Chinook Mk6: Meeting deadlines against the odds
QinetiQ was tasked by the MOD Chinook Project Team to conduct independent technical evaluation of the design organisation's safety case and supporting documentation, and to provide Release to Service (RTS) recommendations in support of MOD's purchase of the new Chinook Mk6. This has involved supporting the programme through a number of staged release capability phases over the last few years. Our initial RTS recommendations were provided in March 2014, followed by Ready for Training RTS recommendations in September 2014. This led to Initial Operating Capability RTS recommendations being provided on time in January 2015.
Despite the delay in critical data required for us to deliver on time, we willingly undertook the challenge to achieve the customer's delivery dates, regardless. The project management and engineering teams worked tirelessly in reviewing and adjusting schedules to run tasks and activities in parallel, wherever possible, in order to maximise the efficiency of our processes and deliver the earliest possible outcome.
The fluid nature of the programme required constant close liaison between the combined test team – QinetiQ, the Chinook Project Team, and Boeing – to ensure that all parties were fully aware of the requirements of others, and of how the work interlinked through the Master Schedule. Close dependency management was undertaken in weekly tri-party talks to ensure that each team member received all the necessary support to enable the successful and timely delivery of the programme. The team continuously worked long hours to support the programme and maintain the high safety critical standards required to deliver airworthiness advice.
As a result of our efforts, the Chinook Project Team was able to deliver capability to the front line in the form of a RTS within the customer's required timescales.
Group Captain Ross Richards stated in a letter: “I am acutely aware that we have placed considerable pressure on the QinetiQ team in supporting this milestone, and have often asked them to adjust their approach in response to what has been a fluid and difficult programme. Despite this, I have been provided with excellent Independent Technical Evaluation and support to enable me to recommend to the Deputy Release to Service Authority that the RFT capability could be delivered. It has been particularly valuable to have QinetiQ personnel work so closely with the Boeing team in developing the RTS advice; from my perspective the Mk6 project has been best practice in this regard.