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A major new five-year contract to support the Ships Maintenance Management (SMM) team of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation has been awarded to the Aurora Engineering Partnership involving QinetiQ, Atkins and BMT, QinetiQ announced on 13 April 2023.

The contract, worth GBP 22 M (EUR 24.93 M) and covering five years, will see Aurora support the SMM team through the provision of subject matter expertise to the Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) fleets until 2028.

Aurora, supported by a network of specialist providers, acts as an engineering delivery partner under the contract, providing the default route for the procurement of engineering services for DE&S and other Ministry of Defence departments and agencies.

The Royal Navy frigate HMS Northumberland at sea, with the Tide-class tanker RFA Tiderace in the background. The Aurora Engineering Partnership has a new contract to support the Ships Maintenance Management team of the UK Ministry of Defence’s DE&S organisation.(Photo: Crown Copyright)

Under the new contract Aurora will provide the DE&S maritime community with access to specialist reliability-centred management (RCM) expertise. This will include assistance with platform and equipment maintenance generation, including completion of RCM studies, third-party audits of RCM studies and workforce training in RCM methodology and application.

In addition, the contract will deliver direct support to all users of the prime Maintenance Management System (UMMS) of the UK Naval Service. This will be achieved through class-focused UMMS database management and guardianship of data held within the Integrated UMMS Environment (IUE).

The Naval Service comprises the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve and Naval Careers Service.

“Following a competitive tender process, Xpedite will be delivering the bulk of the RCM SME activity,” stated QinetiQ. “An industry-leading professional engineering service, Xpedite is a small/medium enterprise (SME) organisation featured as part of the EDP Provider Network. The delivery of this work will be assisted by one of the Aurora partners, BMT, who will be providing independent audit and training services.”

The SMM owner, Commander Matt Shirvill RN, was quoted by QinetiQ as saying: “I am really pleased to be placing this contract to provide essential maintenance support to the surface and subsurface fleets and the wider maritime support community.

“Working together as one team, SMM and Aurora have secured world-class engineering excellence to support and empower frontline naval operations across the globe. I am looking forward to working closely with my Xpedite, BMT and QinetiQ colleagues to maximise the outputs over the next five years, leveraging the EDP continuous improvement approach to match the dynamic demands and aspirations of the Naval Service.”

Peter Felstead