Achieving ship's mission flexibility through designing, printing and operating unmanned systems with additive manufacturing and delayed differentiation
Sin, Mong Lin
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The design, print and operate (DPO) concept of operations (CONOPS) is proposed in this thesis as a new means of equipping ships with the appropriate capabilities. A companion concept of delayed differentiation is also introduced. In coupling the two concepts, additive manufacturing of capabilities in-situ becomes a possibility through the equipping of operational units with three building blocks: additive manufacturing systems and their raw materials, commercial off-the-shelf items and field programmable gate arrays. A concept of operations on uses of additive manufacturing was developed to illustrate the flexibility that the nexus of DPO CONOPS and delayed differentiation can engender. A tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was used as an illustration to contextualize the concept of operations to enhance the littoral combat ship's survivability when operating in the littorals. Assessments were then made on the feasibility of DPO CONOPS for shipboard uses. A tactical UAV was used as it was assessed to be operationally relevant and significant. Analytical models that could be iterated to achieve the specific-to-mission requirements were developed to analyze and assess the implementation approach. The models focused on the UAV's reliability in fulfilling the mission as well as the build-time of the UAV.
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