Technical

Paper Presented by Arshad T Kunjumon at the Pacific 2017 – International Maritime Conference  in Sydney, Australia

Pacific 2017 ATK1     Pacific 2017 ATK 2

Challenges in Naval Ship Maintenance

SUMMARY

The challenges associated with the maintenance of a naval ship start right from the conceptual stage of the ship building up until the disposal of the ships. The selection of the most appropriate maintenance strategy for the life cycle of the ship plays a key role in optimizing the maintenance efforts and reducing the overall cost of the ship’s maintenance.

Unlike the commercial ships, the range of expertise and skills required for maintaining a naval ship and equipment onboard is very large. The inherent complexities and the risks associated with the naval ship systems make the task of determining the best maintenance strategy for them very effortful. The enhanced operational demands of the naval forces due to the current political scenarios across the world make it difficult for the authorities to make the ship available for the maintenance in accordance with its upkeep plan. Another key factor which makes the naval ship maintenance quite challenging is the varied age of the ships in any leading naval force, which normally ranges from the newly commissioned ships to those which have completed more than 20 years in service.

Maintenance of a naval ship not only involves the design of an efficient Maintenance Management System but also the selection and implementation of the right combination of maintenance strategies. This paper is an attempt to identify the challenges associated with the maintenance of naval ships in order to negotiate them for optimizing the maintenance efforts.  

CHARECTRISTICS OF NAVAL SHIPS

A naval ship is a military ship used by a navy. Naval ships are different from commercial ships by construction and purpose. Generally, the naval ships are damage resilient and armed with weapon systems, with the auxiliary and support vessels of the navy being an exception in some cases. Although an average naval ship is smaller as compared to an average commercial ship, a naval ship is quite complex by virtue of the platform and combat systems and equipment onboard, and therefore are more difficult to maintain.

A typical naval ship will have a very high equipment density and consists of a large number of sophisticated systems. The naval ships are normally constructed using high quality materials and are fitted with a large number of high-value, specially designed and customized sensitive equipment which are selected to deliver the envisaged functions and role of the vessel.

The naval ships are classified in to various types such as aircraft carrier, destroyers, frigates, amphibious, submarines etc. based on its design, function and characteristic features.

CONCEPTS AND TERMINOLOGIES

The various common traditional and contemporary concepts and terminologies prevalent in the naval ship maintenance domain and practiced by the world navies are as listed below.

Integrated Logistic Support

Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) is an integrated approach to the management of logistic disciplines in the military with a goal of creating systems that last longer and require less support. ILS is defined as a disciplined approach that influences the product design and develops the support solution to optimise the Life Cycle Cost. It encompasses the technical logistics elements to plan and develop the support requirements for a system. ILS addresses the supportability of the system not only for the acquisition, but also throughout the period of its operational life. [1][2]

 Through Life Support

Through Life Support (TLS) involves the maintenance, upkeep and optimisation of the systems and equipment throughout its life cycle. The concept also covers the support required to provide the spares, upgrades, technical documentation, design interfaces, etc. throughout the operational life of the equipment.

Through Life Management

Through Life Management (TLM) involves the life-cycle management of the products, services, and activities required to deliver a fully integrated capability to the customer, while reducing the cost of ownership for the customer.

Through Life Capability Management

Through Life Capability Management (TLCM) is an approach to the acquisition and in-service management of military Capability in which every aspect of new and existing military Capability is planned and managed coherently across all Defence Lines of Development (DLOD) from cradle to grave. The TLCM concept has been evolved based on the partnering with the industry to achieve better outcomes and deliver defence capability, while providing better value for money and greater control of defence acquisition expenditures. [3][4]

Class Management

Class Management involves the integrated management of the TLS of a class of similar ships during the Operational Phase of the life cycle. It is a way to organize the operational part of TLCM for different classes of ships. Class Management brings together the support arrangements for vessels of similar size, complexity, operational roles or vessels with similar support requirements.

TYPES OF MAINTENANCE

A maintenance strategy defines the means by which an organisation sets out to preserve the condition of the ship and systems onboard throughout its service life. Maintenance activities will include the survey and inspection, upkeep, repair and replacement across the entire vessel incorporating equipment, systems and structure.

Typical maintenance strategies practiced in the naval ship maintenance domain are as follows. [5][6]

Corrective Maintenace

Corrective or Reactive maintenance, also known as Break Down Maintenance is based on the policy of ‘Run Until It Breaks’ or ‘Run to Fail’. This is the most avoided kind of maintenance onboard naval ships as it poses a serious safety risk. In this case, no actions are carried out to maintain the equipment and it is expected that the equipment will fulfil its design capability for the duration of its designed life. Reactive maintenance may at times prove to be cost effective type of maintenance through the life cycle of equipment, provided the failure of the equipment does not lead to any major catastrophe. But considering the fact that most of the equipment onboard naval ships are critical, Reactive Maintenance is the least recommended mode of the maintenance of equipment onboard.

Preventive Maintenace

Preventive Maintenance or Scheduled Maintenance is the most common mode of maintenance followed onboard naval ships. In this system the maintenance is carried out based on the Preventive Maintenance Schedule (PMS) and it reduces the malfunctioning of the equipments and thereby reducing the downtime. Preventive maintenance is a calendar based or running hour based maintenance concept which employs various scheduled offline testing methodologies to conduct periodic assessment of the system and thereafter carry out the maintenance activities as prescribed in the schedule. The detailed procedure and schedule for the preventive maintenance routines such as change of filters, insulation tests, lubrication etc. are normally advised by the manufacturer and, if followed correctly, it ensures efficient running of the equipment resulting in reduced life cycle cost.

Predictive Maintenace

In the case of a Predictive Maintenance program the key values of the equipment are measured or monitored and the values obtained are compared with the standard set of values for the respective equipment to identify the deviations if any. The Predictive Maintenance method analyses the causes, symptoms and effect relationship of the equipment’s performance to predict the requirement of any corrective actions. The causes of the deviations found are thereafter analysed to identify the maintenance routines to be carried out to normalize the equipment’s performance parameters.

