RAF Laying Framework for Typhoon Fighter Support
Britain’s unusual maintenance approach for military equipment is called “future contracting for availability.” In English, this involves partnerships with contractors that establish fixed-price support services for the equipment’s expected lifespan, with rewards and penalties based on established benchmarks for how often the equipment must be in service. It’s a far cry from the “pay for spares and hours” approach in use around the world, and Britain’s National Audit Office likes what it sees so far.
Implementation generally involves a phased set of contracts and agreements that gets the parties closer and closer to the desired goal. That way, each party understands the risks and demands as the contract’s complexity and comprehensiveness grow. “Britain Hammers Out Through-Life Support Framework for Tornado Fleet” described how this approach works on the ground, and talked about some of the keys to success. “UK’s “Contracting for Availability” Adds Hawks, Looks Ahead” mentioned the MoD’s March 2007 Long Term Partnering Agreement Foundation Contract with BAE Systems, which aims to place all British military aircraft under this kind of framework.
Now the UK’s Eurofighter Typhoon fleet, which recently entered Quick Reaction Alert service with the RAF and began flying with new ground-attack capabilities [MoD | BAE], is moving toward this same model…
In November 2006, BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence signed a GBP 5.4 million Typhoon Whole Aircraft Scheduled Maintenance and Upgrade (WAMSU) contract at BAE Systems Warton site, which builds the aircraft.
On Sept 11/07, BAE Systems and Britain’s Defence Equipment and Support (DES) organization took another step, signing a GBP 10.9 million ($22.5 million), 2-year “learning phase” contract that will deliver a 50% increase in on-aircraft maintenance and upgrade capability at RAF base Coningsby, and establish an initial BAE Systems maintenance presence on the RAF site. Under the contract, the Typhoon Maintenance and Upgrade (TMU) facility at RAF Coningsby, will be jointly managed and manned by BAE Systems and the RAF, bringing together the 84 RAF personnel currently employed on Typhoon maintenance with an additional 36 BAE Systems personnel on site, and a further 5 providing support from Warton. This kind of on-site cooperation was cited in DID’s Tornado ATTAC coverage as a crucial step in the process.
The new arrangements aim to minimize aircraft down-time by conducting scheduled maintenance at the same time as ongoing aircraft upgrades. The Typhoon contract builds on the proven principles of the Harrier ‘Joint Upgrade and Maintenance Programme’ and the Tornado ‘Combined Maintenance Upgrade’ contracts, which have shown that combining maintenance and upgrade functions is an important money-saver that also improves operational availability percentages. The goal in this case is to ensure that the Typhoon front line force is able to continue its build up without any backlog of scheduled maintenance.
BAE System’s release states that the goal is to replace this learning phase contract with “an availability service from 2009.”