Kerry Kerry

Five minutes with... Kerry Parfitt, Head of Maritime Support & Services

Here at SEA, we have an experienced team that is dedicated to supporting and maintaining pre-existing and SEA-owned defence technology and equipment to navies across the globe.

In recent years, SEA has secured contracts with the Royal Navy to upgrade torpedo launcher systems, countermeasures systems and sonar equipment that keep in-service vessels operational, including the Type 23 frigates and a number of other platforms.

Elements of this work are carried out by our Maritime Support & Services team, formed of experienced and highly skilled technical experts, many of whom have previously served in the armed forces. The team is led by Kerry Parfitt who we spent five minutes with to find out some more about the critical services they are providing to the UK Ministry of Defence and navies around the world.

Kerry, can you tell us about your time at SEA?

I’ve been at SEA for 26 years now – where has the time gone?!

Throughout my career at SEA, I’ve been based in Barnstaple in a product and capability support capacity. The people have always been incredible, but it’s been amazing to see SEA grow and evolve as a business. The focus has always been on finding technical solutions to our customers’ challenges and, often, these challenges are complex.

These demands have led us to our current position, providing leading ship & fleet protection, anti-submarine warfare and maritime communications systems to navies worldwide. Maintaining these systems and keeping them ready for operation on an ongoing basis is, of course, equally important and this is where our team comes in, providing support that underpins SEA’s wider maritime capabilities.

Can you tell us exactly how the team supports your customers and their variety of technology?

We work closely with customers to ensure in-service equipment is operational, safe, and secure for continued use. With an in-depth understanding of the equipment and operational environments, we provide technical advice and solutions needed to meet any emerging demands, which forms a crucial part of many of our large contracts with navies.

Critical security, safety, and environmental aspects of our equipment in service are other significant elements of the overarching support contracts that sit within our team. We ensure these are controlled and kept in line with current legislation, which is imperative to the maritime capability.

Could you tell us a bit more about the team?

Our team is what I love talking about the most!  Every day, I’m proud to work with talented colleagues, many of whom previously served in the armed forces. This means that our team not only understands technologies but, crucially, has a sense of how they support effective operations. This insight guides our work to ensure we are always thinking about the end user first.

SEA was recently recognised for its commitment to ex-service personnel by the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme with the Gold Award – the highest possible badge of honour. Leading the Maritime Support and Services team, this made me particularly proud. I see exactly what these talented individuals give a business like ours and, in turn, how a business committed to supporting ex-service personnel can help them transition into the next stage of their careers and lives.

I’m proud of SEA’s commitment and am thankful that these talented individuals are my colleagues!

What benefits does your team provide for customers?

A key role of our team is highlighting potential barriers to the functionality of the equipment we support. With the lifecycle of military platforms extending, the systems’ we support are now in-service for much longer than their original design intent, meaning obsolescence management is a key need for our customers. As a result, we offer a proactive technology refresh to maintain knowledge and understanding of our systems and remove the risk of obsolescence.

A technology refresh can extend the life of equipment and provide a cost-effective interim solution if a platform is operational beyond its life expectancy. When components of a system become obsolete, the refresh will update the unsupportable aspect of the technology and keep it in operation.

It gives our team pride that their work is crucial in making equipment go further, for longer. The current defence landscape and economic realities mean that forces are being asked to produce more, for less, and our team play their part in achieving this.

Are there other areas where your team supports defence organisations?

Contracting for Availability is a process where companies like ours partner with defence organisations such as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to ensure that systems and capabilities are maintained at an agreed level of readiness.

This means the MOD and other authorities aren't required to manage the ongoing maintenance of their fleets. The number of days that ships are at sea increases and there is no delay to implementing solutions because an availability contract provides autonomy to the contractors.

Ensuring the availability of equipment is a crucial aspect of the Royal Navy’s operational effectiveness and our in-service support team has a history of working closely with the Navy to support its systems.

If you’d like to learn more about SEA’s Maritime Support and Services team, please click here.