The purchase of larger Boeing P-8A aircraft to replace the fleet of Orions resulted in the need to transfer the Future Air Surveillance Capacity (FASC) programme to Ohakea due to the additional length and the bi-directional nature of the runway at Ohakea. NZDF commissioned us to provide business case, feasibility and master site planning services to ensure the successful establishment of additional infrastructure required to accommodate the aircraft and associated activities. The required infrastructure included:
- Double Hangar and offices
- Warehouse and parts store
- Tactical Operations Centre (TOC)
- Mobile Tactical Operations Centre (MTOC)
- Training and Simulator Building
- Aircraft Ground Support Building
NZDF had procured the last four planes out of the Boeing production plant and so there was no opportunity to delay their arrival. This drove a secondary issue: with only one squadron of air surveillance aircraft, the ability to run a mixed fleet of P3s and P-8As was not viable. A highly structured and defined infrastructure development programme was critical in ensuring the operational capability for maritime surveillance was maintained throughout the transition from the P3 to the P-8A.
Several reports were completed relating to option development, asset compliance, condition assessments and project risk identification. Consultation between US Navy representatives and the Future Air Surveillance Capability Integrated Project Team was essential because several of the new buildings were based on designs provided by the US Navy. These designs were incompatible with NZDF user requirements and required redesign. We facilitated multimodal workshops to develop a concept design consistent with NZDF standards for master planning confirmation and pricing review.
After careful evaluation, we determined that the previous estimate of costs associated with the additional infrastructure was likely to be too low and more funding was required. Further to this the concept design report emphasised elements that needed to be started earlier than NZDF had previously anticipated in order for the construction works to be completed to the fixed deadline of delivery of the aircraft.
For example, we identified that the Training and Simulator Building would need to be built early so that the simulator (built overseas and shipped to New Zealand) could be installed and pilot training could commence (on the simulator) before the aircraft arrived.
Summary Gantt charts were utilised to clearly communicate progress for design, procurement, construction, consent and approval phases.