BAE Systems – Underwater Division
Wins its First Chairmans Award for Innovation
BAE SYSTEMS is a global systems, defence and aerospace company delivering total solutions to customer requirements from the outermost reaches of space to the depths of the oceans. Formed in 1999 by the merger of the former British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems, BAE SYSTEMS has international markets around the globe producing annual sales of some £12 billion. Including joint ventures, it employs worldwide more than 100,000 people committed to delivering outstanding capability to customers through the quality of its technology, the robustness of its processes and the innovation of its people.
Chris Gillot, Ashley Field and George Stevens from BAE Systems Underwater Division have been awarded the Chairman`s prize for innovation for their work on the StingRay Life Extension Automatic Code Generator
At an event hosted by Nick Ross of BBC`s Crimewatch fame and newsreader Carol Barnes the team received their award from Chairman Sir Richard Evans for many months of hard work.
The objective of the award winning project was to develop a tool to convert automatically the Software Design into Ada 95 code for use in a real time embedded system to support the Tactical Software Development on the StingRay Torpedo Life Extension Project. This was to be implemented by a small task centred team, using a selection of specialist software compiler technologies to ensure a high quality product while utilising only a small number of Ada programmers and achieving a reduced development time.
With no previous experience of code generation, the team identified the development strategy, produced the design and utilised the appropriate technologies to realise the product. Novel use of compiler technologies, including the Abstract Solutions toolset, and 4 years of highly focussed work involving Abstract Solutions consultants took the concept to a fully developed product achieving 100% automated Ada 95 code generation. The code generator cost approximately 2 man-years of development time for the first prototype and, so far, has resulted in a saving of 40 man-years of software coding.
The customer (UK Ministry of Defence) is extremely confident in the quality of the product produced by this leading edge technology and the use of the code generator allows much faster turn-round time between design changes and in-water re-deployment. Because of the modular approach taken with the design, maintenance is relatively straightforward and the product can be used in Object Oriented real-time embedded applications especially where mission criticality is an important consideration.
The three major benefits that have resulted from the innovative approach taken by the ground breaking design team are improved software productivity, repeatable build process and improved software quality; all of which contribute to and enhance the cost-effectiveness of the overall development lifecycle at BAE Systems.