Maritime Platform Design and Life Support

In Platform Design and Life Support (PDLS) we are shaping the future of ships and submarines by delivering outstanding maritime services globally. We enable our clients to operate to the highest standards, safely and efficiently by delivering exceptional technical solutions. 

QEC model in tank

Design & Optimisation of Ships and Submarines

PDLS provides design & optimisation of feasibility level vessel designs covering hydrodynamic, human and operational performance. Once a baseline performance has been established, QinetiQ designers will use physical and computational model testing to help optimise the design to meet key performance requirements. 

QinetiQ provides a complete suite of optimisation services which includes the ability to optimise performance using a combination of analytical methods and physical model testing. Our team utilises CFD and simulation software codes running on large computer clusters to conduct rapid and detailed flow assessments. CFD and simulation is routinely used to refine the design solution before building a physical model and testing in the tank facilities.

Test & Evaluation of Ships and Submarines

Test & Evaluation (T&E) is critical to ensuring modern high performing and complex vessel designs are operationally effective, efficient and safe in the world’s oceans. In today’s climate of financial challenges and rapid evolution of technology, agility and pace are critical to ensuring that T&E activity is sharply focussed on the critical questions and provides essential evidence when needed. 

We remain at the forefront of T&E, operating some of the largest hydrodynamic facilities in the world. Supported by over £100m of test facilities and equipment including one of the world’s largest ocean basins and a high performance computing cluster, customers include Governments, maritime regulatory bodies, shipping operators, designers and constructors.

QinetiQ has considerable experience in the field of hydrodynamic consultancy and operates two world-class test
facilities; a 270m long Towing Tank and a 120m x 60m Ocean Basin. Utilising these facilities and drawing upon a wealth of experience in model experimentation, Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analysis and the development and exploitation of empirical and semi-empirical methods, QinetiQ provides efficient and fast turn-around assessment of vessel performance. 

QinetiQ is one of the world’s leading groups of researchers into ship stability, propulsors and human factors at sea and have published many peer reviewed papers and research to an international audience. The knowledge accumulated through our research is used in the assessment of vessel performance, to ensure a thorough understanding of all the relevant performance factors to deliver a viable, safe and cost effective design. Our capabilities help not only defence and commercial marine clients, but also clients in the renewable energy market who call on our knowledge and experience to predict the performance of marine vessels, tidal turbines and wave energy devices.
We are combining our ability to conduct physical model experiments with the benefits of a virtual towing tank through modern CFD and high performance computing to increase the level of hydrodynamic understanding which allows more rapid, accurate evaluation and even greater technical collaboration between partners than ever before.


Maritime Life Support 

Submarine Escape Our hyperbaric trials unit (HTU) is used to test and evaluate escape systems and components to 150 bar. The HTU has a unique capability to recreate the actual pressure conditions of escape from a submerged submarine, independent of the performance of the components under test. This capability is essential for the evaluation of submarine escape equipment against any defined test standards.

Submarine Atmospheres With over 30 years’ experience we are established leaders in the modelling and assessment of enclosed atmospheres. We provide breathing gas and carbon dioxide absorbent analysis through a UKAS accredited testing laboratory (No.2517). We understand the importance of assuring people’s safety when operating in challenging enclosed environments such as submarines and submersibles, armoured fighting vehicles, aircraft and spacecraft.

We provide independent advice and guidance on atmosphere control equipment, test and evaluation of air quality to demonstrate compliance and/or identify issues, prepare and manage air quality field trials, design and support air quality equipment and systems and deliver contaminant removal services.

Survivability & Structures

Combining our expertise with our own SURVIVE® software offers the ability to rapidly simulate and quantify the likely effects of damage to a maritime vessel caused by a wide range of attacks. This allows designers to compare various damage mitigation methods cost effectively and identify the right survivability strategy. By comparing the vulnerability of a vessel against the lethality of a variety of threats, experts in PDLS can support critical design decisions and in-service alterations to a vessel for the environment it is intended to operate in.

We deliver expert structural analysis capability from appropriate engineering direct or hand calculations through to leading edge  finite element (FE) modelling; covering non-linear static and dynamic analysis, including collision, and various specialised applications, such as; fracture and fatigue, design optimisation, fluid structure interaction, localised stress analysis.

Maritime Design Software (MDS)

QinetiQ’s suite of marine software solutions help designers, ship yards and operators create aesthetically pleasing vessels that are safe and efficient to design, build and operate. Helping you fashion effective stable hull forms, assess sea keeping attributes, optimise powering, study manoeuvring, test survivability and manage on-board loading.
is an integrated Naval Architecture design and analysis toolset. It enables seamless collaboration between global teams and maximises the efficiency of your designer's creativity.

Survive® is a comprehensive modelling and assessment toolset that helps Naval Architects ensure warships, commercial shipping and mega-yachts are designed to survive in an increasingly complex world.

SeaWeigh™ is Paramarine's intuitive on-board loading & stability module. Used for planning and enhanced vessel loading, it additionally provides assurance of safe operation in port and at sea, and enables ship to shore stability reporting for management operations.

Maritime Electrical Systems (MES) Capabilities

Our Maritime Electrical Systems Team (MEST), part of the Maritime Systems Platform Design and Life Support (PDLS) operation based at Haslar in Gosport, assists the global marine industry in supporting vessel operations and maintenance projects with highly experienced and qualified maritime electrical Subject Matter Expert (SME) expertise.

This expert support is offered to operational and new build military surface and sub-surface vessels, auxiliary and commercial vessels, as well as ports installations. Support can be via remote communications or attendance during regular operations, or as part of a refit or assisted maintenance period. Typical projects feature energy saving surveys to meet impending IMO 2030 and 2050 targets with work projects established through electrification and conventional refit and AMP support tasks.

Featuring a team of suitably qualified and experienced persons (SQEP) and SMEs, with significant experience of maritime electrification projects that can act as senior technical superintendents, QinietiQ are able to support end users with focussed expertise in various area of ships operations that can liaise with ships teams, design authorities and class surveyors alike.