The US Office of Naval Research's (ONR) TechSolutions programme has sponsored the development of the deployable ship integration multitouch system (DSIMS).
DSIMS is a mobile software package featuring a digital touchscreen image of a vessel’s flight deck or hangar bay, and can be used on a laptop or desktop computer.
The system will be designed to allow aircraft handlers to easily change flight deck configurations anywhere on the vessel and plan operations before deployment, as well as share data digitally with other DSIMS users for enhanced collaboration.
ONR command master chief Matt Matteson said: “This interactive, computerised system is a leap forward for naval aviation.
“It's a fairly straightforward technological solution that brings with it tremendous functionality and saves time.”
Aircraft handlers currently use a a 6ft-long physical replica of the deck informally known as 'Ouija board' to track the movements of aircraft and equipment on the flight deck of aviation-capable vessels such as aircraft carriers.
The design of Ouija board has not much changed since the World War II and therefore has several limitations.
DSIMS will be a digital, mobile version of the Ouija board, which will allow aircraft handlers to plan for upcoming or unexpected scenarios months before a vessel is due to depart from its port.
The system also possesses special screen modules that display aircraft fuelling needs, maintenance requests and availability for flight.
DSIMS was recently demonstrated at Lakehurst's Carrier Analysis Lab for Sailors and Marines from the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), before the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship was deployed.
A prototype DSIMS is expected to be delivered by TechSolutions later this year for testing and evaluation purposes on-board several ships, including the Iwo Jima.
The system is currently scheduled to be issued throughout the fleet in 2018.