BAE Systems has signed an updated integration services agreement with the Royal Navy to provide essential mission system support to Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.

The agreement is part of the Naval Combat Systems Integration Support Services (NCSISS) contract awarded in March 2012, and will allow BAE Systems to ensure the operational readiness of both aircraft carriers.

In October 2016, BAE Systems signed a ten-and-a-half-year contract extension to provide combat systems integration services to the Royal Navy’s in-service and future platforms.

BAE Systems Naval Ships Combat Systems director Richard Williams said: “Working in collaboration with QinetiQ and DE&S we have ensured the UK’s surface fleet is at peak operational performance and are pleased to extend that support to the nation’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales.”

The QEC mission systems consist of 62 individual sub-systems. They play a key role in the delivery of aircraft carrier operations and enable crews to tackle threats, plan joint, air and maritime operations, and manage aircraft movements.

"BAE Systems’ role in supporting the Combat System Enterprise through NCSISS will enable agile operational support to this new class of warship for her current equipment."

Pursuant to the new agreement, dubbed NCSISS phase 2.2, engineers based at BAE Systems’ Maritime Integration Support Centre (MISC) in Portsmouth will provide support services.

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The MISC support facility provides the Royal Navy aircraft carriers with shore integration services and support for their deployments.

Established in 2004, the MISC has supported the QEC project for the past decade by providing combat system equipment found on the naval warships with onshore integration services worldwide. It will now be used to research and develop new technologies for BAE Systems’ INTeGEN combat system solutions programme, following a £10m upgrade.

DE&S Maritime Combat Systems head Jo Osburn said: “Extending the NCSISS arrangement to include the QEC aircraft carriers has provided a facility to test and assure new capabilities ahead of installation into the platform.

“BAE Systems’ role in supporting the Combat System Enterprise through NCSISS will enable agile operational support to this new class of warship for her current equipment as well as de-risking the addition of the new systems and equipment planned in the near to medium term.”

Back in June 2018, BAE partnered with Thales and IT consultancy CGI to deliver electronic warfare command and control capabilities to the Royal Navy, in an effort to improve fleet safety.