The Aircraft Carrier Alliance has successfully signed over the Ship’s Control Centre of HMS PRINCE OF WALES to her crew, 18 months ahead of when the ship is due to be delivered to the Royal Navy.
The Ship’s Control Centre (SCC) is often referred to as the heart of the ship. If the Bridge of a ship is considered its eyes, and the Operations room its brain, there is no doubt that the Ship’s Control Centre is the beating heart. It is from the SCC that all machinery from propulsion to sewage is controlled by a team of Marine Engineers who are likely to man the compartment 24 hours a day, every day, until she decommissions.
According to the ACA, in a war fighting scenario the SCC becomes Head Quarters for the Internal Battle, where all the information from across the ship, be it fire, flood or casualty is reported, and priorities are set on where to send repair teams, all under the leadership of the Internal Battle Controller (Cdr Marine Engineer/Snr Marine Engineer). This all happens whilst fighting to maintain ‘Power to Command’, allowing the Ship to conduct her primary tasking, most likely launching and directing aerial strikes.
Sterry Matthews, ACA Production Manager, the lead for this area of the ship, said:
“This is a very proud day for us. Building the SCC was a big challenge but an important requirement to enabling the Test and Commissioning program. One of the main steps was assessing the compartment and sequencing every trade to go in and complete their scope. Every ACA partner supported through the process and ensured a high quality compartment was built at the end of the process.
Balfour Beatty, Networks, Aerius, Ticon, SSSL painters and cleaners done a superb job in getting the compartment to the standard it is in. Once this was completed, teams from Mission Systems, L-3, Marine Systems, GE, Test and Commissioning installed their kit to ensure the compartment was fully built.
The inspection process and the support the Quality Control team gave was invaluable. Their help with chasing paperwork, doing partial inspections, support and information helped us present a high quality finished compartment. This compartment was a challenge, but teamwork and excellent co-operation between all ACA partners made this a resounding success. Compartments are normally handed over after sea trials, so to achieve this at such an early stage, to the high quality and specification required by the Royal Navy, is a very significant milestone for the team.”
Cdr Pete Buckenham of the ship’s company, said:
“Taking ownership of the SCC and having the capability to operate and train on-board the ship this early is extremely exciting and will save us a vast amount of time. It will help accelerate our learning opportunities to ensure our people are ready to operate the ship in support of commissioning activity and well in advance of sea trials.”
Neil Holm, HMS Prince of Wales Programme Director, said:
“The completion and handover of the SCC at this stage of the programme is a fantastic achievement from the team and is testament to professionalism and commitment of the team, it marks the first phase of our strategy to complete and handover large and complex spaces to the Royal Navy early, enabling the commissioning programme, strengthening platform protection and accelerating on the job training for the team.
I am hugely proud of what the team have achieved today and it really highlights what can be achieved when all areas of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance work together against a common goal.”