NAC Briefing Note #40: Naval Architecture

Dr. Ann Griffiths, 22 June 2021

If humans have been building boats since the beginning of time, then what is left for naval architects to do? Although many of the principles relating to how vessels float and move on the water (and under the water) are widely understood, there are still new and unique classes of ships to be designed. And there are many complex considerations involved in designing a new warship. For what purpose will the ship be used? Where will the ship be used? What capabilities – in terms of range, speed, weapons, for example – does it need? These questions are relevant to the design of a warship, and to the work of a naval architect. The Royal Canadian Navy is building three new classes of ships – the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, the Joint Support Ships and the Canadian Surface Combatants – and the answers to these questions will differ for each of these ships. Warships must float (hull integrity), move (propulsion and power) and fight (weapons and sensors), and these elements must all be considered in the ship design. If you think that naval architecture is not important, then you should read the excellent Naval Association Briefing Note on the topic at BN40-Naval-Architecture-.pdf (navalassoc.ca)

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