Future Submarine Electronic Warfare Surveillance System (Submarine Naval Design Partnership – Task 18)

Background

The Vanguard, Astute and Dreadnought class submarine fleets required a capability upgrade to their existing Electronic Warfare Surveillance (EWS) systems.  The systems are highly complex and support mission and safety critical operations whilst operating within a multitude of conditions, mission scenarios and environments. The equipment of focus specialised in gathering threat environment and intelligence information, whilst supporting and interfacing with boat combat and protection systems.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) equipment acquisition project responsible for the upgrade was entering its Concept phase and required an independent review regarding the maturity of its engineering approach and risk appetite. This is internally known within the MoD as a Guide to Engineering Activity Review (GEAR) and is a mandatory governance requirement.

Approach

As Systems Engineering specialists, with a pedigree in working within complex defence programmes, as well as developing the GEAR framework for the MoD, TP Group initiated an intensive GEAR review of the project, scrutinising its readiness, its personnel, its approach, its planning, its existing information and inherent levels of engineering process and knowledge.TP Group also reviewed secondary stakeholders and customers/sponsors to ascertain user needs were coherent and aligned with the project whilst recognising external risks and dependencies.

Outcome

As a result of applying its Systems Engineering knowledge, skills and experience using a holistically focused mindset, TP Group were able to identify several areas within the project’s approach and strategy that carried technical and programmatic risk or issue. It was considered likely that the project’s output would be non-compliant without resolution of the identified issues.

TP Group were also able to identify areas within the sponsor/customers sphere of influence that were immature, missing or inappropriate and would result in risk to the project and integrated systems if not resolved.

As a result of the findings, TP Group were asked to brief the sponsor and project senior management and provide a holistically focussed set of recommendations to assist the project in successfully progressing.

The project recognised TP Group’s output and has embodied many of the recommendations into its approach.

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