Thursday, January 17, 2013

AWD Sonar Block Arrives in Australia

New year deliveries for Air Warfare Destroyer project

The Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance has received the first major deliveries for this year of equipment to be installed on the three new destroyers being constructed at Techport Australia for the Royal Australian Navy.

The first of three sonar blocks has been received from Spanish shipbuilder and AWD platform designer Navantia. During the past week, the Alliance has also received the last of six gas turbines for the destroyers. 

AWD Alliance CEO Rod Equid said the sonar block arrived by road train from Melbourne following a six-week journey by sea from Spain.  It is a uniquely-shaped block with complex curves, which will be positioned at the front of the AWDs, under the keel.

“Sonar, or sound navigation and ranging, is a system which navigates, communicates and detects objects underwater, such as submarines,” Mr Equid said.  “This is done by transmitting sound waves and measuring how long it takes for an echo to return after hitting the foreign object.”

Navantia is constructing the sonar blocks for all three ships because of the block’s unique shape and Navantia’s prior experience in building this particular structure.  The sonar block that has arrived will be installed on Ship 1.  The remaining two sonar blocks are expected to be delivered later this year.

The complete sonar will be made up of the sonar block, as well as a sonar dome which is also a complex curved shape but made of fibreglass. The sonar dome will be installed underneath each of these blocks and will house and protect the sensitive sonar equipment.

In addition, Mr Equid said the Alliance now has the complete set of gas turbines for all three ships.  Each destroyer will have two LM2500 gas turbines configured in a Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG) arrangement with two diesel engines. They will provide power to the ship at high speeds, taking over from the propulsion diesel engine which will drive the ship at lower speeds.

The gas turbines were manufactured by General Electric in Ohio, United States.  Each turbine will have a brake horsepower of 25,000 and will be connected to the shaft line and propellers via the main reduction gearbox.  The turbines consist of a two-stage high power turbine and a six-stage low pressure turbine, and will be powered by 30 fuel nozzles and two spark igniters for high voltage ignition, as well as a 16-stage air compressor. 

The AWD project is being delivered under an Alliance structure.  The AWD Alliance is made up of the Defence Materiel Organisation as the Commonwealth representative, ASC as the shipbuilder and Raytheon Australia as the combat system systems engineer.

When complete, the AWD will be one of the most capable warships of its size in the world, featuring the Aegis weapons system. Each AWD will have anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability as well as the ability to embark a helicopter at sea.

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