The Importance of Maintaining Submarine Design Intent

BMT Presentation at Pacific 2015




For submarine sustainment, accurate design intent is essential as it provides the basis to understand when the submarine is available or safe to operate. But maintaining an accurate design intent can be complex, and there are several fundamental requirements to getting it right.

The definition of design intent must be clear and well understood within the sustainment enterprise; the submarine’s design intent to be known at the outset of the sustainment phase; and the appropriate maintenance resources and processes must be applied through-life.Failure to achieve each of these can significantly increase the cost and effort to deliver sustainment outcomes, as recent examples from Australia and abroad can attest. Ultimately though, these efforts must be made or the safety of the submarine will be compromised.

As Australia pursues the acquisition of a larger, more complex and more capable submarine fleet, the challenges and resources required to manage design intent will grow proportionally. This paper will investigate the nature of these challenges with examples of where maintenance of design intent can go wrong, and consideration of how these situations can be avoided in future.

Ultimately an organisation is required to meet these challenges by applying the appropriate people, processes, tools and knowledge. This paper will also consider the potential shape and structure of this organisation as it relates to the Australian submarine context.


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