The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) is a twin-shaft amphibious assault ship in active service with the U.S. Navy. Nearly 850 feet long and with a full displacement of over 40,000 tons, the Makin Island can carry and launch dozens of helicopters and landing craft. Unlike earlier steam-powered ships of its class, the Makin Island uses a hybrid-electric propulsion system with gas turbines for high-speed travel and electric motors for efficient low-speed operation. The new propulsion configuration has two 35,000 BHP gas turbines, two 5000 BHP AC electric motors, and six diesel generators.
GasTOPS used Model-Based Design with MATLAB® and Simulink® to model the LHD 8 propulsion plant and develop its control algorithms, simulate the electrical power generation and distribution system, and create a simulator-stimulator system for real-time hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing of the machinery control system. This approach enabled the team to identify potential problems before sea trials began.
“With MATLAB and Simulink, we can rectify issues early in the design phase,” says Shaun Horning, vice president of Technical & Engineering Services at GasTOPS. “Before the ship is built, we can analyze crash astern, crash ahead, and other maneuvers, and generate a set of expected results to compare with actual sea trial results.”