Purpose - To examine the responsibilities associated with the maintenance and repair of Royal Navy warships. Design/methodology/approach - Outlines the particular problems associated with managing warship repair or refit, suggesting actions that could facilitate quicker and less costly refits that would involve placing more responsibility on the refit contractor, novating contracts to upgrade weapon systems to the contractor, making the contractor responsible for the whole warship during refit, and ensuring that quotations for variations are fair and reasonable. Explains how design decisions have maintenance implications, the implications of applying reliability-centred maintenance, the principles of non-intrusive diagnostics, the application of prognostics in predicting the future state of a ship's equipment, repairs and maintenance that are better undertaken either afloat or in dry dock, and the benefits and practicalities of maintenance and repairs at sea. Originality/value - Examines the complications of maintaining an operational warship force.
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