Bill Page, Project Manager of the CLS programme in BAE Systems, comments on how proud BAE Systems is to be supporting the Royal Navy’s newest OPVs in Pearl Harbour…
Following their mission preparation by our maintenance teams at Portsmouth Naval Base for their Far East deployment, and a short visit to San Diego, HMS Tamar and HMS Spey are now at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii (as you may already know if you’ve been following their Twitter accounts).
While the vessels are alongside in Pearl Harbour, the Royal Navy will be taking the opportunity to undertake planned maintenance of the two vessels – routine overhauls, checks and minor repairs and upgrades. These routine maintenance periods are being run and managed by BAE Systems, who flew expert Project Managers out in late October to assist Ship’s Staff and local teams in maintaining the two vessels across November.
Work on the two new OPVs has progressed extremely well. Pacific Shipyards, BAE Systems’ partner in Hawaii, has gone above and beyond to assist, demonstrating both proactivity and skill. Pacific Shipyards staff have been friendly, highly technically capable, and have reacted quickly and willingly to every challenge that’s emerged. They’ve made great partners.
Delivering local support with a global footprint
Support for HMS Tamar and HMS Spey in Hawaii is being delivered under BAE Systems’ unique Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) contract – through which BAE Systems offers deployed support to the Royal Navy’s eight Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) where they are located around the world.
The CLS team acts as the single point of contact for OPV-related support activities, delivering repairs and maintenance periods where operationally required, minimising transit time, ensuring rapid defect rectification and driving value for money for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). This, in turn, allows the Royal Navy to exercise high operational availability for these assets.
The CLS contract is delivered under a unique Contracting For Availability model, with BAE Systems holding its own bank of parts and spares, also ensuring a lower risk profile for the Royal Navy.
The CLS program has demonstrated real success over the twenty years that it has run, delivering an unprecedented 98% operational availability of the OPV fleet in 2020.
Deployed support for other vessel classes
The provision of deployed support more generally has become an increasing priority more recently. And as a prime contractor to the MOD, BAE Systems has naturally aligned with the ‘Global Britain’ strategy demonstrated by the Royal Navy of increased forward deployment (and servicing) of naval assets around the world.
As an example, at the beginning of October, a large group of BAE Systems employees completed deployed support of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) in Guam, alongside staff from the Royal Navy, MOD, and a number of industry partners and OEMs.
This formidable exercise, months in the planning, required that we be able to turn our hand to everything from the Queen Elizabeth Carriers to the Type 45 Destroyers, the Type 23 Frigates and other vessel types, as well as a variety of air and combat systems, with the assistance of our customer and partners.
At points we also deployed teams to support CSG21 vessels in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, as well as the Pacific.
Such undertakings require an industry leader able to access and co-ordinate global networks of engineers and ports. In the case of CSG21 we were proud to manage the co-ordination of a broad range of industry players, as well as the MOD itself, in delivering this support successfully.
Our thanks to the teams in Hawaii
Ultimately BAE Systems is in Pearl Harbour to do a job – delivering high levels of OPV availability. That’s a role we take extremely seriously, and the team is working some long days to help the Royal Navy meet its objectives.
That said, it’s pleasing to note that the team has also been able to take some downtime around their long days to appreciate the unique heritage of the Pearl Harbour base. The team has been able to visit the memorials to the battleships USS Arizona and USS Missouri – sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 – and to partake in local Remembrance Day celebrations. This kind of historical context serves as an important reminder of the significance of the work we carry out.
We’re thankful to our local partners for their assistance, and look forward to seeing HMS Tamar and HMS Spey on their way.