Platform system integration adds value through davit replacement

Garden Island, Sydney NSW, 24 January 2020

Navantia Australia was recognised by the Destroyer Enterprise for their outstanding work on the davit replacement project. The sea boat davit plays a critical role in enhancing today’s Navy capability due to the increasing reliance on rapid response boarding parties in maritime operations.

This davit capability upgrade is a key milestone for the whole of the Destroyer Enterprise being the first time that the Enterprise had to manage such a major design change to the DDG platform Baseline. All stakeholders have learnt many lessons through the journey.

Needing a contractor to manage the design and production integration of the davits along with the project management, stakeholder coordination and procurement, Navantia Australia was engaged as the Platform System Integrator.

In managing any project but particularly a complex one, good communication is critical. With multiple stakeholders, it is vital they are kept well informed, updated and their feedback is gathered. This is just as important for internal stakeholders as well as external minimise misunderstandings to ensure that time is not wasted.

The success of the Navantia design has enabled the installation of the davits on NUSHIP Sydney to be completed prior to handover and on HMAS Brisbane during her post deployment upgrade in 2020. This will be done using an Installation Work Pack produced by our Melbourne Design and Engineering Centre.

The project also emphasised areas for improvement in management processes, which will enable Navantia Australia to better estimate future levels of efforts.

The davit replacement highlighted Navantia Australia’s competencies in project management through managing work in Australia, Spain, Norway and Germany.

The development of the design was rigorous and produced a high quality result, testament of the collaborative input from the whole of Navantia Australia engineering teams, Navantia Spain and other Destroyer Enterprise members. Navantia Australia’s Melbourne Design and Engineering team together with our engineers in Sydney provided the structural and mechanical design change, vessel outfitting instructions and revised ILS documentation.

Navantia’s Sydney based engineers implemented the structural and mechanical modifications and all of the electrical changes. Engineers in Spain supported Navantia Australia in refining the unique foundation design that minimised impacts to the original deck structure as well as the hydraulic power unit to meet the new requirements.

Australia’s commitments in the Indo-Pacific are continuing to increase as we play a bigger role in contributing to security and prosperity in the region to deliver support to our Pacific partners, including for humanitarian assistance and response.

The Australian Government’s announcement in August this year of its contribution to the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) reaffirmed its commitment to providing safe passage and freedom of navigation in the Middle East. This contribution means a step up from the deployment of a P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft and small number of personnel to include a six-month deployment of a Navy frigate.

Given the above, it is reasonable to assume that the importance of the davit will continue to increase.

Jose Antonio Porto, Navantia Australia Engineering Operations Manager in the DDG sustainment program, spoke recently about the davit replacement project that highlighted the value of the OEM not only as the Platform System Designer, but also as a Platform System Integrator, and the challenges presented and overcome through this project.

The major challenge for the davit replacement was the tight timeframe, only 5 months, and the number of different stakeholders involved in the configuration change. The requirement to meet the DNVGL standard that was not part of the baseline in the acquisition program, created further complexities that required a fresh approach. Expectations for the project were very high.

The davits, procured by Navantia Australia under reduced lead times, were successfully installed and tested on HMAS Hobart by Thales, with specialist supervision from Navantia Australia. All the while achieved under the pressure of the operational deployment timeframe.

“All engineers were aligned with the common objective,” said Porto, “We were committed to getting it done in time and focused on the work.”

Porto has been working in the DDG sustainment program for almost two years, ever since the commissioning of the first Hobart class Guided Missile Destroyers, HMAS Hobart.

Engaged by the Managing Contractor for the Destroyer Enterprise, BAE Systems Australia, as Platform System Designer, Navantia Australia has been involved in a number of different engineering changes and technical investigation.