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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 490-96
August 14, 1996

DARPA ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR FOUR MARITECH PROJECTS

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today announced the award of $34.5 million for four advanced technology development MARITECH projects to improve ship design and construction processes. These cooperative agreement efforts, signed in June, are expected to dramatically reduce the time and cost for designing and constructing U.S. Navy ships and help thrust the U.S. shipbuilding industry ahead of its international competition in commercial ship construction.

The Virtual Shipbuilding Consortium, with members Hughes Aircraft Inc., Fullerton, Calif.; Orincon Corp., San Diego, Calif.; American Management Enterprises, Arlington, Va.; Avondale Shipyards Inc., New Orleans, La.; and Intergraph Corporation, Huntsville, Ala., received a two-year $19,033,296 cost-shared cooperative agreement on June 27, 1996. Of the total agreement, the government's share is $7,619,696; industry's share is $11,413,600. This effort will develop an electronic information framework to allow physically separated companies to operate efficiently and effectively as a virtual corporation and to rapidly respond to customer inquiries for new ship designs.

The STEP (International Standard for Exchange of Product Models)-Ship Product Model Exchange Project, proposed by Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.; Newport News Shipyard, Newport News, Va.; Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn.; Computervision, Bedford, Mass.; Kockums Computer Systems, Annapolis, Md.; Ingalls Shipyard, Pascagoula, Miss.; and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., received a three-year $16,165,170 cooperative agreement on June 28, 1996. The government and industry are evenly sharing the total cost. This project will develop and test prototype STEP-compliant translators to facilitate the transfer of ship three-dimensional product model data between different companies with different computer-aided design and manufacturing systems via a neutral file format.

Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn.; the National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols Consortium, Stamford, Conn.; Avondale Shipyards Inc., New Orleans, La.; Atlantic Marine Corporation, Jacksonville, Fla.; Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle, Wash.; Computer Sciences Corporation, El Segundo, Calif.; Deneb Robotics, Auburn Hills, Mich.; Carl L. Harshman and Associates Inc., St. Louis, Mo.; National Steel and Shipbuilding Corporation, San Diego, Calif.; and Structured Technology Corporation, Niantic, Conn., received a three-year $21,809,206 cooperative agreement for the New Shipbuilding Methodology Through the Shipbuilding Information Infrastructure Project (SHIIP) on June 27, 1996. Of this total, the government's share is $10,085,546; industry's share is $11,723,660. This effort will develop an advanced, electronic shipyard information infrastructure, modify shipyard processes and address the required cultural changes within a shipyard to radically improve the construction process.

The Commercial Object Model of Products/Processes for an Advanced Shipbuilding System (COMPASS) project, proposed by Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.; Newport News Shipyard, Newport News, Va.; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and the American Bureau of Shipping, Houston, Texas, received a three- year $17,831,481 cooperative agreement on June 26, 1996. Of this total, the government's share is $8,716,532; industry's share is $9,114,481. COMPASS seeks to develop a comprehensive, affordable, Windows-based, ship design and data management system that will be scaleable for use by shipyards of all sizes.

The MARITECH program is a five-year effort to work with industry to develop and apply advanced technology to improve the commercial competitiveness of the U.S. shipbuilding industry and reduce the cost of Naval shipbuilding.

The awards announced today develop the information and communication infrastructure that U.S. shipyards will need to be commercially competitive into the next century and that the Navy and industry will need to design and build affordable Navy ships. The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Va., and the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Carderock Division (David Taylor), Carderock, Md., are acting as DARPAs agents for these efforts.

More detail on each project is provided below:

The Virtual Shipbuilding Consortium will develop technologies that will enable the different participants involved in ship design and construction (i.e., shipbuilders, designers, suppliers, etc.) to respond more rapidly to customer inquiries for new ships. An information framework will be developed so multiple companies can operate efficiently and effectively as a virtual organization through the use of advanced communications and information technologies. It will also include the development and use of advanced computer visualization and process simulation tools.

The STEP-Ship Product Model Exchange Project will establish a neutral ship product model data base in accordance with the International Standards Organization (ISO) STEP Application Protocols. Prototype translators will than be developed by the participating computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software vendors to transfer data from individual shipyard CAD/CAM systems into and out of the neutral data base. If successful, a shipyard will be able to transfer its ship product model data into the neutral data base format and another shipyard will be able to retrieve this data into its CAD/CAM system. This project is a critical link in the ability for shipyards and their customers, Navy and commercial, to be able to share ship three-dimensional product model data regardless of what CAD/CAM system is being used.

The New Shipbuilding Methodology Through the Shipbuilding Infrastructure Project (SHIIP) will develop technologies that allow a shipbuilder to reduce the time and cost of ship construction through a new shipbuilding methodology that leverages off new, innovative information (intra-net) systems. In this project, Electric Boat will develop and deploy technologies that will provide enterprise-wide information libraries on ship design details and construction strategies and provide electronic access to these libraries throughout the workforce. The project will address the organizational reengineering and cultural changes that must take place to truly take advantage of this technology. There will also be an attempt to deploy this technology in a second tier commercial shipyard to demonstrate its applicability to commercial ship construction.

The Commercial Object Model of Products/Processes for an Advanced Shipbuilding System Project (COMPASS) will develop a comprehensive, next-generation, affordable, Windows-based ship design and data management system that integrates and manages all the data required for ship design, construction and lifecycle support. This project will integrate Newport News' self- developed, workstation-based product modeling system (wsVIVID) with Intergraph's Jupiter component object software technology. Jupiter provides a standard means for integrating geometric and non-geometric data in a Windows environment so that it can run on a low-cost computer platform. Ship designers and builders will be able to plug and play their technical applications with office automation components in the familiar Windows environment.