNS concept vessels, like the SMX® 3.0 submarine and Belh@rra® new generation digital frigate, are designed with modular “plug-and-play” technologies and systems that can be swapped out and replaced easily during repairs and upgrades.
To ensure its present and future customers’ satisfaction, DCNS proposes innovative solutions to meet the new requirements of in-service support for digitised warships.