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The Aircraft Carrier Alliance: Taking our relationships to the next level

Programme Director, HMS Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier
Last Friday marked another milestone in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance’s (ACA) delivery of the Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers as HMS Prince of Wales was officially named in Rosyth, Scotland.
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The ceremony took place only three weeks after HMS Queen Elizabeth first entered her home port of Portsmouth following the first stage of sea trials. 
 
The ACA – an alliancing relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the Ministry of Defence – is running one of the most complex maritime engineering programmes ever undertaken in the UK. Friday’s ceremony, and HMS Queen Elizabeth’s recent milestones, all demonstrate the ongoing success of the ACA’s programme to deliver the Royal Navy’s future flagships.

The ACA is fortunate to be joined in its work by its customer, the Royal Navy. As a transparent and integrated part of the team, the Royal Navy provides further expertise to build on the existing knowledge and skills of the industry team. It also means the industry team can provide direct benefits to its customer: those who build the ships and their systems pass on their expertise to those who will bring the systems to life as they are operated at sea.
 
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Alongside the three industrial parties and the customer, the ACA involves hundreds of sub-contractors and companies – covering every region of the UK – that are vital parts of the supply chain needed to deliver these highly versatile and potent joint defence assets.
 
The overall success of the programme rests on strong collaboration across the ACA. This requires openness and trust, as a shared culture and attitude is established. Such a truly collaborative culture reinforces an essential message that every member of the ACA is accountable for the outcome of the programme.
 
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Establishing a single team identity and common purpose isn’t about creating a logo or a badge. It’s about having developed a distinct environment that gives colleagues a sense of openness, trust and oneness within the team alliance, harnessing and sharing the best of the parties’ cultures to create an Alliance relationship that we should all be very proud of. 
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Neil Holm Programme Director, HMS Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier 15 September 2017