• The RAN's three Hobart Class Destroyers. 
Credit: Defence
    The RAN's three Hobart Class Destroyers. Credit: Defence

BAE Systems Australia officially started as the Capability Life Cycle Manager (CLCM) for the Hobart class Guided Missile Destroyers (DDG) on 1 July.

“There has been quite a bit of change moving into the new role,” said the Program Director – DDG at BAE Systems Australia, Shaun Connelly. 

BAE Systems Australia has sustained the Hobart class DDGs since HMAS Hobart was commissioned in 2017 as the Transition Support Period (TSP) Managing Contractor (MC).

In that role, Connelly explained, the company worked closely with Thales Australia who were subcontracted to deliver maintenance tasks the vessels by BAE Systems Australia under the TSP contract.

“We have a long relationship with Thales, [and] we meet daily with them,” he said.

That relationship has changed with entry into the Maritime Sustainment Model. Now, instead of BAE Systems Acting as the sole accountable contractor to Defence, it’s one of many with responsibility for the platform split between variety of companies including Thales Australia as Regional Maintenance Provider - East (RMP-East).

Managing this transition, Connelly said, had involved the creation of a “joint relationship management plan” that maps the responsibilities of each of the contractors, as well as defence, and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Whereas through the previous contract BAE Systems Australia was largely responsible for implementing upgrades and changes as required – on top of normal sustainment duties – as the CLCM, their responsibility has shifted towards asset stewardship and long-term planning.

Part of that involves proactively providing options – particularly around how to optimise sustainment and readiness of the platforms – to the DDG Systems Program Office (SPO) within Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Group (NSSG).

It also involves keeping track of the class margins, particularly related to weight, power and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), to ensure that a small change now doesn’t negatively impact the ships in the future.

The Hobart class CLCM is the first of its kind to come “online” for a surface combatant which means that it’s leading the transition to CLCMs. To support the broader transition, Defence has established a Transition Working Group (TWG), that brings together the various CLCM and SPOs for different classes, as well as the regional maintenance providers.

Those cross class meetings, Connelly explained, is about standardising approaches and systems.

“[The Maritime Sustainment Model is] all about driving standardised systems [around], contracts, maintenance, and supply,” he said.



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