Partnership pays off for Frigate Enterprise

Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author)

Topic(s): Guided Missile Frigate (FFG)

FFG Systems Program Office (SPO) director Captain Brad Smith thanks the audience on behalf of the FFG Enterprise team at the Essington Lewis Awards for Defence and Industry Excellence in Canberra. (photo: Unknown)
FFG Systems Program Office (SPO) director Captain Brad Smith thanks the audience on behalf of the FFG Enterprise team at the Essington Lewis Awards for Defence and Industry Excellence in Canberra.

A team of Royal Australian Navy members are proving that working alongside external partners has major benefits, both at sea and ashore.

The Guided Missile Frigate Enterprise has recently picked up a number of awards for its proactive and innovative approach to doing business.

When Leading Seaman Marine Technician Sarah Battenally posted into the Guided Missile Frigate Systems Program Office as Technical Support Officer, she braced herself to expect the unexpected.

The Office manages the Guided Missile Frigate Enterprise which consists of a wide range of external partners all working together to maintain Navy’s guided missile frigate fleet.

As she began her first shore posting, she thought she knew how the Office supported platforms.

With so many different names and cultures working in a small space, the potential for misunderstanding was great.

As she discovered, however, the reality was very different.

“Navy, Australian Public Service, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, BAE systems Australia and Thales Australia – they are all here,” Leading Seaman Battenally said.

“These are competing companies working together in a ‘no blame’ relationship.

“That requires us to adjust between each other to deliver capability and support our sailors serving at sea.” 

Matt Winnell is among the civilian workforce working with Leading Seaman Battenally at the Enterprise.

Like many of the civilians working at the Enterprise, he has a Navy background.

The former Electronics Technician in submarines says the secret to success is the ability of each partner to identify and remedy an issue before it can get out of hand.

“In the past, the prime contractor would deliver a design and the related Office would install it,” he said.

“But if the design had an issue it would need to be re-worked and this would lead to extra costs and schedule overruns.

“Here, we can pinpoint and remedy an issue far more quickly at the engineering level, which allows us to move forward more quickly and efficiently.

“The priority is ensuring that the ship’s capability is maintained,” Mr Winnell said.

Strengthening relationships across and beyond Navy is a key Navy Signature Behaviour, and Leading Seaman Battenally said it was vital to Navy’s future capability.

“The more collaborative you can be, the more capable your workforce will be,” she said.

Such proactive cooperation has been noticed by the maritime and business sector with the Enterprise receiving several awards in recent months.

Each paid tribute to the open and innovative practices which continue to drive the program.

Leading Seaman Battenally said the awards are proof that collaboration pays off.

“It’s all about using technology, innovation, and raising the bar in best practice and collaborative team work. 

“Although we haven’t done anything different in our day-to-day to achieve these awards, what we do is get along, do our job and do it well.”