The Ministry of Defence has announced a new £1.8 Billion, 15 years contract with Thales to improve Royal Navy ship availability and resilience.

The contract, Maritime Sensor Enhancement Team (MSET), will sharpen the focus on equipment availability, predicting problems – through AI innovations and data management – rather than reacting when they emerge.

The contract will support over 450 highly skilled, UK-based, engineering, IT and supports jobs as well as many hundreds of apprenticeship and training opportunities all across the UK.

“During the life of the MSET contract, the Royal Navy will undergo a significant transition including the introduction of the new Type 26, Type 31 and Dreadnought platforms, as well as autonomous systems. MSET, a scalable service model, will provide greater stability and breadth in the level of support delivered to the Royal Navy during this complex transition period. ​ By investing in new dockland facilities, AI, data analysis tools, and skills, this will deliver greater resilience for the RN platforms.

Over the life of the contract, it will deliver an average reduction in Turn Around Times of 100 days per repair, spares lead times will be reduced by an average of 44 days and reliability improved by 10%. Data Driven Decision making will enable MSET to see beyond the current support horizons and with the increased investment in emerging technologies, including AI, virtual reality and Big Data, create a more proactive and predictive maintenance regime. Investments will include improving facilities at HMNB Devonport, Faslane, Portsmouth and Bahrain to deliver an advanced test and repair capability, allowing specialist technical and engineering skills at the waterfront to provide direct support to the RN.”

Thales say that the contract will create 450 high skilled jobs all across the UK and support the training 100s of apprentices in much needed engineering skills in numerous local communities, with a further threefold increase in supply chain spend, supporting approximately 1,200 additional staff.

 

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago

Any ideas how

“ in emerging technologies, including AI, virtual reality and Big Data, create a more proactive and predictive maintenance regime”

makes you a new propellor when it strikes a submerged TUI?

Didn’t think so.

Without proper stockpiles of spares this is window dressing.

The investment in people and facilities is welcome and vital.

Paul.P
Paul.P
16 days ago

I think predictive maintenance is fairy common these days. Feed usage data and environmental conditions into a model, match it with failure and rectification events and the software will find correlations and associations. Modern day equivalent of a stitch in time saves 9.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

We had Oil Health Monitoring on the army’s tank fleet over 20 years ago, to detect imminent breaking up of bearings etc.

Paul.P
Paul.P
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Mornong Graham. Quite; the principles don’t change. More complex systems and fewer people necessitate more sensors, automatic monitoring and more sophisticated analysis of failure patterns. I think Renault cars can talk to the mother ship, sending data to predict replacement of service items.

DaveyB
DaveyB
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Sadly a switch/relay doesn’t meet the HUMS requirements. It’s the same for a lot of solid state sensors. It either works on that day or it doesn’t! You can to a degree base your modelling on the manufacturer’s predicted time between failures. However, these normally don’t take into account environmental factors. Where you have an object in continuous motion, such as a pump. You can build up a library using pattern of life measuring. Where you get a batch average of the component and base the item’s life around that. Or for more proactive monitoring, you would incorporate an audio… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
14 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Indeed, it’s a (data)science in and of itself I think. I’m no expert. My son works for a company that specialises in data collection from sensors. Good point re the environment. Used to work at a company that processed batches of polyethylene resin which would (apparently) randomly fail to meet QC spec. They eventually sussed the problem with software that spotted a correllation with humidity / rainy weather on the night shift. Saved millions in scrap 🙂

BenS
BenS
16 days ago

Whilst I completely agree a spares stockpile should be kept and accidents/incidents like that happen, that’s not really what this type of monitoring is designed for though. I’d assume this is probably more in line with the monitoring they do on production lines in industry, which help highlight components that may need replacing in the next maintenance period, that weren’t scheduled for replacement. The idea is it improves availability as you’re less likely to have unexpected maintenance time because a component failed. Obviously it can’t predict accidental damage like TUI strikes, or, heaven forbid, battle damage, but should help minimise… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
16 days ago

The MOD have just put on the market a stores complex in Scotland built in the 1960ts constructed during the Cold war for NATO stores no forward thinking there .Could AI predict a coming threat which may be coming in the not too distant future if so stores will now be placed in a spare bedroom if you have one

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
16 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Oddly I don’t think you need AI to predict the coming threat…

The issue is more is this complex suitable for moderns stores and munitions?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

? Which one mate?

Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago

From the Web cam on Warrior it’s hard too see the Recovery pennet Number

Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

But she was South railway Jetty

Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Sorry wrong pagec

Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago

I’ll look it up Daniele, there was a post on my Goole news page last week

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
15 days ago

Not being sold it’s part of DM Glen Douglas being demolished as no longer required. 16 buildings.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Thanks mate. I suspected Tommo meant GD with his NATO ref.That’s a very big site, and our northern bomb stock. No way is that sold off in its entirety, and to construct another elsewhere in modern times with its underground workings would be astronomical.

Tommo
Tommo
11 days ago

Glenn Douglas MOD stores and Armament depot too be Demolished and land up for sale Daniele

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Only a small part mate. It’s too big, too vital to be sold of in its entirety. And it’s a NATO site.

Tommo
Tommo
10 days ago

650 acres MOD are now just going too demolish around 16 buildings ,

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Hi Tommo. Thanks. The bits that matter are the railhead and underground area.

Tommo
Tommo
10 days ago

There’s going too be alot of Asbestos dust around the Argyll area mind you it’s always raining up there that’s a plus

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
10 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

😆

Charles Verrier
Charles Verrier
16 days ago

This does rather sound like a lot of displacement activity to avoid the fairly basic steps of, you know, maintaining larger stocks of spares. If the spare part is on a shelf in, then its lead time drops to zero days.

Frank62
Frank62
15 days ago

Indeed. In stable peacetime you might get away with just in time-ish, but in dangerous times or actual war it’s insanity/treason.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
16 days ago

I understand this system is to order proper stock of spares “before” something happens. Fingers crossed. I do not understand why MOD is so reluctant to hold spare parts for these ships, though.

I will cost, but will it cost as much as £1.8Bn in 15 years?

Frank62
Frank62
15 days ago

Fingers crossed, heads in the sand-If they uncrossed their fingers they would only stick them in their ears & say, “I’m not listening, I’m not listening!”

Frank62
Frank62
15 days ago

Yay… Bring back Dreadnoughts!!! Lets see how the Russians & Chinese like 12″ shells. Now that’s what I call NGS.
Must go, nurse is coming with my meds.

DaveyB
DaveyB
14 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Is it completely bonkers? If for example Vanguard was kept in service for whatever reason. Its BL 15″ Mk1 45 calibre guns would up to the late 1990s been considered obsolete. However, today perhaps not so much! The BL15″ Mk1 as fitted to the majority of the Royal Navy’s battleships, could when used by coastal artillery and fired from a 45 degree elevation, reach a range of just over 40km. Which by today’s standards, is similar to a base bleed 155mm shell (40km) fired from a 52 cal 155mm gun of the Pz2000 SPG. So not great. A 155mm base… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler
15 days ago

To improve availabilty and resilience?…Here’s a thought .how about building more of them in the first place…its a bit left field I know but hey …it could work
I know its not really in the true sense of the article but I couldn’t resist.

Last edited 15 days ago by grizzler
rst 2001
rst 2001
15 days ago

Is this increasing privatisation of the armed forces logistics capability? 15 years is a long contract, maybe add stability , but judging by previous contracts like housing and recruitment everyone may have to watch for 15 years a complete fiasco without being able to input anything positive , my maths 120 million a year as a rough guide . Maybe a good thing or bad thing . Will it hinder ship repairs with navy crew not allowed to repair parts of ship ? I dont know

Jon
Jon
15 days ago
Reply to  rst 2001

This echoes my thoughts. Why is this being run by Thales? What if they fail to make the savings or increase sea days? Do we get the money back?

AlexS
AlexS
15 days ago

I think this is very necessary for QE class shafts…

Steve
Steve
15 days ago

A whole lot of money for a vague deliverable. Would be good if they explained how it was going to deliver improvements and how it brings value for money.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
15 days ago

Or you could just sack people and prosecute suppliers if their machinery breaks. It never used to fall apart and modern ships are no faster than WW2 ships. How is it possible that a WW2 ship with steam turbines was just as fast and far longer lasting. This is rediculous, worse they expect tax payers to foot the bill for failure. Claiming the engines are morel fuel efficient when they cost millions to repair is clearly false economy.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
15 days ago
Reply to  Ian Thompson

Those rose tinted specs need to come off. Ships from that time had loads of problems. Some which never got fixed.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
14 days ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

For examples look at how long WW2 carriers were in maintenance/refits compared with sailing days. Also look into how many times ships went to sail but had an issue delaying departure.

Jon
Jon
13 days ago

It’s just occurred that there’s another important aspect of the contract that MoD have got wrong in the past. I hope this time they’ve remembered to pay to own the system or at least the data, so in fifteen years time (or before) the work can be brought in-house and we are not locked into Thales.