In this paper, the use of Model-Based Systems engineering methodology and System of Systems Engineering to overcome the challenges associated with the exploration of a wide range of system and subsystem options for a prospective ship design, and the design’s exploitation is described. The paper discusses the use of different tools with an overall goal of producing a combination of optimised systems to meet potential complex needs. These systems manage the interface between the engineering of a very wide selection of potential balanced ship designs (weight, space…), with assessment of the customers’ perceived value of those solutions.

A fundamental difference exists between the engineering synthesis of viable solutions and the assessment of customer value when both are defined as functions of a range of input options. The former displays very strong interdependencies between options, whilst the latter is indifferent to such complications. The engineer will have to consider which combination of systems and subsystems to use in order to achieve the specified requirements; while the customer is only concerned with the final product. As a result of this and problems that can ensue, value assessment of ship designs has traditionally been restricted to a limited number of viable solutions. However, when there is a requirement to explore a wide range of potential options covering a large trade space, alternative approaches based on system of systems approaches become necessary.

The paper introduces tools developed to support warship trade space explorations and the issues that emerge are discussed with reference to experience gained during the development and assessment of some recent illustrative ship concept designs and their potential operational exploitation.

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