Naval Architecture - Hull Form, Structure, & Propulsion Design & Development

Design services provided by Gibbs & Cox rely on an experienced team of naval architectural, marine, mechanical, electrical, electronic, and engineering specialists.  This work  involves a wide range of activities beginning with concept and feasibility design, and continuing all the way through to construction design, life-cycle support, and even into ship-alt design for service-life extensions.   Key components  and output of the design process include system tradeoff studies, preparation of contract guidance drawings and working drawings, ship checks, alteration and ECP development and integration, preparation of procurement documents, selected record plan preparation and updates, technical manual preparation and revisions, ship system analysis, and preparation of cost/time/schedule estimates.

Gibbs & Cox design & development services typically  include:

  • Research & Development
  • Concept Design Services
  • Feasibility Design Services
  • Preliminary Design Services
  • Contract / Final System Design Services
  • Construction / Detail Design Services
  • Production Liaison Services


Gibbs and Cox uses numerous tools to further the state of the art of  naval architecture, and to expand out knowledge base of hydrodynamic behaviors, aerodynamic behaviors, and structural limits.  Tank testing, wind tunnel testing, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) are just a few of the tools the G&C uses to improve the designs that the firm produces, and through the use of these tools, we have established and maintained strong working relationships with many of worlds leading technological companies and institutions.  


The Gibbs & Cox concept design process involves the development of ship design alternatives (also referred to as options or variants) based on client requirements, wherein a set of top-level requirements is translated into multiple ship definitions to the extent necessary to evaluate technical feasibility, cost, and performance.  These efforts involve the complete early-phase definition of the ship including:

  • Principal characteristics
  • Hullform
  • General arrangements
  • Weight estimates (usually at the one digit SWBS level)
  • Speed-power and endurance calculations


The Gibbs & Cox feasibility design  process is an expansion of the efforts conducted in the conceptual design phase and includes further trade-offs, in most cases of the system/subsystem level, oriented toward whole ship optimization. Systems engineering plays an important part in this optimization process since it is through systems engineering that requirements at the total ship level are allocated to the system/subsystem level and to the component level. Emphasis is generally placed on performance characteristics including combat capability, speed, endurance, sea keeping,
survivability in hostile environments, noise, vibration, etc.

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These studies evaluate impacts to general arrangements, equipment space arrangements, weights, trim and stability, longitudinal strength, speed and endurance, structure, electric load analysis to size main generators and sizing of major auxiliary equipment (AC plants, distillers, etc.), cooling loads, auxiliary systems and any other element of the ship design The studies involve trade-offs of system/subsystem alternatives to define total ship impacts as well as special studies to evaluate new concepts, and develop lessons-learned input to the design and design review.


The Gibbs & Cox preliminary design service process includes both general systems engineering support covering the spectrum of Naval engineering as well as support of specific technical areas. The Preliminary Design phase builds on the major ship characteristic/system decisions made during Feasibility Design so that a converged baseline design with defined systems requirements is achieved. The objectives of this phase are to refine operational requirements, assess that ship performance is achievable with cost constraints, identify critical system interfaces and establish the configuration managed functional baseline of the ship.

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The Gibbs & Cox, Inc. contract design process builds on the converged baseline design developed during the preliminary design phase so that the resulting final system design has sufficient detail and requirements development to start the Detail Design phase.  The products developed during this phase are often used by the shipbuilder to develop a cost estimate for bidding purposes.  The objectives of this phase are confirmation that the ship design meets the operational requirements and cost, documentation of criteria for acceptance of the ship, and identification of technical and schedule risks.


As needed for specialty projects, we use the leading industry software for structural Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), electrical power systems analysis, modeling tools. 

We remain on the forefront of integrating latest technologies into designs for efficiency, environment, and performance.  We have recent design work integrating Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) for IMO and USCG Compliance and Urea-based Selective Cathodic Treatment Systems (SCR) forEPA Tier 4 and IMO Tier 3 Compliance.  We have performed in-house design work on LNG single and dual fuel vessels.  We help clients with trade-off and payback analyses when considering alternative fuels. We perform hull form powering and seakeeping performanceassessment improvement trade-offs with our suite of tools including Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).  For improved crew and passenger comfort,  we apply methods to reduce noise and vibration in new designs. For research, yacht, and military vessel designs requiring acoustically silence above and below the waterline, we apply a more stringent design approach.


During construction, we support shipyards on owner’s with on-site and off-site support in engineering and project management support.   Our capabilities include project management, port engineering, field engineering support, weight control, calculations for lifts & turns, launching, and docking, and stability test/experiments, and test & trials support.