Signed as part of an addition to the Naval Combat Systems Integration Support Services (NCSISS) contract, BAE Systems will ensure both aircraft carriers are kept ready for operations by providing world-class systems engineering support services.
The Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) mission systems, comprising 62 individual sub-systems, are vital for the delivery of aircraft carrier operations and allow crews to assess and respond to threats, plan joint, air and maritime operations and manage aircraft movements.
Under the new agreement, known as NCSISS phase 2.2, both ships’ mission systems will be supported by engineers based at BAE Systems’ Maritime Integration Support Centre (MISC) in Portsmouth. From this dedicated support facility, BAE ensures the systems that enable both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales to effectively carry out their operations are fully optimised wherever they are in the world.
Richard Williams, BAE Systems naval ships combat systems director, welcomed the announcement: "NCSISS is a real success story for BAE Systems and provides essential support to the UK Royal Navy. Working in collaboration with QinetiQ and DE&S we have ensured the UK’s surface fleet is at peak operational performance and are pleased to extend that support to the nation’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales."
The MISC has supported the QEC aircraft carrier program since 2009 and played a vital role in preparing HMS Queen Elizabeth for her first of class flight trials.
Opened in 2004, the MISC replicates key combat system equipment found on RN warships, providing them with shore integration services and support for their deployments across the globe.
Jo Osburn, Defence & Equipment Support (DE&S) head of maritime combat systems, 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."
Following a £10 million upgrade program, the MISC will be used to develop new technologies for BAE Systems’ INTeGEN combat system solutions.
"BAE Systems' 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 equipments planned in the near to medium term," Osburn added.
As well as supporting in-service platforms, NCSISS includes support for future platforms such as the Type 26 Global Combat Ships being built by BAE Systems in Glasgow. Equipment testing for the first City Class Type 26, Glasgow, began at the MISC in July 2018.
The NCSISS was originally warded to BAE Systems in March 2012. The contract is a collaborative service delivered by BAE Systems, QinetiQ and DE&S, and will be delivered out of BAE Systems’ MISC facility at Portsdown Technology Park in Portsmouth.
For more information about the industrial alliance and industry development programs responsible for delivering the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier, the full Defence Connect Podcast with Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Bob Love, CB, OBE is available here.