Virtual Technology Changes Design of UK Navy Warships

BAE Systems’ Engineers are overhauling their approach to the design and build of Royal Navy warships by using cutting edge virtual reality technology.

The Company has constructed a network of ‘visualisation suites’ at their sites in Glasgow, Portsmouth and Bristol, which create full scale 3D ship prototypes, enabling engineering teams to virtually build and test the design of vessels in advance of the first steel being cut.

A laser tracking system and interactive wand allows operators to fly through a ship’s design from any angle and the ability to inspect and examine specific areas, equipment and systems, quickly and easily. This means potential engineering issues can be identified and addressed in real time, while the technology also enables greater collaboration and engagement with suppliers and customers, bringing them into the design process at an earlier stage.

Mick Ord, Managing Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships business, said:

Visualisation technology is transforming the way we design, build and deliver complex warships. By creating a virtual prototype, we can mature and optimise a ship’s design and gain a real understanding of the vessel and the experience of those serving on board before manufacturing begins.

This new tool forms part of our wider investment activity as we create a world class UK naval engineering business.

Cheshire-based SME Virtalis was awarded the contract to install the virtual reality technology across the company’s sites. A pilot has been underway since February and the Company has since opened five suites which have played a key role in the design of the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels, with teams also using the tool to further mature the design of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

Press release, Image: BAE Systems

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