New boss for Navy fleet sustainment

Plan Galileo, Defence’s national approach to sustaining the Navy fleet to ensure its ships can be deployed where and when they are needed, has a new leader at the helm.

CAPTION: Director RMC North East Mick Saunders with crew members from Lomor and the Norship CEO Olav Groot in Cairns. Story by Claudia Henry. Photo by Warrant Officer Danny Taylor.

In taking over as Head Maritime Sustainment, Rear Admiral Steve Tiffen commended the work of his predecessor, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm.

“It’s an enormous task to commence a delivery reform as significant as Plan Galileo, and for Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm to have achieved so many milestones so soon is admirable,” Rear Admiral Tiffen said.

“I want to thank Rear Admiral Malcolm for the great work she has done – busting through conceptualisation and into implementation is a real achievement for Plan Galileo under her lead.

“I have inherited a division that is in a great place to continue rolling out the reform and refining the implementation from real-life lessons. We are moving away from talking about the new maritime sustainment model as being something that is coming – because the future is now.”

Among the key milestones the plan achieved in 2022 was the implementation of the new maritime sustainment model, which established regional maintenance centres (RMCs) and capability life cycle managers for specific asset classes.

RMC North East was established in Cairns in January 2022, and is the first of four RMCs set up in strategic locations across Australia.

The first maintenance activity through RMC North East was conducted late last year, with two evolved Cape-class patrol boats, a Pacific patrol boat and a Guardian-class patrol boat undergoing work.

The RMC network will expand this year to include RMC West (Henderson), RMC East (Sydney) and RMC North (Darwin).

Further infrastructure investments from Defence, federal and state governments in all RMC locations will allow Plan Galileo to continue to improve maintenance delivery.

RMC National, which will sit alongside the RMCs, will also be established this year as an intelligence centre for the network.

Overcoming workforce-related challenges is an important part of Plan Galileo and its mission to develop a resilient national supply chain that has the capacity to service the surface fleet.

Plan Galileo roadshows are being planned over the coming months in Cairns, Henderson, Darwin and Sydney.

Rear Admiral Tiffen will be visiting all four RMC locations to update the workforce and industry on progress towards implementing the new maritime sustainment model.


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