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HPI Commissions Automated Control System For USS Foster

Posted on December 8, 2009

HPI, a supplier of turbine control solutions and turnkey power plants, has announced the 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 control system will provide shore-based personnel with the ability to control the ship's 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,” says Hal Pontez, president and chief executive officer 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. It was an honor to work with the U.S. Navy and leverage our deep control systems knowledge and experience for the benefit of this successful project.”

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