Astute Class Platform Management System Central Computer Software

Design and implementation of an autopilot software solution

Stirling has been involved with the Royal Navy Astute submarine programme since 1996, initially providing the algorithm designs for both the depth and course autopilot and the hover system for Boats 1 to 3. For Boat 4, in addition to the algorithm design, Stirling are supplying the PMS (Platform Management System) central computer software. In 2009, BAE Systems re-bid the PMS System for Boat 4 and awarded us the contract to supply the PMS central computer software. We are currently progressing towards the delivery of this system.

Our safety-critical software incorporates the course, depth autopilot and hover control algorithms and all associated logic and fault cascading, and is compliant with DEF STAN 00-56. We are also responsible for delivering the whole-boat simulation model, which has been developed across boats 1-4 to: design the control algorithms; demonstrate accurate boat performance modelling; provide a reference system for acceptance of the wider platform management software; and providing a flexible system that enables hardware in the loop or purely simulated running.

Over the course of this programme, we demonstrated that, by combining boat control algorithm design with the implementation of the autopilot software solution, whole programme risk of implementation would be significantly decreased and overall cost-efficiencies increased.

Commander Iain Breckenridge, HMS Astute Commanding Officer says:

I have done things in this submarine I have never done in any other submarine – the autopilot is fantastic, the optronics system is superb and the secondary propulsion and hover systems enable manoeuvres you can’t do in any other UK sub.