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Churchill Medal Winner 2018/19

The annual Churchill Medal Award was held on Wednesday 30 October at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s flagship home; IET London: Savoy Place.

The Churchill Medal Award (CMA) is the most prestigious award for engineering and innovation in the armed forces and MOD. Awarded every year on behalf of the Joint Professional Engineering Institutions the CMA is an eagerly anticipated event for those in both MOD and Industry.

This year’s event was once again sponsored by BAE Systems and was the biggest CMA yet. Over 150 people attended the dinner and award ceremony to see which of the 9 finalists would walk away with the award.

The 2018/19 Churchill Medal Award was won by the Forward Mechanical Section of HMS ASTUTE.

The Fwd Mechanical Section won the award for their relentless efforts to resolve significant failings in the submarine’s External Hydraulic System (EHS).  Seawater contamination quickly leads to component degradation and significantly reduces the availability and operational capability of the submarine.

The Fwd Mechanical Section developed a suite of 20 tests, on several occasions undertaken in near-continuous work for 72hrs, to identify and isolate the source of the ingress.  In addition to testing, the team developed a novel at-sea flushing procedure which allowed the EHS to be recovered without the submarine returning to port.  The team went on to identify numerous design flaws and suggest Minor Trials which have been implemented across the flotilla.

Recognising limitation of reserve hydraulic oil, the team implemented a stringent programme of recovering, testing, and filtering are oil leaks prior to returning to the reserve.  1000 litres of hydraulic oil in drums was procured to supplement the reserve, providing storage for contaminated oil without compromising the submarine’s bilge capacity and therefore operational capability.

Ensuring operability and availability of essential cross-departmental services, these improvements to the EHS have proven to be the greatest enabling repair of recent years.  The impact on the programme across the class has been profound; allowing the flotilla to operate with renewed confidence and vigour.   

The award was presented to HMS ASTUTE by VIP Guest Vice Admiral Sir Simon Lister of BAE Systems at the end of a brilliant evening.

The Churchill Medal is awarded jointly by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE) and the British Computer Society (BCS).

We thank all those who attended the ceremony, the evening was a huge success and we are delighted and honoured to have hosted this prestigious award ceremony and dinner. We send our sincere congratulations to all of this year's finalists on behalf of the Professional Engineering Institutions (PEIs).