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Delivering Capabilities to the Fleet at Light Speed


The Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion (A-RCI) sonar system was developed by the Navy to bring the benefits of modern computer technology to anti-submarine warfare. It enables the use of high performance signal processing algorithms that allow the detection and tracking of modern quiet submarines and helps to ensure the U.S. Navy submarine force has the advantage against any potential adversary. First installed in the fleet in 1997, A-RCI is now on every class of submarine providing the benefits of COTS to all.

Presentation to the Systems and Software Technology Conference, April 2005

by CAPT Gib Kerr, Program Manager

Submarine Acoustic Systems (PMS 401) (202) 781-1556 [email protected]

Prepared by R.W. Miller Anteon Corp 202-756-7629

V. Vara APM, Sensors PMS 4011 202-781-0985

H. Megonigal APM, Acoustics PMS 4012 202-781-1192

Introduction (cont'd)

· A-RCI is designed to receive annual software updates to respond to changing requirements and incorporate new advances in detection algorithms. These updates are known as Advanced Processing Builds (APBs).

­ To date, there have been six functionality updates (APBs).

Current APB Population

· A-RCI is designed to undergo periodic technology insertions to maintain its computing capacity at state-of-the-practice values and to eliminate COTS obsolescence issues.

­ To date, there have been four technology insertions (TIs)

· The successes of the A-RCI APB and TI processes have been noted throughout the Navy and Department of Defense and are serving as the model for ongoing upgrades to the submarine's entire combat system. · Maintaining the rapid pace of APB and TI introduction while still maintaining quality and providing proper logistical support is an enormous challenge that the A-RCI team is constantly working.

What Drives the New Requirements / Software Changes?

These are the inputs to the APB Process:

1. New Fleet user requirements (come from reanalysis of existing problems, previously unidentified problems, new desired capabilities to make the mission easier) 2. Quieter submarines that are harder to detect and track 3. New operating areas (littoral) with more challenging environmental effects 4. New (or reemphasized) submarine missions (special operations / intelligence gathering / land strike) 5. Ongoing research ­ new algorithms and functionality are constantly being developed in the laboratory that have promise for improving acoustic system performance 6. Lessons Learned ­ feedback from the Fleet using the last A-RCI version on improvements that would enhance operability or on problems that prevent full utilization Fleet involvement (user groups such as Concept of Operation Support Group and Submarine Tactical Requirements Group) make the Fleet a partner in development. Their input is taken at all steps of the process which provides Fleet buy-in to the end product.

What is the APB Process and How is it Unusual

Advanced Processing Build (APB) ­ a disciplined process to take new functionality and algorithms from the laboratory to the Fleet in under two years in response to Fleet requirements.

· Best of the best ­ all proposed algorithms are tested and compared to current functionality and other proposed algorithms to pick the best one to implement · Data Driven Testing - testing is conducted using real world recorded data to determine performance against actual targets in representative environments

­ Frequent collection of new data is critical to ability to perform this step ­ Testing with real data with agreed to metrics helps in decision making ­ there is no argument when everyone can see the improvement

· Peer Review ­ the proposed algorithms are reviewed and candidates selected by peer groups of the Navy's sonar experts (coming from large and small industry, universities and Navy labs)

What is the APB Process and How is it Unusual

· Open Entry ­ any software / algorithm developer can propose improvements and join in the APB process

­ Currently have many different developers working on updates ­ Many developers have long relationships with our prime contractors

APB Four Step Process

· Final Delivery ­ the software delivered at the end of the process already runs on A-RCI system hardware and only needs integration / productionization to be Fleet ready · Compressed Timeline ­ the requirement for annual software deliveries forces a schedule-driven development plan.

­ Only those products ready on time migrate, others wait for the next APB ­ Pressure on the developers and integrators to stay on schedule and work through problems rapidly

Deliver For Integration

Steps in the APB Process

Four step process ­ we will focus on what happens after Step 2 (algorithm testing using real data). This is when the APB timeline starts and the schedule crunch begins. Until then the algorithm developers keep testing and only promote algorithms that have a good chance of passing Step 3 and Step 4 testing.

· After successfully passing Step 2, algorithms are ported to run on the A-RCI hardware suite in real time. · Step 3 testing is done on the A-RCI hardware suite using real recorded data to quantitatively test system performance against actual situations in realistic environments.

­ The testing is done in an iterative fashion with string developers available to fix problems found. ­ Testing serves to validate system performance and verify readiness to test at-sea (Step 4).

Steps in the APB Process (cont'd)

· Step 4 testing is done at sea on an A-RCI equipped submarine to better assess performance in the real world with real operators in real situations

­ Step 4 testing is conducted in a disciplined manner using representative targets ­ Data is recorded during Step 4 testing to allow further analysis ashore

· Only those algorithms that show satisfactory performance in Step 3 and Step 4 testing will go on to be productionized into a deliverable update to the A-RCI system

Productionization Process


· Productionization is the process of taking the delivered APB software (which runs on A-RCI hardware) and incorporating changes for each configuration, building longevity, improving reliability, and correcting problems noted during testing · It starts with the output of the Step 4 test ­ algorithms / software running on an A-RCI system (possibly the previous generation hardware) · Nominally six months from sea test to delivery to first ship · It is the time to fix problems from the sea test, roll in late improvements and other non-APB changes as well as make the software as reliable as possible · There is a need to develop multiple shipboard configurations as there are minor variations in the A-RCI hardware among the different submarine classes · Flexible operational testing and teamwork is critical to conducting a timely testing program that provides valuable input to the delivered product

APB Product Post Step 4

Lessons Learned

· Significant management attention is required to make sure the processes remain on track and emergent problems don't hold up the delivery schedule. · Most decisions and interactions should be done at the lowest level possible to speed up the process and let the people who know the problem implement the fix. · Test early and often to identify problems so that fixes can be made while adhering to schedule. · All participants must work together as a team. Structure contract vehicles to reward teamwork between the members of the team. · Use Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) with members from all participating organizations to build consensus for decisions. · Manage configurations closely to prevent late emerging problems

­ Using different operating system versions at different developers can lead to many integration headaches ­ Don't let configuration management become a burden and make sure it does not prevent you from meeting schedule.

Key Players

· Program Executive Officer Submarines (PEO SUBS) Acoustic Systems Program Office (PMS 401) ­ Washington, DC · Program Executive Officer Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) 5A Advanced Systems and Technology Office (ASTO) ­ Washington, DC · Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors ­ Manassas, VA · General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems ­ Fairfax, VA · Progeny Systems Corporation - Manassas, VA · Applied Research Laboratory, University of Texas (ARL:UT) ­ Austin, TX · Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU APL) ­ Laurel, MD


APB - Advanced Processing Build A-RCI - Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion COTS ­ Commercial Off The Shelf IPT - Integrated Product Team TI - Technology Insertion


Microsoft PowerPoint - SSTC 2005 ARCI Process

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