Condition Based Maintenace

Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) is carried out based on the knowledge of the condition of equipment obtained from routine or continuous monitoring. Condition Based Maintenance is similar to the Predictive Maintenance but uses both online and offline test data to decide up on the requirement of maintenance to be carried out. In the case of CBM, if the test results fall in the normal or acceptable range, the scheduled Preventive Maintenance may be skipped which shall reduce the maintenance effort and the associated costs.

Application of a customized CBM plans are now gaining wider acceptance in the shipping world with the classification societies coming up with the standards which permit and warrants the inclusion of preventive maintenance methodology in the overall maintenance program of the ships.

MAINTENANCE LEVELS AND ORGANISATION

Typical classification of maintenance levels and maintenance organisations in the naval ship maintenance domain are as follows.

Organisational Level

Organisational level maintenance involves limited pre-planned preventive maintenance, operational checks and adjustments capable of being undertaken by onboard operators utilizing ship held spares, test equipment and facilities. Pre-planned preventive and corrective maintenance and operational checks including diagnostics through Built-In-Test-Equipment (BITE), adjustments and repair by replace;  which require onboard spares or tools and test equipment and undertaken onboard ship with the support of Base Maintainers are also considered to be a part of the Organisational level maintenance.

 Intermediate Level

Intermediate level maintenance involves corrective, pre-planned preventive maintenance, operation checks, software maintenance, fault finding and repair of defects not reported by systems and adjustments which require either use of specialized base facilities, partial disassembly of equipment or specialist expertise, and base held test equipment and tools.  This type of maintenance is normally performed by the specialists from Base Workshops.

Depot Level

Depot level maintenance involves major equipment overhauls and refit work including removal of the equipment to the workshops and the use of specialist personnel, Special Tools and Test Equipment and special facilities as required. This type of maintenance is normally performed by the Shipyards or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and involves complex maintenance functions.

TYPES OF MAINTENANCE WINDOWS

The upkeep cycle of a naval ship is normally determined as a part of the ILS activities during the engineering design stages of the shipbuilding. The upkeep cycle is designed to accommodate the desired operational profile of the ship and it identifies the windows of opportunity for the maintenance of the ship and equipment onboard. Typical types of maintenance windows that are catered for the upkeep of the naval ships are as follows.

 Refits

Refits are extended periods of maintenance during which the ship and the equipment onboard are subjected to several major maintenance activities. Typical activities involve underwater area cleaning and preservation, overhaul, major repairs, additions and alterations etc. Refits are further classified in to various types such as Navigational refits, Major Refits, Mid Life Refits etc. based on the life of the ship and scope of the work involved.

Docking

The ships are normally docked during specified periods of its life cycle in order to undertake the cleaning and preservation of the underwater areas. Typically the dockings are combined with the refit periods in order to optimise the ships availability for operations.

Maintenance Periods

Assisted or Self Maintenance Periods are included in the ship’s upkeep cycle to facilitate the conduct of maintenance activities during the operational phase of the ship. During such maintenance periods the ships are kept ready at short notice for the operational requirements. Organisational level maintenance is conducted during the Self Maintenance Periods where as both organisational and intermediate level maintenance activities are undertaken during the Assisted Maintenance Periods.

MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

The maintenance of assets in the naval domain is normally managed using Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) or Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software solutions. CMMS is a software package that maintains a computer database of the information about an organization’s maintenance operations. CMMS software solutions used by the navies across the world are SAP EAM-PM, IBM Maximo, InforEAM etc. Use of EAM/CMMS helps to improve the efficiency of maintenance management by integrating the various elements of maintenance such as configuration, technical data and documentation, maintenance plans, maintenance cards, spares information  etc. and thereby facilitating the improvement of responsiveness, reliability, quality and safety in maintenance management. [7]

CHALLENGES IN NAVAL SHIP MAINTENANCE

Although most of the challenges associated with the naval ship maintenance surfaces during the operational phase of the ship’s life cycle, it can be seen that the cause of many of these challenges are rooted to the life cycle support actions which happens during the conceptual, engineering and construction phases of ship building. It is therefore necessary to carefully plan the life cycle maintenance of the naval ship systems and equipment onboard during the acquisition. Some of the most prominent challenges, or areas and causes which are associated with the emergence of the challenges in the maintenance of the naval ships, are as detailed in the succeeding paragraphs.

ILS Maturity

The timely development and delivery of the ILS elements and their maturity before the commencement of the operational phase of the ship’s life cycle is critical for ensuring an effective maintenance program. The Maintenance Planning element of ILS begins early in the acquisition process with development of the maintenance concept. Maintenance Planning is conducted to evolve and establish requirements and tasks to be accomplished for achieving, restoring, and maintaining the operational capability for the life of the system. The Maintenance Schedules, Job Information Cards, Technical Data and Documentation, Spares Catalogue, Onboard and Base Spare Establishment Lists, Special Tools and Test Equipment (STTE), etc. are key ILS elements which are  required to support the establishment of an efficient maintenance program for the ship systems and equipment onboard. The availability, accuracy and the maturity of the ILS elements pertaining to the class of ships determines the quality of the Maintenance Management and the availability of the ship systems and equipment.

Quality of Maintenance Plan                                                                                

The Maintenance Plan is produced before the operational phase of the ship’s life cycle as a part of the ILS deliverables. A typical Maintenance Plan will contain the details of the maintenance activity to be carried out for the system/equipment, the periodicity, the spares and consumables required to conduct the maintenance, the activities, tasks and operations to be carried out etc. The Maintenance Plan is normally produced based on the recommendations of the OEM of the equipment and standard engineering practices. The availability of a detailed Maintenance Plan is a key factor for the implementation of an efficient maintenance regime for the ship systems and equipment onboard.

Complexity of Systems and Equipment

The naval ships contain a number of complex platform and combat systems equipment. The maintenance of these systems would require experienced and highly qualified technicians as well as advanced special tools and test equipments.  For example, the ships with nuclear and electrical propulsion needs specifically trained specialists to maintain and repair the highly sophisticated systems. Same is the case with the maintenance of the advanced navigation and weapon systems which are key elements in the frontline ships of the world navies.

