L-R: Gav Hukin, Bernard Gray (CDM), Keith Woodbridge and Gary Turner receiving the CDM commendation at Whitehall

Recently, the Tornado Joint Equipment Safety Management (ESM) team received a CDM commendation from Bernard Gray, the four-star Chief of Defence Materiel (CDM), to recognise the development and implementation of the new Tornado Safety Management System (SMS).

Recognising effort

The CDM commendation, which is one of the highest accolades within the MOD customer community, was awarded in recognition of the tremendous investment in intellect and effort put in over the last two years by the entire team.

Improvements made

This resulted in significant improvements in the overall health of the Tornado SMS which had degraded into a poor state because of organisational changes, loss of key staff, skill sets and of corporate knowledge. Recognising this, the joint team invested exceptional effort to enhance the team, building competencies, developing new tools, improving skill sets, instilling confidence to accept the challenge and demonstrating the right behaviours to recover the SMS.

Our support to the joint team

Our element of the joint team provides safety management support services to the MOD Tornado Project Team and it is embedded within the Tornado team at RAF Marham under the ATTAC service contract.

Group Captain Andy Read, Tornado Type Airworthiness Authority, said: “This team award reflects 18 months of hard work to deliver a complete overhaul of the Tornado Safety Management System. Not only has this reversed a decline which had set in over a period of several years due to under-manning, but also the opportunity has been taken to bring the SMS into line with the new set of MAA regulations and introduced the Duty Holding construct in Air Command. In this respect, Tornado is now leading the way among Air Sector project teams. I am very pleased that the Chief of Defence Materiel has chosen to reward the Tornado Equipment Safety Management team, in recognition of the outstanding work that has been done."

A team effort

Although the joint ESM team has been rightly recognised, it is but the tip of the iceberg and the achievement would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of the Tornado Engineering Authority desks at RAF Marham, Prop desk at Rolls Royce Filton, support from DES FAST at Abbey Wood and from our Airworthiness team at our Warton site.

Simon Dennis, Safety and Environment Lead for the FAST project team added: “I have been impressed by the way that the individuals involved in Tornado GR4 platform safety have pulled together over the last 18 months and created a real team spirit. The team richly deserves this CDM commendation for its exceptional endeavour and achievement in delivering a much-needed and complete overhaul of Tornado safety management.”

Reflecting on the day, Gav Hukin, BAE Systems Enineering team lead commented: “We are on a journey developing the Tornado SMS and have made really good progress thus far. Process, toolsets and procedures are now robust; however key to the success is the open, honest and hardworking relationship between the BAE Systems members of the team and the MOD customer. We have jointly worked through some dark times, overcome significant challenges and are proud of the achievement that has now been recognised. The journey continues with an objective to be class leader and ensure the Tornado fleet is a safe and viable platform for the future."


The awards took place at the MOD Main Building in Whitehall, London and the team was represented at the ceremony by Keith Woodbridge (MOD) DES FAST Tornado Safety Manager based at Abbey Wood; Gav Hukin (BAE Systems) Tornado CAMMS Eng Team Lead based at RAF Marham and Gary Turner (Qinetiq) Tornado Safety Specialist based in Warrington. The full team also consists of Steve Waters, Andy Bailey, Simon Coates (BAE Systems Engineers at RAF Marham) and Dave Dryden (MOD at Abbey Wood).

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Adam Harrison
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