Aligned with the Department of Defense Digital Transformation Strategy, NAVWAR is shifting from a design-build-test methodology to a model-analyze-build methodology, enabling the ability to test and evaluate solutions in a virtual environment before delivery. This shift will increase system reliability and cybersecurity while decreasing risk for the warfighter.
“Digital engineering is vital in modernizing how we design, develop, deliver, operate and sustain systems,” said NAVWAR Executive Director Pat Sullivan. “It enables the use of digital models throughout the life cycle of a system, increasing system cybersecurity, interoperability and resiliency. This provides a solid foundation to enable us to fight and win the conflicts of the future.”
NAVWAR’s first digital twin, also known as Digital Lincoln, used NAVWAR’s model based systems engineering (MBSE) methodology, and its corresponding integrated dictionary, schema, and requirements framework to develop an end-to-end digital representation of five interconnected systems being installed on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
“MBSE provides a consistent approach for developing and sharing engineering information across interrelated efforts,” said Sam Rix, NAVWAR MBSE implementation lead. “The integrated dictionary provides a list of parts engineers can use when building a digital model, the schema provides directions on how to put the parts together, and the requirements framework describes the traceability across digital models to track how and why the parts connect.”
Digital Lincoln is a black box model; a digital representation that can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs, of the following five interconnected systems onboard USS Abraham Lincoln:
- The Distributed Common Ground System-Navy (DCGS-N): A program that provides the Navy’s primary intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting-support capability. Afloat or ashore, DCGS-N tools are critical for the operational commander’s battlespace awareness and net centric operations.
- Navy Integrated Tactical Environmental System-Next Generation (NITES-Next): A system that uses meteorology and oceanography data to help the warfighter with mission planning, mission execution, critical decision-making and situational awareness.
- Maritime Tactical Command and Control (MTC2): A Navy command and control (C2) program that delivers battle management aids to dynamically plan, direct, monitor and assess maritime operations.
- Global Command and Control System – Maritime (GCCS-M): A system that fuses, correlates, filters, maintains and displays location and attribute information on friendly, hostile and neutral land, sea and air forces.
- Agile Core Services (ACS) - An element of Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) that gives CANES the infrastructure to support application migration.
“Modeling complex systems in a digital environment is like working on a giant puzzle, where multiple people are working separate sections of the puzzle,” said Monique Harris, NAVWAR requirements management lead. “It is not until the people begin to communicate that they are able put their sections together to reveal the final image. These systems are like separate sections of the puzzle, and in the past we have waited until fielding to put the puzzle pieces together, but with digital engineering we are putting the pieces together before fielding, allowing us to address issues before we deliver the system to the warfighter.”
By developing a digital twin, or digital model, of these systems, NAVWAR was able to identify capability gaps and overlaps prior to installation.
“For example, we found that some of the systems were making individual offshore calls for the exact same piece of information,” said Chris Ruffalo, NAVWAR digital products lead for digital engineering. “Digital Lincoln allowed us to identify the overlap and resolve the problem before delivery, so only one system was tackling the task, rather than two or three, reducing bandwidth used. That is very important in a bandwidth degraded environment.”
In addition to developing a digital twin of these systems, Digital Lincoln provides a standardized format for developing future digital models and a baseline for future installations.
Moving forward, the NAVWAR Digital Lincoln team will leverage lessons learned and apply them to the development of a system-of-systems digital twin of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), or Digital Ike.