Smart Ships - Ship Structural Health Monitoring

Smart Ships - Ship Structural Health Monitoring

The specific challenge is directed towards the transition from traditional time-based scheduled maintenance schemes to condition based maintenance (CBM) and complete lifecycle monitoring and management of naval vessels. Such a transition is of paramount importance for reasons associated with reduced maintenance costs, increased operational availability, increased safety, and optimization of operational performance.

Strategic importance is identified as the overarching goal to utilize the big amount of data from sensor measurements by innovative means. When included in the monitoring system, this will offer new information and capabilities on-board and on-shore. Model analysis and tools will further help optimization of design, support the implementation of sensor systems, such as the location and number of sensors, as well as optimize the hull and ship maintenance program. Sensor-based model tools will also be relevant for simulated exercises and training.


The proposals must aim to obtain improved naval vessels' operational capability through research on advancing the utilization of data from the state of the art, and/or innovatively improve the hull ship structural health monitoring systems, using modern data science tools, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), digital twin models or other. This will address key topics, such as safe operational envelopes both in peacetime operations and crisis/war situations, weapon systems accuracy improvement, sensors' optimal placement and networking, ship hull structural computational modelling and lifetime extension, damage detection/diagnosis and prognosis, vibration contribution to the hydro-acoustic signature – or more general the vessel’s signatures and condition – and their integration in a decision-making system for naval vessels.


The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding possible upstream activities eligible for research actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:

- studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;

- the design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.

The targeted activities must in particular include:

- Extension of the on-board SHM systems to detect features in data related to damage detection and assessment, and in that way expand operational envelopes by optimal utilization of vessel capabilities.

- Identification of local/global structural vibrations that contribute to the vessel’s hydrodynamic signature and establish tools to aid operators in visualization and prediction, with the result of avoid being recognized/positively identified by “red forces”.

- Exploration of the possibilities in utilizing SHM measurements of local and global hull deformation/vibrations to improve the precision of weapon systems on board the vessel.

A detailed planning of potential subsequent phases must be generated, including the identification of implementation priorities, according to the operational needs.


Link with CMA Goals 

Goal II: A competitive, innovative and sustainable blue economy for the Black Sea
 / Priority 2: Promote transport and digital connectivity of the Black Sea

Romania Bulgaria
European Defence Fund
Sector of Activity
Safety and Security Shipbuilding (excl. leisure boats) and ship repair