Choice of Maintenance Strategy

The choice of the right maintenance strategy is normally a trade-off between the various types of maintenance such as Preventive, Corrective, Predictive and Condition Based Maintenance. A typical trade-off pattern between Prevention and Repair costs is as given in Figure 1. [8]

Maintenance Strategy

However, the choice of the maintenance strategy is not always based on the associated cost factor. There are other factors which influence the selection of the maintenance strategy of systems and equipment onboard a naval ship. For example, in the case of a very critical system, the failure of which may have a severe impact on the safety of the ship, Preventive Maintenance would be the preferred strategy whereas in the case of a non-critical system the preferred maintenance strategy would be based on reactive or run-to-fail.  As the selection of the maintenance strategy depends up on several factors and constraints, it is considered as one of the most challenging tasks associated with the maintenance of naval ships.

Adherence to Upkeep Cycle

The upkeep cycle of a naval ship is normally determined during the engineering design and construction phase of the ship building. The upkeep cycle of a ship specifies the periods of operation and maintenance as well as the type of maintenance windows. The demand for increasing the operational availability of the naval ships is at its peak due to the increasing mission commitments across the world. This has forced the naval authorities to increase operational periods and revising the maintenance periods as against the planned upkeep cycle leading to the reduction of preventive maintenance activities recommended for the systems and equipment onboard.

Non availability of the ship for the planned maintenance periods is a major challenge in managing the maintenance of naval ships as it not only leads to backlog of a large number of maintenance work orders but also the deterioration in the performance and productive life span of the systems and equipment onboard.

 Data Management & Analysis

The life cycle management of the assets involves the management of large amount of data pertaining to their maintenance and upkeep. This includes the data corresponding to the preventive and corrective maintenance history, configuration changes, spare parts information etc. A systematic recording and utilisation of this data would facilitate the accurate analysis of the asset behaviour and in determining the corrective actions to improve the performance of the asset. For example the failure history of equipment may form the basis for analysing the engineering operational issues associated with it and identifying the requirement to initiate Engineering Change Proposals or modifications in the operation procedure. As the volume of such data is very large, it’s timely recording, logical storage and efficient utilisation for analytic purposes is one of the major challenges associated with the maintenance of the naval ships.

Excessive Operation of Equipment

The increase in the operational commitments of the naval ships across the world has resulted in the utilisation of the naval assets beyond their designed profile. The Annual Operating Hours (AOH) specified during the acquisition is one of the major factors for the engineering design and the life cycle logistics planning of the naval ship systems and equipment onboard. The usage of these systems and equipment beyond the design profile leads to the requirement of enhanced maintenance and supply support which is a challenging constraint in the maintenance management of naval ships.

Obsolescence Management

The construction of a naval ship is a very complex evolution and it may take one to several years depending up on the design maturity of the class of the ship being constructed as well as the capability of the yard constructing the ship. Normally the equipment to be outfitted on the ship is decided and ordered during the design stage of the ship building based on the functional and product requirements, and the equipment chosen is more often than not the best and latest models of its type available in the market. However as the construction and delivery of the ship gets prolonged, especially in the case of the First of Class, the technology used on these equipment becomes out-dated or it so happens that a better version of the equipment is available in the market with more advanced features. While such issues are contractually negotiated to some extend especially in terms of the software solutions, the negotiation of such challenges arising out of the rapid technological advances in terms of the designed hardware becomes quite challenging. This leads to the early emergence of obsolescence issues associated with the equipment and its spares making the maintenance management of such equipment extremely difficult.

 Shortage of Maintenance Funds

The exponential cost of building and maintaining a complex naval ship coupled with the global economic slowdown has constrained even the most powerful governments from venturing in to the programs for fleet expansion and upgrade of the ship systems at a rate proportional to the existing demand and advancement in technology. The non-availability of sufficient funds for enhancing the maintenance capabilities and upgrade of the systems and equipment onboard poses a major challenge in providing efficient maintenance and logistic support for the naval ships. This in turn has resulted in increase in the number of breakdown of the systems and equipment onboard, leading to the reduction in the availability of the naval ship.

 Inefficient Management of Maintenance

The effectiveness of the maintenance depends on the manner in which the maintenance is managed. Availability of a very advanced maintenance management system and highly skilled technicians is not a guarantee for achieving the best results in the maintenance of a naval ship if the maintenance management team is not efficient. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the suitably qualified and experienced personnel are positioned at the right places in the maintenance management organisation to overcome this challenge in the maintenance of naval ships.

 Availability of Suitably Trained Personnel

The technology behind many of the systems onboard a modern naval ship is normally very advanced and state-of-the-art. As most of the electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and combat systems are automated and interfaced to the Integrated Platform Management Systems (IPMS) or Combat Management Systems (CMS), it becomes challenging for the general technicians to effectively conduct the maintenance of such systems. It is desirable for the technicians maintaining such equipment to have the knowledge of these advanced automation systems at least from the operational and troubleshooting perspective and therefore it should be ensured that the technical team responsible to maintain such systems are suitably trained to undertake the maintenance of these systems in an efficient manner.

OEM Induced Restrictions

Maintenance activities such as depot level maintenance and those requiring advanced troubleshooting skills are normally performed by the OEM representatives due to commercial and technical reasons. However this arrangement becomes challenging at times when the maintenance support is required at short notice and there is no local OEM facility in the region. Moreover due to the complex political equations existing between various countries, it becomes almost impossible for an OEM to get the necessary security clearance from the authorities to provide emergency maintenance support for their systems, especially when the particular naval ship is operating in international waters.

Range of Technology

The current fleet of most of the world navies consist of ships which are newly inducted with state-of-the-art systems as well as legacy class ships which were designed and built decades ago and fitted with equipment based on older technology. Although the upgrade of the naval ship systems and equipment during their major and midlife refits bridges this gap in technology to some extent, the financial constraints make it almost impossible to upgrade all the systems and equipment to the latest technology. This brings to the forefront the challenging requirement to a have a logistics support, support facilities and a maintenance work force with experience in maintaining equipment spread across a wide range of technology.

