HPI, supplier of turbine control solutions and turnkey power plants, announced the successful commissioning of a digital propulsion, power and steering control system aboard the ex-USS Foster Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS). HPI designed the system to replace the existing analog controls, creating a fully integrated remote control system allowing the SDTS to operate un-manned at sea. Called the Digital Remote Interface Vector Equipment (DRIVE), the system has been built using multiple Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s), and includes computer workstations connected via a redundant fiber optic network.
The high reliability control system will provide shore-based personnel with the ability to control the ships speed, course and machinery during weapons trials. This control system will enable the SDTS to provide realistic effectiveness testing of self defense sensors, weapons and controls via live-fire test operations.
“The DRIVE system will provide the U.S. Navy with a more reliable control system for their testing and evaluations”, said Hal Pontez, President and CEO of HPI. “The system we designed converts the Foster’s gas turbine propulsion plant and steering system from its original analog control system to a PLC and PC based, digital-to-digital interface.”