IMOS Goes Live
AgustaWestland, October 02, 2006 - UK / Italy - On 1st October 2006 the Integrated Merlin Operational Support (IMOS) contract reached its final implementation milestone with responsibility for on and off-aircraft depth maintenance being transferred from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to prime contractor AgustaWestland. The Merlin Depth Maintenance Facility is located at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in southwest England and is responsible for performing all Royal Navy and Royal Air Force EH101 Merlin depth maintenance.
In February 2006 the MoD’s Defence Logistics Organisation and AgustaWestland signed a ground breaking partnering arrangement, valued at £450 million for the first five years of a 25 year contract, to provide support for the EH101 Merlin Mk.1 and Mk.3 helicopter fleets, operated by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force respectively. The IMOS contract is the most innovative support contract yet awarded by the MoD and reinforces the Strategic Partnering Arrangement signed between the MoD and AgustaWestland in June 2006. The IMOS contract introduces payments for achieved flying hours and novel incentivisation arrangements associated with delivering agreed levels of aircraft serviceability, operational fleet aircraft numbers and Merlin HM Mk.1 training system availability.
“For the first time we have all the elements of the support chain working within one organisational structure” said Bert Brookes, AgustaWestland’s Director of Customer Services. “A sense of partnership pervades IMOS at every level and stems from the common goal of delivering benefits to the Merlin squadrons who are on the front line. We are delighted that in the short period since contract award the IMOS Team from Industry, the MoD and the Merlin IPT have created a true partnering environment.”
AgustaWestland, prime-contractor for the 25 year IMOS contract, has formed a strong Industrial alliance which includes Lockheed Martin UK as the Sub-Prime for the Merlin Mk1 Mission System, Merlin Avionics Test System and Training Facilities located at RNAS Culdrose in southwest England. Total Support Services (TSS), the “Avionics Alliance”, comprising SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems (S&AS) UK, Smiths Aerospace and Thales UK, is contracted to manage a significant part of the Merlin Mk.1 and Mk.3 air-vehicle avionics while Serco provides local management and manpower for the Merlin Depth Maintenance Facility located at RNAS Culdrose. Highlighting the truly integrated IMOS team, the Merlin Depth Maintenance Facility is manned by Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Serco technicians under AgustaWestland management.
This cohesion and integrated team is also evident within the 97 strong Service Management and Supply, Engineering and Design Authority operating from an office at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility, and within the On Site Support Teams, consisting of over 20 service and industry engineers, working at RNAS Culdrose and RAF Benson. Co-locating authorised design and engineering specialists next to the Squadrons on the main operating and support bases and integrating the geographical and functional elements of the support chain is already bringing significant improvements over the traditional constructs. The removal of bureaucratic and time consuming survey, quote, negotiate processes for Post Design Services has seen the time taken to undertaken fault investigations and other technical queries plummet to one eighth of their pre-contract time.
The front line Squadrons are an important part of the IMOS partnership and recognise the complexities of their task and importance of their engagement. This is clearly stated by Group Captain Duncan Whelam, Station Commander at RAF Benson saying “this isn’t their IMOS – it’s our IMOS”.
The IMOS Team is committed to improving EH101 Merlin operational serviceability by 20 percentage points and the throughput of aircraft through the Culdrose based depth maintenance facility by 30%. But the IMOS Team believes that the full potential of the new partnership has yet to be fully revealed. A point endorsed by Chief of Defence Logistics, General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue, who recently visited the IMOS Depth facilities at RNAS Culdrose.
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