 Configuration Management

The management of configuration of the ships in service is one of the most challenging tasks associated with the naval ship maintenance. During the operational phase of the ships life cycle, there will be requirements to have emergency solutions to the maintenance issues, especially during the breakdown of systems and equipment, to ensure the readiness of the ship for its assigned missions. In such situations, one of the most common approaches taken by the naval ship maintenance authorities is the cannibalisation, wherein the equipment as a whole or in part is removed from one ship and fitted on to another ship. Equipment are also transferred from one ship entering a long refit period to another one which is in operation for optimising the maintenance period. In order to ensure the integrity of the maintenance data, it is necessary to ensure that the configuration information is updated accordingly in the Maintenance Management System and all required processes and procedures are followed for such equipment or part transfers.

Non-availability of Adequate Spares

The analysis to determine the spares required to be stocked onboard and at the bases for the maintenance of the systems and equipment fitted onboard a naval ship is normally carried out as a part of the ILS engineering during the engineering design and construction phase of ship building. Such analysis are carried out by ILS specialists using advance software such as RAM commander and based on the maintenance related specifications and information such as AOH, Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) etc. provided by the ship designer, OEM and suppliers. Ideally these spares are to be procured and stocked as defined and should be available for maintenance when required. However one of the main challenges which is faced by the maintenance organisation is the non-availability of spares required for the maintenance at the time of the requirement. This is partially due to the inaccuracy of the spares recommendation and more often than not the failure to reorder and stock the recommended spares by the logistics team.

Uncontrolled Engineering Changes

While the engineering changes are strictly controlled through the Engineering Change Proposals (ECP), Change Requests (CR) etc. during the acquisition phase of ship’s life cycle, there is a general tendency to undertake engineering changes as a part of the maintenance by the maintenance team during the operational period in order to find urgent solutions to the maintenance problems under emergency situations. Such uncontrolled changes being made in the system or equipment not only leads to the corruption of the configuration data but also poses serious safety risk as no proper study regarding the safety and maintainability is conducted prior to making such changes.

 Engineering Design Issues

The design of a ship and the systems onboard are carried out during the acquisition phase of ship’s life cycle based on the functional specifications provided by the customer. The maintenance and operational issues due to the flaws in the design and design review process which may surface during the operational phase spawn a big challenge in ensuring the operational availability and maintainability of the ship or the particular system and associated equipment.

 Contractual Constraints

Strict contractual constraints imposed by the supplier or OEM may lead to maintenance challenges on some occasions. For example if an equipment is under the warranty period, the supplier or OEM contract prevents the ship’s maintenance team in attending to a defect or break down of the equipment until the their representative arrives. While this possible to be practiced for a commercial vessel it becomes almost impossible for a warship as it may not be possible for the OEM representatives to board the ship for providing warranty support while the ship is on a mission and operating in hostile conditions.  It is also necessary for all the parties involved to understand the contractual scope, constraints, and the terms and conditions of the contract to facilitate the smooth execution of the maintenance functions.

Stakeholder Relationships and Organisational Synergy

One of the key factors which determine the success of a maintenance organisation and its functioning is the existence of good working relationship and trust among the stakeholders and synergy within the organisation. The most important stakeholders in the maintenance of the naval ship and systems onboard are the ship’s crew, base maintainers, base workshops, warehouse and inventory team, the OEMs, suppliers and strategic partners etc. The coordination between stakeholders becomes even more challenging if the maintenance responsibility rests with a contracted non-uniformed organisation. Good working relationship and trust among the stakeholders shall help in the easy negotiation of maintenance challenges which arise due to the highly demanding working conditions and operational requirements. There is also a necessity to have better coordination and synergy with in the various departments of the organisation to promote team work and cooperation for shared success. Each stakeholder is required to carry out their responsibility in a timely and professional manner, especially with respect to the adherence to the processes and procedures associated with the Maintenance Management System.

Poor Communication

Existence of clear and transparent communication between the stakeholders is a must for the success of any program. Poor communication between the stakeholders in the maintenance organisation leads to confusion and undue delay in the completion of maintenance activities, especially in activities which involves the subcontractors. The secrecy and security aspects associated with the operations of a naval ship restricts the transparency in communicating the required information regarding the location of the ship,  details of maintenance requirements and the availability of maintenance windows during the operations. However this challenge could be overcome by the implementation of necessary communication procedures and processes, including a clear communication matrix, for optimum communication associated with the maintenance functions, without compromising on the secrecy and security aspects.

 Management of Subcontractors

Maintenance of naval ships involves management of several contractors and subcontracts.  In the case of a modern naval ship the systems and equipment are sourced from OEMs and suppliers spread across the world. Each contract may have some unique terms and conditions which need to be managed with utmost vigilance. Moreover the support and approach of the subcontractors varies from one subcontractor to another which makes the management of subcontractors a challenging task. It is prudent to establish long term framework agreement with the key suppliers and OEMs for more effective and prompt service and supply support for the systems and equipment supplied by them.

 Unlimited Expectations and Gold Plating

Unlimited expectation of the client in a maintenance contract leads to several issues with respect to the contract management. In the case of naval ship maintenance where a non-uniformed organisation is contracted for maintenance support, the contractor employees are sometimes compelled to deliver more than the contracted services to meet the support demands of the ship’s crew or client representatives. It becomes quite challenging for the contractor to manage such expectations, especially when the necessary contractual formalities and documentations are not followed and maintained. The contractor obliges to such demands of the client to maintain the working relationship with the client at the cost of extra financial losses and contract management issues.

On the contrary the contractor also sometimes goes out of the way by to deliver service and supply support to the client beyond contractual commitments – also known as gold plating- with an intention to build better relations with the client and secure more business with the client organisation.

 Administrative Issues

More often than not the maintenance of naval ships and military equipment are conducted at highly secure areas requiring special permissions and access rights. The issues pertaining to the security clearances and provision of access to the maintenance team to the ship for carrying out the maintenance is a major challenge associated with the naval ship maintenance. This becomes more complex when the maintenance team includes personnel from various nationalities and backgrounds. Inefficient management of this aspect associated with the naval ship maintenance may lead to delay in providing the access to the equipment for maintenance thus resulting in loss of man-hours and decreased availability of the ship.

