One of the design challenges on this 847-foot ship was managing the signals generated by over 12,000 sensors for the electrical generators, propulsion, engine turbine, and other critical management systems. Designers of the LHD 8 electronics chose North Atlantic's VME Intelligent Multifunction I/O card (64C1) and Serial Communications card (64D1) to integrate A/D conversion, D/A conversion, Serial and ProfiBus communications, Discrete I/O, RTD, and 4-20 mA signal data onto the VME bus. The systems' integrators reached the goal of reducing "manpower" by providing strategically distributed sensor interface systems dedicated to specific tasks and networked via Ethernet. Automated redundant and multi-point monitoring with shared sensor data was realized, easing the burden on the ships' systems management.
Through the use of NAI's products, designers reduced card count by 50% — cutting the costs, system size, weight, and power consumption of the system. In addition, the extensive test and diagnostic capabilities of the 64C1 improved system maintainability by making it possible to trace and identify signal interference faults, such as open lines and undefined range faults, to the card, module, and/or channel level for identification and action. Following successful deployment, the same VME systems were utilized in the next generation LHA-class amphibious assault ships.