Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Competence

Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by Clouseau, Sep 28, 2006.

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  1. No.4 – Is the move toward Contractor Logistic Support undermining engineering competence in the RN?
     
  2. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    Not necessarily. The interval between procurements, the over-emphasis on "systems" engineering at the expense of common sense and subject matter expertise and the nature of those personnel assigned to DPA are major contributors. I personally would argue that the DPA (and elements of DLO) are now fundamentally incapable of acting as a competent engineering organisation.
     
  3. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    I was thinking more of the fact that with an over-relience of contrctors to fix kit onboard, we are neutering our uniformed maintainers. When the bullets start flying and the contractor cries off the maintainers will not have the where-with-all to cope.
     
  4. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    IIRC a ‘recent’ article in the RNE made a large deal out of a major overhaul in situ by the ME Dept of a war canoe’s diesel generator (alternator) engine. SOP in many commercial vessels with fewer hands yet here ‘we’ were writing a chest beating paper about it. However, when you can’t wait for the change team, get the BR out and crack on.

    If contractor support is not there when the excrement hits the air conditioning an engineer/tiffy/mechanic.......technician will figure out how to remove said poo, repair the damage and restart the plant. It’s what engineers do.

    When the contractor is on board, watch what he or she does, ask questions, offer to help if you’ve not been detailed anyway. He or she is just someone new to learn from. It’s what engineers do.

    Mind you, if it's a weekend alongside, I don't imagine many that are not duty will be taking the opportunity to learn from the OEM's representative.
     
  5. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete


    Onboard maintenance alongside used to be done by the Fleet Maintenance Group consisting of Tiffs ,Mechs etc etc. ships staff did handover and acceptance on completion.
    Seems like the FMG's are about to dissappear --or have they done so already.

    Yes OK peace time --what about a war footing --the contractors possibly won't be around then.

    Bring back Depot ships/Maintenance ships.
     
  6. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    Is this fictional or are you having people on? I mean, for fcuks sakes .... 'engineering competence'. The word isn't even in the dictionary, in fact I do believe that engineers go to RNEC Manadon to become incompetent. Stop whinging man. :wink:
     
  7. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    Sorry, not trying to wind you up. Hee hee, honest. Manadon. :roll:
     
  8. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    I took me a while...... Then I looked at your profile and contact details.:lol:
     
  9. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    Whilst working as an engineer in the "white navy" we were a lot further down the food chain when it came to priority of stores and sometimes had arrival forecasts in excess of 6 months for things that needed fixing yesterday. We coped, we used the MacGuyver / A team mentality and somehow made it work or came up with an alternative.
    As Seadog rightly said, that's what engineers do, they engineer and come up with last minute solutions to other peoples problems.
    If the people you have now can't do that, then they aint engineers.
     
  10. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    What happened to component level fault finding....??
     
  11. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    I am now an engineer in civvy street and component level is past, it is quicker and cheaper to do unit replacement but this is only any good when you have spares. Now when I fault find to that level in civvy land you are considered to be an exceptional technician.
    Sad that things have come to this but I have worked with recent ex mob OM's that are next to useless and last all of 5 minutes in the offshore world. They get in on the cv cos they are ex mob and employers know that used to be a good thing but sadly no longer for the young chimps coming out after a few years. This is bad for the older experienced "real" engineers that are leaving. The mob needs to get it's shit in one sock and have decent training for engineers again.
    But it probably won't........
     
  12. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    C.L.F.F. was the best training even for unit replacement, it taught you the "half split" method of tracing a fault....i still use the theory today...it helps me work out if Techies are trying to bullshit me....which they invariably are trying to do.
     
  13. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    Yes OMs were not good for engineering. They were never really mechanics/engineers. When a lamp went out they couldn't change it; they called the Chief! - which is why we now have ETs. The shit is being put back in the sock.

    The reason for CLS is cost. It is cheaper to contract for equipment availability than to maintain it yourself. There are obvious problems with this - as discussed earlier: what happens when you are in the middle of the ocean and haven't got a contractor to hand?! Doing this shifts financial risk to the contractor – but the OPERATIONAL RISK always remains with the RN/MOD. This is something the bean counters like to ignore.