CONCLUSION

All the challenges mentioned above may not be applicable for the maintenance programs of all the navies as the maintenance management in each part of the world depends on the work culture, professionalism, organizational maturity and contractual terms and conditions of the respective programs. Further, it may be noted that only selected few of the most prominent challenges associated with the maintenance of naval ships are as detailed in the above paragraphs. Negotiating these challenges needs the involvement and application of strategic and technical management skills. This paper has been prepared based on the standard maintenance management practices and the practical challenges identified during the delivery of Through Life Support programs.

REFERENCES

  1. Arshad Thaikoottam Kunjumon – Life Cycle Management Matrix – Optimising Life Cycle Maintenance of Naval Ships.
  2. Ministry of Defence – UK, ‘Integrated Logistics Support for MOD Projects’, Web- British Defence Standard 00-600, dated 11 November 2011.
  3. Jacques S. Gansler, William Lucyshyn, and Lisa H. Harrington – An Analysis of Through Life Support – capability Management at UK’s MoD.
  4. The People in Systems TLCM Hand Book – “A guide to the consideration of People Factors within Through Life Capability Management”.
  5. Operation and Maintenance Best Practices Guide Release – Chapter 5 Types of Maintenance Programs.
  6. NA Tomlinson, IEng MIET MIMarEST, BMT Defence Services, UK – What is the ideal maintenance strategy? A look at both MoD and commercial shipping best practice.
  7. Christopher Wenz, ‘Maintenance Life Cycle Planning – An Introduction’.
  8. An Roinn Cosanta, Óglaigh na hÉireann, Defence Forces – Naval Service Vessel Maintenance.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the Management of Abu Dhabi Ship Building for their guidance and encouragement towards the participation in the PACIFIC 2017 International Maritime Conference.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Arshad Kunjumon holds the current position of the Head of TLS Operations at Abu Dhabi Ship Building, UAE.  He is responsible for the Management of the Maintenance and the development of Through Life Support solutions for the Naval Ships. His previous experience includes tenure as Project Manager with Converteam Power Conversion and as an Officer with the Indian Navy.

Paper Presented by Arshad T Kunjumon at the RINA Warship 2016 – International Conference  in UK

ArshadTK Warship

LIFE CYCLE MANAGEMENT MATRIX – OPTIMISING LIFE CYCLE MAINTENANCE OF NAVAL SHIPS

Arshad Thaikoottam Kunjumon, Abu Dhabi Ship Building, UAE

SUMMARY

The demand for increasing the operational availability of the naval ships is at its peak due to the increasing mission commitments across the world. The exponential cost of building complex naval ships coupled with the global economic slowdown has constrained even the most powerful governments from venturing in to the programs for fleet expansion at a rate proportional to the existing demand. This situation has forced the world navies and leading naval ship builders to focus on optimizing and strategizing the maintenance aspects of the naval platforms and the equipment onboard in order to provide enhanced availability and a robust Life Cycle Management of the assets.

The requirement is to increase the operational availability of the existing assets through the implementation of efficient maintenance strategies and to optimize the life cycle maintenance of the future assets through the application of logistics engineering right through the Conceptual, Engineering and Production phase up until the Operational and Disposal phase. The engineering decisions taken during the various phases of the life cycle of a naval platform is not only relevant from an overall cost perspective but also has the potential to make serious impact on the efficiency and availability of the platform to deliver the role and functions envisaged during the conceptual stages.

This paper focus on the use of advanced technologies and identifying the key areas of logistics engineering which needs to be considered during the life cycle of a naval platform for optimizing the maintenance requirements and to establish an efficient and cost effective Through Life Support program by the application of Integrated Logistic Support principles.

NOMENCLATURE

The following are the main abbreviations used in this technical paper:

ILS         Integrated Logistic Support

TLS        Through Life Support

CM         Configuration Management

MP          Maintenance Planning

SS           Supply Support

S&TE     Support & Test Equipment

F&I         Facilities & Infrastructure

T&TE     Training & Training Equipment

TI            Technical Information

HFI         Human Factor Interface

PHS&T  Packaging, Handling, Storage & Transportation

C&TD    Concept & Technology Development

ED          Engineering Development

P&D       Production & Deployment

O&S       Operations and Support

MMS      Maintenance Management System

SMS       Supply Management System

CMS       Configuration Management System

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

The recent changes in the global economic, political and technological scenarios have forced the world navies to realign its resources and requirements to overcome the challenges posed due to these changes. One of the most significant challenges is to improve the operational availability of the ships while keeping the maintenance period and maintenance efforts to the minimum.

Effective Life Cycle Management demands the availability of an efficient Maintenace and Supply Support scheme throughout the operational life of the system or the equipment. Maintenance is an essential aspect of the naval ships and the equipment fitted onboard. Maintenance consists of actions which are taken throughout the life cycle of the systems or equipment to ensure that they deliver their intended functions when required [1].

The active service life of a naval ship is normally 20-30 years. Considering the speed of technological advancements, this is a very long period in which many changes could take place with respect to the capability, efficiency and the logistics support for the equipment which are fitted onboard. While this is partially offset by the timely upgrade or the update of the system or the equipment, a requirement still exists to develop and implement a strategic Life Cycle Management plan which encompasses the Maintenace and Support requirements for the efficient performance of the system or the equipment throughout its intended operational life.

The application of ILS principles and standards combined with the use of advanced software tools for ILS engineering, shall lead to the optimisation of the maintenance and support scheme, and also deliver additional benefits in the form of reduced Life Cycle Costs. The Life Cycle Management Matrix described in this document details the engineering and management activities which are intended to be carried out for each of the elements and associated areas of ILS during each phase of a ship building program in order to achieve an efficient Life Cycle Management for the ship and systems or equipment onboard.

  1. INTEGRATED LOGISTIC SUPPORT

ILS is an integrated approach to the management of logistic disciplines in the military with a goal of creating systems that last longer and require less support. ILS is defined as a disciplined approach that influences the product design and develops the support solution to optimise the Life Cycle Cost. It encompasses the technical logistics elements to plan and develop the support requirements for a system. ILS addresses the supportability of the system not only for the acquisition, but also throughout the period of its operational life [2] [3].

The key elements of ILS are as given in below.

