Association Technique Maritime et Aéronautique

Numéro : 2730 - Year : 2018

Naval Architecture at the Digital Age: Innovations enabling GOWIND® Competitiveness

Gilles LANGLOIS - Yann FLOCH - Naval Group – Surface Ship Architecture Department – Lorient (France)


The market of Surface Combatant has deeply changed over the last 10 years.

Due to the evolution of the strategic environment, naval combat has evolved from blue water warfare (ocean going warfare) to brown water warfare (coastal environment) for which survivability against asymmetric threats such as mines, costal submarines, armed unmanned vehicles, etc… Stealth, intelligence, ASW capability, asymmetric threat warfare, cyber defence and survivability are now must-have capabilities to penetrate the very competitive and deeply transformed corvette market, which estimated size over the next decade exceeds a few hundred units.

How to make a 5000/6000t multi mission frigate capabilities balanced into a 2000t/3000t ship at a very competitive price and facing many challenger shipyards from different countries (Netherlands, China, Korea, Turkey, Italy, …). Corvettes are multi-mission heavily armed surface combatants that are fitted with powerful propulsion and electrical plants, are operated by a small complement and are equipped with multiple embedded softwares. Man Machine Interfaces (MMIs), performances, versatility, safety and resistance to cyber threats must be high, resilient and proven. Moreover these ships have often to be built in various shipyards with non-standards capabilities.

Corvettes are therefore complex systems with embedded software that are a real challenge for naval architects

For more than 10 years, Naval Group has applied a global approach to become a significant player on the corvette segment of the naval market. In order to achieve the challenge of competitiveness (high level of performances in constrained budgets), Naval Group decided to implement the following innovations:

  • System engineering: speeds the management of transverse, functional and physical interfaces of a large number of equipment for high level of whole warship performance;
  • Higher modularity level, as exemplified by the outfitted and pre-tested Panoramic Sensor Intelligent Module (PSIM) that houses high value equipment which functional integration is complex;
  • The implementation of a new generation of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) methods for the design of hull form with a parallel middle body and multi-criteria optimizations.

Thanks to innovative approaches and solutions, the El Fateh corvette performance assessments at sea was successful within a time frame of 36 months (Figure 1); including development, construction in Lorient (France), tests and acceptance (including Combat System), with all the interfaces components.

Naval Group is now a significant player on the corvette market with nine (9) GOWIND® corvettes at different building stages in foreign shipyards owing to an effective transfer of know-how in Egypt and in Malaysia.

This paper is written in English


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