Sun, 26 Jul 1998 23:56:00 -0700
thought this group might be interesteid in this:
Software glitches leave Navy Smart Ship dead in the water
By Gregory Slabodkin
The Navy's Smart Ship technology may not be as smart as the service contends.
Although PCs have reduced workloads for sailors aboard the Aegis missile
cruiser USS Yorktown, software glitches resulted in system failures and
crippled ship operations, according to Navy officials.
Navy brass have called the Yorktown Smart Ship pilot a success in reducing
manpower, maintenance and costs. The Navy began running shipboard
applications under Microsoft Windows NT so that fewer sailors would be
needed to control key ship functions.
But the Navy last fall learned a difficult lesson about automation: The
very information technology on which the ships depend also makes them
vulnerable. The Yorktown last September suffered a systems failure when bad
data was fed into its computers during maneuvers off the coast of Cape
The ship had to be towed into the Naval base at Norfolk, Va., because a
database overflow caused its propulsion system to fail, according to
Anthony DiGiorgio, a civilian engineer with the Atlantic Fleet Technical
Support Center in Norfolk.
At a recent computer software engineering course in the US, the participants
were given an awkward question to answer. "If you had just boarded an
airliner and discovered that your team of programmers had been responsible
for the flight control software, how many of you would disembark