Babcock completes largest fleet time maintenance period

07 Dec 2011

Babcock has successfully completed the largest and most complex Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period (RAMP) programme to date, on Trafalgar class submarine HMSTalent, in-budget and two weeks ahead of the contractual delivery date.

The RAMP is the first to have been undertaken since the Contracting for Availability (CfA) approach to Trafalgar class submarine support was introduced last year, geared to optimising submarine availability.  Babcock has worked closely with the MOD and Royal Navy, both in developing an achievable programme and in successfully delivering the challenging RAMP.

Talent has received more than 25 combat system and mechanical upgrades during the substantial 15 month RAMP.  Upgrades have included Communications Coherency in Submarines (CCSM) final increment stage two for fully network-enabled communication capability, Sonar 2076 stage 5 for increased capability, a first-of-class fit of the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) providing a coherent infrastructure for information sharing and collaborative working across the defence sector network, and the state-of-the-art Warship Electronic Chart Display and Information System (WECDIS).

The RAMP also included a challenging gearbox stripdown, survey and refurbishment work package, which necessitated working closely with David Brown Engineering and Newcastle University to ensure that the stringent tolerances and build standards were met.  The replacement of gearbox components required removal of a significant number of engine room systems to provide the equipment shipping route.  This was a first for a fleet time maintenance period.

Another first for a RAMP was the represervation of the emergency cooling hard tank with an enhanced coating for improved longevity (requiring stringently controlled environmental conditions for application).

As part of the Contracting for Availability approach areas of focus include planning, monitoring and control, cost performance, risk management and facility management interfaces, as well as safety, and all these were key features of this RAMP.  Babcock adopted a robust project management process and suite of techniques, including strong use of Key Performance Indicators, critical path adherence analysis, and Earned Value Management (EVM) providing a metric to measure programme status against budget, to help ensure delivery of the project to schedule and cost.

Babcock boat manager Rob McHardy said: "We are delighted to have successfully completed this RAMP to quality, schedule and cost, to meet Navy Command defence commitments, particularly given the significant challenges involved in what has been the largest and most complex RAMP to date.  The considerable achievement is testament to the close working between Babcock, MoD, Ship's Staff and key contractors to deliver the complex work packages, and hard work by all."

MOD PCM RAMP Cdr Martin Gill said: "Talent's RAMP has been a great success.  Babcock has demonstrated that by working jointly with MOD, Ship's Staff and major contractors we have been able to overcome the many difficulties inherent within a maintenance period as complex as a RAMP.  Through the hard work of the whole team we have delivered a greatly improved platform back to Navy Command ahead of schedule."