Virtalis Plays Important Part in the Manufacture of the Astute Class of Submarine

BAE SYSTEMS Submarines, helped by Virtalis, is currently deploying advanced visualisation facilities, this time for the new Astute Class of submarine. Work is now underway on a contract to supply BAE SYSTEMS Submarines with four VR enabled cabins and three VR suites. Although delivery is not scheduled to be complete until next year, with just the first cabin operational and in situ, the project has won the prestigious BAE SYSTEMS Submarines Chairman’s Bronze Award. Lord Bach, the defence procurement minister, explained in 2003: “The Astute Class will be the most advanced and powerful attack submarines the Royal Navy has ever operated and these boats will play a key part of our defence for decades to come.” The construction of the Astute Class is a tremendous technical challenge. Not only is it bigger than any attack submarine previously built in the UK, but also there is no physical prototype. However, the introduction of modular build techniques, coupled with the use of CAD and advanced visualisation is enabling these obstacles to be overcome. John Martin, a consulting engineer at BAE SYSTEMS Submarines, explained: “This was the vision for the use of Virtual Reality when it was decided not to rely on physical prototypes in 1997. Being able to view the 3D virtual models in accessible cabins locally positioned on gantries surrounding the boat provides a direct replacement for expensive physical models.” Keith Livingston, support manager for CAD/CAM application at BAE SYSTEMS Submarines, commented: “A very important aspect of these new VR facilities is that they provide real time access to the virtual model and related engineering data. The images are mainly rear projected, which not only protects the equipment from a harsh environment, but it also allows our workforce to interact with the virtual models without casting a shadow.” Ian Millard, applications engineer responsible for the implementation of the new advanced visualisation cabins and rooms at BAE SYSTEMS Submarines, said: “Our engineering data is now truly being shared by the manufacturing engineers responsible for building this boat. These new facilities can be used in future to support the Astute through its service for refits and even for training purposes.” Andrew Connell, technical director at Virtalis, said: “The relationship between BAE SYSTEMS Submarines and Virtalis goes back more than a decade. BAE was an early adopter of this technology and is now reaping its rewards.” Virtalis Web Site: BAE SYSTEMS: Virtalis Press Contact: Sarah Cockburn-Price Telephone number: 0161 789 8108 E-mail:

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