Sundar Sitaraman was deep in thought, poring over information from a new modeling and simulations system with 18 fellow engineers from Marine Corps Systems Command and Program Executive Officer Land Systems
at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
Sitaraman, a mechanical systems engineer who supports Advanced Amphibious Assault at PEO LS, was taking in-depth training on the ADAMS software suite, which industry uses worldwide to simulate the ebb and flow of large machines. In little less than two weeks, Sitaraman and his colleagues came to understand the program that could put them on equal footing with engineers in the private sector.
“It was fantastic,” Sitaraman said after receiving his certificate of completion and 72 continuous learning points. “This was a great opportunity to have real industry commercial applications for hands-on experience.”
The nine-day course was held in February at the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Academy on Quantico where students were given foundational and intermediate instructions on the ADAMS software, an acronym for automated dynamic analysis of mechanical systems. Throughout the course, the engineers learned about the tool that models dynamic systems and allows engineers to virtually study loads and forces.
Capt. Jerry Lujan, Modeling and Simulations Division engineer, orchestrated the training on behalf of MCSC. He worked with the vendor to ensure that optimal levels of instruction were provided and negotiated for mobile instructional. This let the vendor bring the full suite of modeling tools, laptops and license management on site.
“Be aware of the industry tools and how we can use them,” he told the students at the end of the course.
“This is an important venture for the acquisition community,” said MCSC Modeling and Simulations Division Director Mike O'Neal. “It furthers the education of engineers on industry standard tools and deepens their level of knowledge. Our engineers can then interact with industry professionals at the technical level with regard to designs produced with ADAMS.”
To access this and other software programs, MCSC, the only systems command in the Marine Corps, and Georgia Tech Research Institute have set up a modeling and simulations facility at Quantico. At this site engineers can tap into a variety of programs such as ADAMS that support Marines throughout the lifespan of equipment or systems.
ADAMS is an acronym for automated dynamic analysis of mechanical systems. Known as “a multi-body dynamics simulation software,” ADAMS studies the dynamic behavior of interconnected rigid or flexible bodies, each of which might undergo large translational and rotational displacements.
At MCSC and PEO LS, that could mean taking a look at the inner workings of large vehicles, such as a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement
or Logistics Vehicle System Replacement
, and gauge stresses on them throughout their lifecycle. Getting familiar with an industry standard such as ADAMS gives MCSC “an organic engineering capability,” according to Lujan.
“This gives the government the capability to organically evaluate designs as part of a source-selection process,” he said. “Our engineers will be able to evaluate designs during the sustainment phase of vehicles. They can also create new designs in ADAMS and have products that will readily interface with the rest of industry’s technical data packages.”
The captain added that the ADAMS training improves the command's situational awareness of new modeling and simulations technology, which in turn puts engineers on a level playing field with industry counterparts. He said the course also reinforces the MCSC commander’s intent for serving Marines.
“The commander's intent states ‘... being prepared for the future, while providing our Marines affordable and capable systems in a timely manner,’” Lujan said. “This training is very much in line with his intent and will provide an institutional base that supports his end state.”
That end state starts with people such as Joe Bayer, another ADAMS graduate. He has been an auto cell mechanical engineer with PEO LS for more than two years.
“This was a really good course, an excellent introduction to the [ADAMS] tool,” Bayer said. “The class gave a lot of good instructions so engineers can go back and use the lessons to do analyses themselves.”
Through the GTRI site, engineers at MCSC and PEO LS engineers have access to ADAMS. Bayer said this would be important because engineers at both organizations are free to use the tools, particularly if called to support mishap investigations.
“If we have a mishap, we need to know how to set up modeling and simulations to recreate and investigate—with engineering rigor—what happened,” he said. “Ideally, before a mishap occurs, you can predict what will happen so you can tell people where the soft spots in vehicle performance might be.”
Altogether, Bayer said training on ADAMS and similar programs are “good examples of how MCSC and PEO LS are bringing engineering expertise back in-house. This class was another way to make that happen.”