General Dynamics Applied Physical Sciences introduced FutureWaves, a wave- and ship-motion forecasting system. FutureWaves provides a tool that uses remote measurement of the ocean waves around a ship to provide a deterministic forecast of the ship’s motions for minutes into the future. This technology was originally pursued by the US Navy to support seabasing operations involving transfer of personnel, vehicles, and equipment between ships at sea. The FutureWaves output provides recommendations for the best ship heading and speed to minimize ship motions and identifies upcoming large-motion events and quiescent periods. At the core of the FutureWaves system is the remote wave sensor, a specialized X-band Doppler radar able to measure the orbital motions of ocean waves. These measurements are fed to a specialized processing chain to generate a mathematical representation of the waves, using a least-squares inversion technique. This representation of the specific waves in the region of the ship is then evolved forward in time according to wave-propagation physics to produce forecasts of future waves. An embedded simulation tool provides forecasts of the associated ship motions, allowing operators to anticipate and respond to upcoming motion events. This capability has been demonstrated at sea on a number of Navy vessels ranging in size from 120 to 950 ft.
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