FORAN in nuclear submarines

Render of a nuclear submarine. The technological development of a submarine with nuclear propulsion technology—of which there are two types, the standard Submarine Ship Nuclear (SSN), and the Submarine Ship Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN)—is an immensely involving task. It is not only a question of performance, which is way above the requirements of other ‘conventional’ submarines (which are usually diesel-electric) or other military or merchant vessels, but also of perfecting and constantly improving the design and construction processes. Engineering works of this type therefore clearly require the most advanced software on the market.

Furthermore, due to their complexity, the design and construction of a nuclear submarine requires hundreds of thousands of man-hours, making the cost of this type of vessel extremely high in comparison with other engineering projects. This means that the ideal solution is to build series of submarines to minimize costs and optimize processes, at the same time as reducing the number of design hours.

By using SENER’s CAD/CAM/CAE design and production system FORAN for nuclear submarines, both requirements are met, the need for advanced software, and the management of series of vessels.

This has allowed SENER to open up the way to the series construction of submarines for the first time in the history of shipbuilding. This is a huge leap forward in the world of shipbuilding software because it cuts down design time by up to 75% as of the second vessel. For the most sophisticated designs, this could be equivalent to the work of over 500 people over the course of several years, to design hundreds of thousands of parts and millions of components (e.g. equipment, cable trays or ventilation ducts). The savings apply both to the construction and the maintenance of the submarines during their entire life cycle.

 Simplification of the FORAN forms for a ballistic type submarine.

The FORAN System helps to reduce times because, among other things, it duplicates the information from each database for each new vessel, as many times as necessary. This makes it possible to apply changes across the board, avoiding the arduous task of accessing and saving the changes one-by-one in each and every database. In fact, without this function, shipyards would be forced to duplicate information for each of the vessels in the series, as most information is the same across all vessels, meaning huge investments in terms of man-hours as well as opening up the possibility of inconsistencies.