Large full-ship engineering analyses and simulations are performed today in various disciplines. Such analysis models are almost always "hand-crafted" by skilled and experienced analysts. There is a need to improve upon the time, cost, and skill mix required to create such large-scale ship models. In order to perform a full ship computational analysis, the engineering analyst must have or create an analysis-ready model. Following current work practices, a computer-aided design (CAD) database of the vessel is created, primarily for design disclosure and manufacturing rather than for analysis. Consequently, the model may not be suitable or easily modified to create an analysis-ready model. Several thousand man hours are required to obtain data and prepare a model that is usable for analyses. Furthermore, solely expanding use of modeling and simulation tools, without accompanying changes in the model generation approach, will not deliver significant savings. Model generation is a complex effort and often is the major cost of full ship analysis.

The authors present a summary of several National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) efforts which support ship design and analysis automation from the early concept to the detailed stages. These unique approaches focus on supporting multilevel modeling fidelity within a flexible design environment at the earliest stages of ship concept formulation by implementing a more computer-aided engineering (CAE) centric approach, in which data is captured at the beginning of the ship design cycle, thus having the most cost effective impact as ship design progresses through the ship’s lifecycle.

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