2.1          ILS PLANNING

The ILS Plan is a live document that is maintained throughout the project life and it includes the requirements, tasks, interfaces and milestones for various phases of the project. It is the implementation plan for the Logistic Support and shall contain the supportability goals, support strategy and all associated plans.

The ILS planning activities coincide with the development of the acquisition strategy for the system and trade-offs are normally required with the development of the ILS elements to acquire a system that is affordable, operable, supportable, sustainable and environmentally sound.

2.2          DESIGN INTERFACE & SUPPORTABILITY ANALYSIS

The Design Interface and Supportability Analysis influence the selection and finalisation of the functions of the ship and the equipment onboard and their configuration.

The Design Interface (DI) is the relationship of logistics-related design parameters of the system to its projected or actual support resource requirements. Some of the basic requirements that need to be considered as a part of the Design Interface include the study of the Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Safety, Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis etc.

Supportability Analysis (SA) consists of the analytical tasks which shall influence  the  design  of  the  system to  take  account  of  logistic  support considerations and identify support issues, readiness requirements and cost drivers as early as possible in the system  life cycle.

The design and configuration of the ship and the systems or equipment onboard, identified through the Design Interface and Supportability Analysis, is progressively evolved as the program advances and the control of the design and configuration is achieved through the establishment of a Configuration Management (CM) process based on the ILS principles.

2.3          MAINTENANCE PLANNING

The Maintenance Planning (MP) commences during the initial stages of the acquisition process with the development of the maintenance concept. It defines the repair policy, determines the probable repair tasks for all types of maintenance and identifies the spares, tools, facilities, documentation, techniques and personnel required to execute the maintenance tasks.

2.4          SUPPLY SUPPORT

The Supply Support (SS) element identifies the spares to be included in the Technical Documentation. It shall also include the Codification and Ranging and Scaling of the identified spares leading to the development of the initial provisioning list and spares establishment lists.

2.5          SUPPORT AND TEST EQUIPMENT

The Support and Test Equipment (S&TE) includes all equipment, mobile and fixed, that is required to support the Operation and Maintenance of the ship’s systems and equipment onboard.

2.6          FACILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE

The Facilities and Infrastructure (F&I) element of the ILS is composed of a variety of planning activities, all of which are directed toward ensuring that entire physical infrastructure and services which are required to integrate, operate and maintain the system and equipment onboard the ship are available concurrently with deployment of the system.

2.7          TRAINING AND TRAINING EQUIPMENT

The Training and Training Equipment(T&TE) support includes the processes, procedures, techniques, and training equipment used to train the personnel to operate and support a system. This element defines qualitative and quantitative requirements for the training of operating and support personnel throughout the life cycle of the system.

2.8          TECHNICAL INFORMATION

The Technical Information (TI) element of ILS consists of the information necessary to operate, maintain, repair, support and dispose a product during its life cycle. It includes all kinds of technical data and documentations in the form of drawings, manuals, reports etc. The availability of the technical data and documentation and their quality has a great impact on the overall delivery of logistic support functions during the life cycle of the ship and the equipment onboard.

2.9          HUMAN FACTOR INTERFACE

The Human Factor Interface (HFI) involves identification and acquisition of personnel with skills and grades required to operate and maintain a system over its lifetime.

2.10        PACKAGING, HANDLING, STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION

The Packaging, Handling, Storage and Transportation (PHST) element includes resources and procedures to ensure that all equipment and support items are preserved, packaged, marked, handled, transported, and stored properly for short- and long-term requirements.

2.11        DISPOSAL AND TERMINATION

The disposal of the equipment should be considered at the design phase and it must consider the possibilities of re-deployment, sale, waste disposal, the environmental impacts and the possible disposal of recovered material by sale.

3. PHASES OF SHIP’S LIFE CYCLE

A ship’s life cycle is generally divided in to the following five main phases based on the activities involved in each of the phases.1-ships-life-cycle

  • Concept & Technology Development (C&TD)
  • Engineering Development (ED)
  • Production & Deployment (P&D)
  • Operations & Support (O&S)
  • Disposal

A pictorial representation of a ship’s life cycle is as given in Figure 1.

The Concept & Technology Development phase, Engineering Development phase and the Production & Deployment phase constitutes the acquisition part of the ship’s life cycle whereas the Operation & Support phase including the disposal of the ship and the equipment onboard constitute its utilisation part.

The Life Cycle Management Matrix for each phase of ship’s life cycle is as described in the following sections.

  1. CONCEPT AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PHASE MATRIX

The Concept and Technology Development (C&TD) phase for ships and equipment normally includes Research and Development, design, contract specifications, identification of all support necessary for introduction into service, and identification of funding required and organisational structure for the acquisition [4].

The initial concept of the ship and its capabilities are developed during the Concept and Technology Development phase and are normally outlined in the Initial Capabilities Document. This is followed by the activities for the development and evaluation of the technologies which shall satisfy the conceived system requirements.2-ctd-phase-matrix

The Concept and Technology Development phase involves several important activities which shall have a very high influence on the overall life cycle cost of the ship. It is seen that over 80% of the Total Ownership Cost is determined during the initial part of acquisition phase [5]. The matrix of key activities which needs to be carried out during Concept and Technology Development phase of ship’s life cycle in the respective areas of ILS elements is as given in Figure 2.

The most important Design Interface activity that is carried out during this phase is initial technical studies pertaining to the Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) of the envisaged ship and the equipment onboard. There are several commercial ILS software tools, which could be used for performing the Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety Analysis and Prediction, as well as for other engineering studies and analyses such as Spares Optimisation, Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis, Testability, Fault Tree Analysis, etc.

A screenshot of a Design Interface technical study using advanced software is given in Figure 3.3-di-technical-studies

The Concept and Technology Development phase not only formulates the concept of the ship’s design and its functionalities, but also clearly defines the concept boundaries to facilitate the further development of the concept in the Engineering Development phase. The Supportability Analysis is carried out during the Concept and Technology Development phase to analyse the logistics supportability factors for the envisaged design of the ship and the systems or equipment onboard. The functional specifications of the ship and the systems or equipment onboard are formulated during this phase and the Functional Baseline (FBL) is developed based on this information.

