VIDEO: FSU Australia Changed and Continues to Transform

FSU Australia Changed and Continues to Transform

The new General Manager of Fleet Support Unit (FSU) Australia, Jason Aquilina, has a clear message to deliver to sailors – FSU Australia is different to what it was eight months ago and it will continue to transform.

“We are now a national organisation focussed on applying our trade skills to become a maintenance and repair service provider-of-choice,” Mr Aquilina said.

He was appointed GM FSU Australia in March after an extensive recruiting campaign and brings experience in the operation of a civilian engineering services business.

In his 23-year career with Qantas Airways, he rose from aircraft mechanical engineer to be appointed one of Qantas’ youngest executives in 2000.

Mr Aquilina said he was keen to apply the ‘Lean Six Sigma’ business improvement methodology to transform and sustain high levels of service performance at FSU Australia.

Lean Six Sigma

GM FSU Jason Aquilina explains the principle of lean six sigma:

FSU must have a common platform of understanding of what the term ‘lean six sigma’ embodies to deliver consistent business outcomes.

The lean philosophy has evolved from the Toyota Production system and academic research at MIT and is simply a systematic approach to removing the various forms of waste.

In FSU, the standard definition which needs to been adopted is as follows: Lean production is based on the relentless elimination of waste to reduce costs, shorten lead times and improve quality for the purpose of increasing customer satisfaction.

“I’m looking forward to taking this business to a place it hasn’t been before,” he said.

“What I want to do with the FSU team is focus on understanding our customers’ needs, applying techniques and learning from our suppliers to help identify what our inputs, processes and outputs need to be to become more efficient in maintaining, overhauling and repairing our ships,” he said.

“If we can identify and eliminate the processes that don’t add value, we can demonstrate that FSU should be the preferred supplier of services, not just an option.”

He said one of the keys to FSU delivering high quality services was to directly apply sailors’ trades and training to outcomes.

“That will provide sailors with enhanced competency so that when they’re out at sea, they can better understand the issues and have the capability and experience to undertake the task at hand,” Mr Aquilina said.

“It’s about creating an organisation that provides end-to-end maintenance capabilities in order to deliver seaworthy materiel to ships and submarines throughout their whole life.”

About nine months ago, FSU had more than 1200 sailors in about 550 defined positions.

The FSU Continuous Improvement Project, which resulted in the raising of the Personnel Support Unit (PSU) and the reinvigoration of the Skills Development Centre (SDC) at HMAS Cerberus as well as the establishment of the Competency Management Agency, has significantly eased this overbearing.

FSU Australia Assistant General Manager CAPT Gavin Irwin said the raising of those agencies and the Navy Reform Board’s vision for the FSU provided solutions to many of the issues the organisation was attempting to manage.

“FSU was the first posting for a large proportion of sailors emerging from Category training at Cerberus as training bunks at sea were limited,” CAPT Irwin said.
“Because there was a limited scope of work in which these sailors could be employed, based on their level of competence, the focus of the FSU shifted to competency training rather than providing maintenance, overhaul and repair services.”

He said there was confusion as to whether FSU was “a training agency, a maintenance service provider, or something in between but CN has made it quite clear that we are to become a high-performing maintenance and overhaul service provider”.

 “The relaunch of NGN provides a driver for us to significantly alter our culture to continue the improvements we have seen so far,” CAPT Irwin said.

He said drawing experience from the commercial sector through the engagement of the GM and further involvement with industry partners would benefit FSU.

 “We can now add the business intelligence and the hard lessons the commercial world has learned over the years and apply that to what we do in the FSU,” he said.

Mr Aquilina said that, while there would inevitably be contractors providing maintenance and overhaul services, the imminent delivery of the LHD and AWD offered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transition some of the traditional areas of contracted support to FSU.

“Our challenge is to improve our performance and prove to our customers, our Systems Program Offices, that such a transition is not only feasible, but desirable,” Mr Aquilina said.

“Most importantly we have to generate outputs through our actions and not just words. We need to put big runs on the board.

“We have sailors who are keen to do the work, so investment in these people with the right skills and training to produce a willing and able workforce will result in Navy being able to reduce its maintenance costs at the same time as proceeding to sea with seaworthy ships and submarines.”

For an insight into everyday operation and role of FSU check out the following video:

Naval Today Staff, April 10, 2013; Image: Royal Australian Navy

Share this article

Follow Naval Today


<< May 2016 >>
25 26 27 28 29 30 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5


Euronaval 2016 in Paris, is one of the leading international trade shows for maritime security, safety and naval defense…

read more >

7th Annual International Port Security Conference

The SMi Group announces the 7th annual International Port Security Conference. The event will be held in London on the 1st and 2nd of June 2016.

The conference aims to bring together key decision makers in the industry to discuss modern methods of port security and provide effective learning experiences for all delegates through the carefully selected expert speaker line up.

Interacting with delegates from across the globe and hearing from industry leading experts will ensure delegates are up-to-date with high priority information that enables you to best secure your seaports, civilians and means of trade.

Topics to be discussed include terrorism, cyber terrorism, emergency intervention procedures, optimising technology use in security checks and case studies featuring some of the largest ports across the world. Our diverse range of topics will allow delegates to learn best practices for port security and understand further how other ports are resolving core challenges.

More info

read more >

Offshore Patrol Vessels Technology 2016

Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) are becoming an increasingly important resource for Navies and Coast Guards around the world. As shipbuilding technologies continue to advance the mission scope for a single OPV platform greatly increases. Policing missions such as Counter-Piracy and Counter-Terrorism operations can be supplemented now by survey and Mine Countermeasure operations simply by swapping equipment on board the ship. This is all done with a greatly reduced cost compared to mission-specific platforms or full scale warships which have greater maintenance and operations costs compared to flexible OPVs.

Therefore SMi is proud to announce that it will be launching its inaugural OPV Technology event which will focus on the new potential for OPVs within this proliferation in combat and combat support technology capabilities. The event will be held in London on the 8th-9th June to discuss how individual nations are working to enhance the capabilities of their coastal fleets as well as the prospect for future cooperation and interoperability.

Expert speaker line up for 2016 includes key decision makers from: US Africa Command, UK Border Force, French Navy, NATO, Italian Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, Finnish Border Guard, TNO, Damen Shipyards, C-SIGMA, IISS and many more.


Benefits of Attending:

  • Extremely focused on new technologies available to OPV using nations across Europe and beyond
  • Expert led panel discussions on international cooperation in operations and the future prospect for modular technologies
  • Briefings from leading Navy and Coast Guard officers from around the world
  • Learn about current and future national OPV platforms and how they enhance maritime security
  • Discover how to optimise business potential by working with these countries


For more information and to register, please visit

read more >

MAST Europe 2016

Long established as the only international conference and exhibition dedicated to senior-level technologists in maritime defence and security…

read more >