FREMM frigate maintenance: optimised “world” organisation
As part of the drive for continuous improvement, the organisation of the Through-Life Support (TLS) for all FREMM frigates in operation in France and worldwide (“FREMM world TLS”) allows coherent intervention for all maintenance operations, integrated logistics support and modernisation for multi-mission frigates, including client navy training. This illustrates DCNS’s will to be a world leader both for naval defence and value-added service provision throughout the vessel lifecycle. Cyrille Delabre, FREMM world TLS programme manager, tells us all we need to know about this new organisation.
The number of operational FREMMs in three client navies has risen from one to four in less than three years and the DCNS Services department has therefore implemented a “FREMM world TLS” organisation to commensurate with the TLS challenges specific to these complex vessels, which are extensively computerised and required to achieve very high levels of availability.
Cyrille Delabre, why a FREMM world TLS organisation?
“Above all, let us recall that for DCNS, the FREMM programme represents the construction of ten frigates to date, eight of which for the French Navy. Six of these will have been delivered by 2019 and two frigates equipped with extended anti-aircraft capabilities will be delivered before 2022. Two further units were sold to international clients: the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Egyptian Navy. The FREMM programme is advancing at an accelerated rate on the DCNS site in Lorient.
The multi-mission frigate is one of the most technologically advanced and competitive vessels available on the market and our TLS industrial organisation needed to be on a par with this high-tech vessel. The goal of the FREMM world TLS programme is therefore to allow our partners to benefit from the maintenance synergies inherent to FREMM frigates delivered around the world: joint stocks, reference platforms and synchronised software updates, adjustment and optimisation of the maintenance plan as a function of operational feedback… Working with a completely decompartmentalised organisation thus allowing the efficient sharing of knowledge. All of these considerations were drivers for designing the programme as a transversal organisation in which “pooling of resources” is a top priority.”
“We capitalise on our knowledge of the ship and the recognised experience of DCNS in the area of through-life support.”
Concretely, how is this deployed and what are the benefits for the clients?
“We capitalise on our knowledge of the ship and the recognised experience of DCNS in the area of through-life support. The key functions are transversal, and procurement will be pooled to respond with a single voice to the current and future needs of our clients. Let’s take the example of technical stops, which require the same tooling for all the FREMM frigates: with our world organisation, we will procure the same tooling for all the teams. The same goes for software maintenance (there are several hundred software tools on each vessel), which will also be centralised. And we are now in a position to share best practice and allow all our clients to take advantage of this by providing them with unique added value. This represents a major advantage for our international growth.”
What are the key functions of the FREMM world TLS programme?
“We should distinguish between two different types of activity. On the one hand, port activities, i.e. all operations that are performed on a ship such as technical stops. These operations are entirely linked to a ship and a type of contract and intrinsically offer few opportunities to pool resources, save perhaps for the exchange of best practices and the sharing of feedback. Each site thus has a manager responsible for the operations at his home port (Brest, Toulon, Morocco, Egypt). These operations are conducted according to a “star” format. In this context, we distribute the responsibility for the management of job-order files across the departments of the forward bases and the back-office. Each designated department must then make this job-order file available to all DCNS operators, regardless of whether or not they are based on the site.
Furthermore, the Services department’s back-office fully pools the activities according to main areas of responsibility: maintenance of software (technical TLS) and reference platforms with configuration management, including software versions applied on each vessel, and support for all ships and clients, support architecture and systems (improvement of vessel and production engineering), Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) and training. Furthermore, we have set up a hotline that allows the handling of remote requests using remote troubleshooting. Lastly, we have appointed a leader for each of the other support functions of the type management control, contracts, purchasing and supply chain.”