    Here's another question: What's the difference between an Engineer, Technician and Mechanic? (It's not a joke btw)
     
  14. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    They're listed in descending order by the amount of shit that sticks to them when things go wrong.
     
  15. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    Onboard maintenance alongside used to be done by the Fleet Maintenance Group consisting of Tiffs ,Mechs etc etc. ships staff did handover and acceptance on completion.
    Seems like the FMG's are about to dissappear --or have they done so already.

    Yes OK peace time --what about a war footing --the contractors possibly won't be around then.

    Bring back Depot ships/Maintenance ships.[/quote]

    Is it possible that if we ever went on a (serious) war footing the said contractors might find themselves permanently attached or even conscripted if need be...? I know that in WW2 people in certain reserved occupations didn't get called up but had to stay in those occupations until hostilities ended.
     
  16. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    Yeah, but they didn't have the European Court of Human Rights in WWII. :roll:
     
  17. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    :)
    Hi,

    I'm not serving now, but re your comment on contractor 'cryoff' and lack of civilian maintainers when the bullets fly.

    I was in Saudi Arabia during GW1 (as they now seem to term it) working with a well known aero firm.
    A lot of the civilian staff did terminate their contract and went home during Desert Shield, and when Desert Storm took off that caused a few more to depart - and these guys were ex Military Crabs mostly.
    However, a far greater number (both civvie and ex-military) stayed at their post and honoured their contracts despite the fact they came under fire from Iraqi Scuds (16 alone fell in Riyadh - I know because I was there).

    Stating that "a contractor will cry off etc etc" could possibly be a little premature. I do understand what you are saying, but have you considered the fact that civvie contractors could or might be considered as mercenaries (not being in uniform etc) if an invading force captured them?

    This question came up in 1990/1 and was never really answered by the Government then that I can recall, and I don't recall that this has been discussed since - hopefully I am wrong and something is in place now.

    And then you have to consider that there could be uniformed maintainers who cry 'Pacifist' and refuse to work in a war environment, which has happened in the past.

    I agree with you on what is effectively a rundown of uniformed personnel is wrong and ill-advised in order to save money for some obscure reasons known only to the faceless ones in Whitehall, for them then to really expend very much more on employing civ contractors to do what service personnel should be doing.

    The problem is, when you have successive governments cutting defence funding, then wasting the so-called savings on 'pet projects' that actually do nothing of substance, is going to be with us for probably a long time, until someone says 'enough is enough' - but don't hold your breath, this problem may well still exist when you have become an 'Uncle Albert'.......

    :)
     
  18. Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    An engineer is someone who practices the engineering profession; a professional practitioner of engineering; someone who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems and produce goods for society.

    A technician
    An expert in a technique, as:

    One whose occupation requires training in a specific technical process: an electronics technician

    Mechanic
    A worker skilled in making, using, or repairing machines, vehicles, and tools

    What's in a name eh? In the navy I was an engineering mechanic and as a civvy I am a senior technician, all shite, I just fix things (most of the time) :oops:
     
  19. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    I think that the term "contractor" is being used as a general term for all "non-military support". Contractors come in different types, and the nature of the contract will determine whether or not they will continue their support once the stress levels increase. First off, there's the type employed directly by the equipment supplier (e.g. MessyBeast) - their actions will be likely dictated by suits at Head Office who are concerned more with keeping corporate insurance premiums low and minimising the drain on the company's pension fund than supporting the front-line customer. Secondly, there's agency staff; these will have more freedom of choice in whether or not they continue their support, but again there may be legally binding contractual obligations between the agency and contracting body which may necessitate the workers' removal from the front line.

    Its not the contractors we should be worried about, its the lack of will at the higher levels to supply a comprehensive and complete defence capability to the UK.
     
  20. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    Re: Relevant & Current Issues No.4 - Engineering Compete

    That's probably one of the best description I've seen - you been reading that dictionary again?

    The term engineer has been the subject of much discussion in the UK Engineering Institutions - many people are concerned that its widespread use to describe the roles undertaken by technicians and mechanics has resulted in many people not understanding its actual meaning. Here in Ontario, the title engineer is protected by law and, despite my being a Chartered Engineer in the UK, I'm not allowed to call myself a professional engineer. To gain recognition of my professional status here I need to undergo an appropriate period of supervised professional practice and undertake examinations on engineering ethics and the law.
     

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