The initial ILS strategy to achieve the program requirements for all the elements of ILS are conceived during the Concept and Technology Development phase. The high level strategy for the Maintenance of the ship and the equipment onboard is formulated during this phase and it shall determine the maintenance approach to be adopted during the operational life cycle.

  1. ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT PHASE MATRIX

The Engineering Development phase consists of the activities for the detailed design of the ship and systems or equipment onboard. During this phase the basic design is transformed in to detailed producible design which could be materialised within the schedule and cost constraints of the program.

The matrix of key activities which needs to be carried out during the Engineering Development phase of the ship’s life cycle in the respective areas of ILS elements is as given in Figure 4.4-ed-phase-matrix

The construction of a naval ship is a challenging programme, especially if it is an advanced warship with highly complex systems and technologies. During the Engineering Development phase several modelling and simulation studies are conducted as a part of the Design Interface activities to validate the results of the basic analysis. The Product Baseline (PBL) of the ship and the systems or equipment onboard is developed during this phase to match the requirements which were specified in the Functional Baseline produced during the Concept and Technology Development Phase.

Another important ILS activity during the Engineering Development phase is the development of the Maintenance Management System (MMS) and the Supply Management System (SMS) deliverables.

Typical ILS deliverables which needs to be developed as a part of a Maintenance Management System include the following:

  • Planned Maintenance Schedule
  • Planned Maintenance Cards
  • Job Information Cards
  • MMS Database

Typical ILS deliverables which needs to be developed as a part of a Supply Management System include the following:

  • Onboard Spares and S&TE Establishment List
  • Base Spares and S&TE Establishment List
  • SMS Database

The Engineering Development phase confirms the ship’s design and systems or equipment onboard. ILS activities such as Maintenance Task Analysis (MTA), Level of Repair Analysis (LORA) etc. are carried out during this phase to develop the deliverables pertaining to the Maintenance Management System and the Supply Management System. . These analyses could be carried out using the conventional methods as well as using the advanced software which are available in the market.

The Facilities and Infrastructures which are required to support the ship and the equipment onboard are identified during the Engineering Development phase and actions are initiated to establish them in accordance with the program requirements. The Human Resources required for the manning of the ship and its maintenance is identified and an elaborate training plan is prepared to ensure that the personnel designated to be involved in the operation and maintenance are adequately trained to guarantee the safe and proper operation and maintenance of the ship and the equipment onboard.

The preparation and development of the Technical Information pertaining to the ship and systems or equipment onboard are carried out during the Engineering Development phase. The typical ILS deliverables associated with the management of the Technical Information are as follows:

  • Ship’s Handbook
  • Weapons Handbook
  • Operator Pocketbooks
  • Start-up Shut-down Cards
  • Installation Manuals
  • Operating Manuals
  • Technical Manuals
  • Maintenance Manuals
  • Design Drawings
  • As-fitted drawings
  • Commissioning, Test and Trial Plans

While the manuals of the systems and equipment are normally provided by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), the Ship Specific Technical Publications (SSTPs) are produced by the ship’s designer or the yard.

All the engineering information required for the Production and Deployment of the ship is framed during the Engineering Development phase. The plan for the disposal of the ship after its useful life shall also be developed during this phase with due consideration to the applicable environmental, safety, security, and health requirements and regulations.

  1. PRODUCTION AND DEPLOYMENT PHASE MATRIX

The Production and Deployment (P&D) phase validates the outputs of the Engineering Development phase with respect to the ability to deliver the envisaged and designed operating capability, including all enabling system elements and supporting material and services.

This phase not only involves the manufacturing, installation and commissioning activities for the ship and the systems or equipment onboard, but also covers many associated support and maintenance engineering activities, especially the establishment of the ILS elements for the program and their delivery.

The matrix of key activities which needs to be carried out during the Production and Deployment phase of the ship’s life cycle in the respective areas of ILS elements is as given in Figure 5.5-pd-phase-matrix

During the Engineering and Development phase, the ship’s design is fully defined in terms of product models, construction drawings, and procurement specifications for material, equipment, and systems. The logistics plans initiated earlier for each element of ILS are therefore further developed during the Production and Deployment phase to align with the finalised designs. The configuration baseline audit is carried out during this phase to validate and establish the configuration database for the ship and the equipment onboard.

The Maintenance and Supply Management Systems are further developed and delivered during the Production and Deployment phase to facilitate the timely initiation of the maintenance and supply support activities. All spares and S&TE identified for the initial period of service are packaged and delivered in accordance with the PHST requirements specified. It may be noted that the maintenance of the ship and the equipment onboard normally commences from their respective dates of commissioning and therefore the conduct of the maintenance and provision of the necessary logistics support needs to be ensured during this phase.

The conduct of the operator and the maintainer training shall commence during the Production and Deployment phase to ensure that the crew and the workshop personnel are ready to carry out the tasks for the utilisation and sustainment of the ship and the equipment onboard. All administrative and engineering activities associated with the setting up of facilities and infrastructure required to support the ship during its operational life cycle is progressed during this phase in line with the overall program management plan. The Human Resource plan is validated during this phase to confirm the adequacy of the resources, their skills and capabilities for the manning and maintenance of the ship.

The validation of all Technical Information shall be carried out during the Production and Deployment phase. In addition several changes may have to be made in the Technical Information, especially the Technical Documents and Ships Drawings, during this phase to match the alterations and additions made in the design of the ship and the equipment onboard due to the regulatory or customer requirements.

The establishment and delivery of most of the ILS deliverables are completed during the Production and Deployment phase. The quality of the ILS deliverables and their delivery in accordance with the overall program schedule needs to be ensured to facilitate the commencement of the logistics support activities for the efficient life cycle support and optimisation of maintenance efforts during the Sustainment phase of the ship.

  1. OPERATIONS AND SUPPORT PHASE MATRIX

The Full Operational Capability of the ship is achieved during the Operations and Support phase. Availability of the Ship for its envisaged role and the Logistics functions including the Maintenance and Supply Support are the main focus of this phase. Continuous monitoring of the performance of the ship and the systems or equipment onboard is carried out to confirm the delivery of the designed functions. The most significant part of the Operations and Support phase is the Sustainment portion which commences with the deployment of the first system. The main purpose of the Sustainment portion is to provide the necessary supplies and services to the ship to maintain operational readiness and operational capabilities [6][7].

