WARMINSTER – HOME OF A UNIQUE MILITARY-CIVILIAN RELATIONSHIP
By Julian Nettlefold
In the third of our Series, BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold visited DSG Warminster to find about a unique and new military-civilian relationship.
DSG has a number of workshops strategically located to support military garrisons. As part of its support solutions and to meet increasing customer demand, DSG extends its geographic coverage by providing mobile and in-barracks equipment support. The in-barracks element is delivered by supplementing service tradesmen based in military facilities with skilled DSG staff.
This arrangement allows military resources to concentrate on operational commitments and training, whilst ensuring equipment is always readily maintained. Experienced teams of individuals from DSG are also available to provide on-the-job training. Benefits include the integration of scheduling and lean manufacture techniques into the repair process, continuous improvement practices, quality control, safety and environmental management.
DSG recognises the need to repair equipment in locations most suited to its customers, thereby saving valuable equipment downtime and manpower.
The mobile support element is provided through a responsive network of mobile support teams operating from various DSG sites. Typical on-site services include inspection, servicing, weapon repair, electrical testing and repair of winches, vehicles, plant and machinery.
In 2009, DSG established a front line repair depot manned by DSG personnel at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan to provide forward repair to in-theatre vehicles.
DSG Warminster sits in 200 acres on the edge of the British Army’s Salisbury Plain training area in a site which it shares with the Army’s Land Training Fleet (Warminster) (LTF(W)). As a child, living in Wiltshire, the Editor can remember driving past the barracks at Larkhill, Tidworth, Bulford and Warminster seeing rows and rows of parked military vehicles, no doubt to prove to the prying Russian satellites that the British Army was armed and ready in force to defeat any incurring through the North German Plain. However, all this has changed under the impact of the Defence programme of Whole Fleet Management, which has significantly reduced the number of vehicles sitting idle by placing them in sophisticated controlled humidity environment storage. Units needing their full complement of vehicles then collect them from support units which maintain fleets at high standards of readiness.
Formed in January 2009 LTF(W) is one such support unit. Its mission is to ensure that platforms, vehicles and associated equipment designated by HQ Land Forces are presented to the correct standard and configuration in order to support training. The fleet comprises both core equipment such as Scimitar and Landrover with BOWMAN communications fits and the urgent operational requirement (UOR) vehicles employed in Afghanistan such as Jackal, Mastiff, Ridgeback and Springer. The rigorous training regime for troops deploying to Afghanistan takes place during the six months prior to the roulement and LTF(W), supported by DSG Warminster, is responsible for providing the UOR vehicles needed for this training.
Although only recently formed LTF(W) is now a very high profile training support unit and its operation is critical to Army training. Its commanding officer, Lt Col Russell, told BATTLESPACE, “having my vehicles at very high standards of maintenance is vital to success and the wholehearted support of DSG Warminster is critical to the achievement of my mission. I have been extremely impressed by the commitment and professionalism shown by DSG’s Warminster workforce and I hold them in high regard. We have established an excellent working relationship and LTF(W) looks forward to developing this unique relationship over the years ahead.”
WO2 Rick Bourne, AQMS of the LTF(W), emphasised to BATTLESPACE the importance of mainten