QinetiQ has confirmed Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers have been added to the Naval Combat Systems Integration Support Service (NCSISS) it provides in partnership for the Royal Navy.
Confirmation of the £9 million contract extension follows the company’s announcement earlier this year of a £23 million redevelopment project to create a new UK Centre of Excellence for Maritime Mission Systems near Portsmouth.
The NCSISS was first signed in 2012 and is delivered by QinetiQ and BAE Systems in collaboration with Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S). The service removes risk in the development, integration and testing of ship mission systems and enables the Royal Navy to deploy and take full advantage of the latest technologies.
The new contract extension will see the Royal Navy’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, and its sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, added to the advanced systems testing and evaluation programmes being delivered by the QinetiQ and its partners’ team of specialists based at Portsdown Technology Park.
“We are passionate about delivering world-class systems for the UK front line,” says Steve Fitz-Gerald, QinetiQ Managing Director of Maritime, Land and Weapons.
“The success of the NCSISS has enabled us and our partners to ensure the UK Royal Navy’s surface fleet is at peak operational performance at all times. Receiving confirmation of the contract extension which includes the largest warships in the Fleet demonstrates the unique capabilities, resources and expertise we have at Portsdown Technology Park.
“It is also very timely news as we progress with our plans to extend our capabilities and create a truly world class centre for innovation, integration and testing of Maritime Mission Systems.”
Jo Osburn, Head of Maritime Combat Systems at Defence Equipment and Support said: “Extending the NCSISS arrangement to include the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers has provided a facility to test and assure new capabilities ahead of instillation into the platform.
“QinetiQ’s role in supporting the Combat System Enterprise through NCSISS will enable agile Operational Support to this new class of warship for her current equipment, as well as de-risking the addition of the new systems and equipment planned in the near to medium term”
The contract extension for the two Aircraft Carriers will cover a range of advanced communications systems for the planning and delivery of joint air and maritime activities and other critical operations. The work will also cover the Combat Management Systems and weapon control systems, as is already the case with other platforms in the Royal Navy’s surface Fleet. Engineers from QinetiQ and its NCSISS partners will use the sophisticated shore based test environments at Portsdown to evaluate the complex mission systems of the two Carriers to minimise the amount of testing on the platforms themselves and to maximise their operational availability and deployment.
QinetiQ’s new development programme at Portsdown Technology Park is being undertaken in partnership with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and will include the formation of a new Innovation and Collaboration Hub for other specialist maritime businesses. Construction and refurbishment work is due to begin on the site in 2019. Following an earlier NCSISS contract extension, QinetiQ engineers at Portsdown are already undertaking test and evaluation programmes for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ships, which are due to enter service in the 2020s.