CASE STUDY: Maritime Activity Scheduling Tool
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To develop and maintain operational readiness, Royal Navy (RN) warships and their crews have to maintain a high level of competence across a wide range of capabilities. To meet their requirements, units apply to the RN's Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) organisation which prepares schedules for all training serials in order that units can receive the required training in a timely and efficient manner.
SCISYS delivered an innovative scheduling application to the Royal Navy's FOST to meet the need for a modern, scalable and supportable planning solution that offers high levels of performance and resilience. The solution combines open source and commercial off the shelf (COTS) components, and provides a user interface that is optimised for displaying planning data in a graphical format based on Sea Area, training unit, training resource and other perspectives. The application can run on multiple monitors to improve the Programmer's productivity.
MAST allows detailed planning to efficiently co-ordinate the activities, drills and assessments associated with operational training, where 6 – 8 ships may receive 6 – 8 weeks training in parallel. The Gantt-style planning tool provides familiar project management scheduling, with a Graphical Area Display giving a geospatial context. The sophisticated reporting tool creates a schedule of work which informs all personnel and organisations who are directly or indirectly involved with the training operations, from coastguards to suppliers. The application can run in the FOST operations room, providing the operational commanders with up-to-date scheduling information to enable rapid re-planning in the event of poor weather or unit unavailability.
In addition to the benefits achieved from the planning capabilities of MAST, the system also provides a safety-related aspect, ensuring operational training is planned to alleviate potentially dangerous situations.
SCISYS managed the end-to-end delivery of this solution, involving detailed requirements, design, development, test management and full user documentation and training. In terms of the technology utilised, MAST is a web-enabled application comprising MS SQL Server and Apache Tomcat servlet container, with the front end implemented as a Java applet.
FOST Planners manage the allocation of Sea Training Areas in the South West Approaches. Since delivery to FOST, the system has also been adopted by Northwood who has overall responsibility for water space management and training in Scotland, and the Royal Dutch Navy (Kriegsmarine). The modular nature of MAST will allow for incremental upgrades of functionality as and when required by any of these customers.