The matrix of key activities which needs to be carried out during the Operations and Support phase of the ship’s life cycle in the respective areas of ILS elements is as given in Figure 6.6-os-phase-matrix

The activities during this phase shall also include the execution of the operational support plans, conducting modifications and upgrades to the hardware and software [7]. The main area of focus during the Operations and Support phase with respect to the optimisation of maintenance efforts is the execution of Maintenance in accordance with the Maintenance Management System   developed during the acquisition phase of the ship’s life cycle. The timely maintenance of the ship and the equipment onboard shall be the key to the enhancement of the availability of the ships. However, considering uncertainty in the mission and operational commitments, requirements may arise to schedule the maintenance during the windows of opportunity. Adequate measures are to be taken to ensure the availability of the required spares and S&TE onboard and at the warehouses to reduce the down time of the equipment. Fleet Management tools may be used to facilitate efficient management of the operation, maintenance and associated activities.

All the ILS deliverables including the Technical Information, Maintenance Management System, Supply Management System and configuration data of the ship needs to be managed closely to match any changes that may be mandated due to upgrades, obsolescence and transfer of systems or equipment. Facilities and Infrastructure implemented for the support of the ship needs to be upgraded if necessary to meet the enhanced support requirements due to configuration changes or technological advancements. Continuity training shall be provided to the future crews and maintainers during the Operations and Support phase and the Human Resource plan shall be updated to manage the additional requirements identified with respect to the manning and maintenance of the ship.

The Operations and Support phase of the ship’s life is the longest phase during its life cycle. The efficient execution of the logistics functions including the maintenance and supply support therefore plays a significant role not only in the optimisation of the maintenance efforts but also for the extension of the useful life of the ship and the equipment onboard. 

  1. DISPOSAL PHASE MATRIX

The Disposal phase is the final phase of a ship’s life cycle. The disposal of a ship is normally considered when it has outlived its useful period of life or when its upgrade to enhance the capability in line with the technological advancements is not economically viable. Disposal of a naval ship could also happen through transfer or sale of the ship to friendly navies.

The matrix of key activities which needs to be carried out during the Disposal phase of the ship’s life cycle in the respective areas of ILS elements is as given in Figure 7.7-disposal-phase-matrix

There are several preparatory actions which precedes the decommissioning and the disposal of a naval ship. If the ship is not sold or transferred, studies are undertaken in advance to identify the material state of the equipment onboard and the feasibility to redeploy them in other active ships. All systems or equipment thus identified for redeployment are transferred along with their associated logistics, and the respective configuration and maintenance records are updated accordingly.

The logistics associated with the system shall include the respective Onboard and Base Spares, Support and Test Equipments, Facilities and Infrastructure etc.

The disposal of the ship and all other components which are not identified for sale, transfer, redeployment or reuse have to be carried out in compliance with the environmental, safety, security, and  health requirements and regulations[7]. All the logistics records of the ship and systems shall be archived as appropriate during the Disposal phase to enable any analyses and studies in future.

  1. CONCLUSIONS

The Life Cycle Management Matrix described in this article could be used to optimise the maintenance efforts by focusing on the systematic and efficient implementation of the ILS engineering activities recommended for each phase of ship’s life cycle in the areas of respective ILS elements. This paper has been prepared based on the principles of ILS and the practical challenges identified during the various ship building and Through Life Support programs.

Although many of the individual activities mentioned in this article may have been practiced by the naval ships builders and maintainers across the world, the organisation of these actives in to the matrix is intended to provide a simplified guideline to ensure the implementation of the right logistics actions at the right time in a systematic manner – a requirement which is critical for the successful optimisation of any Life Cycle Support program.

The application of this matrix to develop the ILS deliverables during the acquisition phase and to utilise them during the Operational and Support phase shall not guarantee all by itself the optimisation of the maintenance efforts. The activities elaborated in the Life Cycle Management Matrix should be supported by the efficient management of associated functions such as Inventory Management, Human Resources Management etc. to ensure reduced down time, efficient Maintenance Management and extended operational life of the ship and the systems or equipment onboard.

  1. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the Management of Abu Dhabi Ship Building for their guidance and encouragement towards the participation in the Warship 2016 conference.

The support extended by Ms Francesca Colonnata, ILS Head at Abu Dhabi Ship Building in reviewing the document and providing valuable suggestions is acknowledged with gratitude.

  1. REFERENCES 
  1. Christopher Wenz, ‘Maintenance Life Cycle Planning – An Introduction’, Web, 25 June 2014.
  1. Ministry of Defence – UK, ‘Integrated Logistics Support for MOD Projects’, Web- British Defence Standard 00-600, dated 11 November 2011.
  1. Ministry of Defence – UK, ‘Integrated Logistic Support Policy’, JSP 886 JSP 886, Web- The Defence Logistics Supply Chain Manual, Volume 7 Part 1, dated 28 May 2014.
  1. SPAR Associates, USA, ‘Military Ships Life Cycle Cost Model’, Web, 8 July 2015.
  1. US Coast Guard, ‘System Integrated Logistic Support Manual’, Web http://www.uscg.mil, October 2002.
  1. Department of Defence – USA, ‘Operating & Support Cost Estimating Guide’, Web, March 2014.
  1. Deborah L. Clark, Donna M. Howell, Charles E. Wilson, Naval Post Graduate School, US Navy – ‘Improving Naval Ship Building Project Efficiency Through Rework Reduction’, Web, September 2007.
  1. AUTHORS BIOGRAPHY

Arshad Thaikoottam Kunjumon holds the current position of the Head of Maintenance Management – Naval Support Services at Abu Dhabi Ship Building, UAE.  He is responsible for the Management of the Maintenance and the development of Through Life Support solutions for the UAE Navy Ships. His previous experience includes tenure as Project Manager with Converteam Power Conversion and as an Officer with the Indian Navy.

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Some Useful Technical Sites

Given below are links to websites/articles which I came across while browsing the internet for technical information. I hope these links will be useful to you.

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