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DCNS XWIND 4000 - 2014

The DCNS XWIND concept ship was introduced at the EuroNaval 2014 tradeshow. The DCNS XWIND concept ship is a notional concept of a guided-missile frigate circa 2030. It's a real warship concept, though its technology is speculative. The XWIND 4000 concept ship is intended to illustrate all of the technologies that DCNS has developed for surface combatants, and that it could integrate in its future warship designs.

At the October 2014 Euronaval show, DCNS presented XWIND 4000, a concept ship combining all of the Groups main innovations for future naval surface systems. The uniquely designed XWIND 4000 concept ship presented by DCNS at this years Euronaval show features all the latest innovations being developed by the Group's R&D teams. These innovations will be available on DCNS surface ships in the short to medium term future.

XWIND 4000 has been designed around the concept of an all-digital ship, explains Marketing Manager Philippe Sathoud. Flat-panel arrays for the combat system and other sensors are installed around the superstructure. This provides unprecedented hemispherical coverage and enables all the sensors to operate at the same time without generating interference between transmitters and receivers. With this configuration, shipboard systems can respond dynamically to evolving threats such as terrorism, piracy or sensor saturation attacks.

To enhance the platforms detection, identification and engagement capabilities, surveillance UAVs or armed UAVs are part of the combat system design. These off-board systems can deploy a broad range of optronic, radar or electronic warfare payloads as well as rockets or missiles. DCNS is a pioneer in this field and the only warship designer already offering this solution. The UAVs remain under the commanders orders at all times and are controlled from the ops room.

The XWIND 4000s innovative all-digital design is also apparent in the intuitive human-systems interfaces for the ship's two nerve centres, touchscreens, voice commands and Kinect technology in the ops room, and 360 vision, augmented reality technology and user interfaces similar to smartphones on the bridge. All the digital systems run on a secure datacentre architecture hosting combat system and platform management applications in a virtual environment that allocates resources as operational requirements evolve.

The XWIND concept also includes a hybrid propulsion system that is innovative in two ways. First, the compact propulsion system (diesel engines, electric motor-generator and reduction gears) is housed in a single 'box' assembled and tested at the factory. Second, batteries store the excess electricity produced by the ship's alternators operating at optimum efficiency and can power the electric motor to offer a completely silent mode of propulsion when the ship is travelling at low speeds. The fuel saving is on the order of 10%, and maintenance costs are 40% lower since there is less wear on the diesels. At the same time, the system offers added discretion and a smaller environmental footprint.

The XWIND design concept highlights the ships speed, aggressiveness and robustness, three core features of DCNS ships. The sleek reversed stem and the triangular lateral surfaces connecting the central hull and the side hulls add to the impression of speed. The slender superstructures aft and the thin, high shark fin also give XWIND its clean lines while optimising the location of combat system sensors.

The forward part of the ship, particularly the way the glass panels overlap the superstructures, creates a menacing look and above all accommodates defences against asymmetric threats. Lastly, the impression of robustness is reinforced by the hullforms stability and the bevelled forms of the aft third. The charcoal grey livery underscores the tight lines and further accentuates the impression of speed and aggressiveness.

The XWIND 4000s unique visual identity draws on a number of innovations, including the integration of UAVs, which calls for a wide flight deck enabling unmanned aircraft and helicopters to be operated simultaneously. The ships design is driven by the innovative features it offers, says DCNS designer Laurent Elie. This concept ship showcases the best innovations developed by DCNS for naval surface systems.



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