Ruggedized Tech

Navy sailors on surface ships to use digital touchscreen

The new Deployable Ship Integration Multitouch (DSIM) system software package will change the way sailors plan flight deck configurations by digitizing aircraft situational planning and moving the process to onboard touchscreens.

“The digital system provides means for planning future evolutions and it can also be used for training,” said Timothy Zeiser, a member of the Carrier Analysis Lab of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. It can be used “to brief the chain of command and also train people prior to undergoing a complex evolution.”

Unlike the preceding ship integration multitouch system, the DSIM system software can be downloaded onto sailors’ laptops and touch screen monitors onboard the ship. Giving the technology a mobility aspect that wasn’t there before, according to Zeiser. New configurations can be devised and then sent directly between personnel for briefing purposes.

The screen can depict either the flight deck or hangar bay, and operators can reposition aircraft and equipment by dragging it on the screen with their fingertips or using a traditional mouse, according to a statement by the Office of Naval Research.

Digitally constructed plans for missions or events can be devised ahead of time and archived, along with any number of contingency or training configurations, Zeiser explained. Meanwhile, the real-time flight deck map remains just a click, or touch, away.

“It lets us make time-critical decisions efficiently today, so we don’t have to do that months from now,” said Lt. Timothy Sullivan of the USS Iwo Jima. “The ability to move aircraft, gear, boxes, simultaneously with everyone’s fingers on the table, so to speak, now, will enable us to save plenty of manpower down the road,” he said.

The Office of Naval Research, with funding from TechSolutions, developed the new software in to replace the old system of tracking aircrafts and planning evolutions, known as the Ouija board.

Aircraft handling officers have been planning and managing flight deck configurations by moving model aircraft around on a six-foot long, waist high replica of the flight deck since World War II, said Zeiser.

“The system now is all interactive, computerized, and touch screen,” said CWO3 Chuck Broadous of the USS Iwo Jima. He and Lt. Sullivan were introduced to the system last month when members of the Carrier Analysis Lab demonstrated the software to sailors and Marines from the USS Iwo Jima, an amphibious assault ship.

TechSolutions is expected to deliver prototypes of the DSIM for several ships later this year, with the goal of introducing the software package to the fleet in 2018.

About the Author

Katherine Owens is a freelance reporter for Defense Systems

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