Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR March 2017 Contents 26 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAR 2017
Australia, these included the newly delivered RAAF
Boeing P-8A Poseidon, Lockheed AP-3C Orions and
civilian operated Learjets. APDR understands that
RAAF Hawks were the fast jets involved.
According to the AIPSUP, the Learjets will conduct
“runs associated with military ship activities within
the Gulf of St Vincent at FL200 (Ed: 20,000 feet).
Run lengths vary between 50 and 25 nautical miles.
Aircraft will have limited ability to alter track and level”
which suggests that they are likely to be acting as
simulated attacking missiles as part of the trials
The completion of Sea Acceptance Trials is one
of the final steps towards delivery of the first AWD to
Defence, providing the Royal Australian Navy with a
capability it has never before possessed and one of the
most advanced and lethal warships it has ever operated.
BRISBANE IN THE WATER
The second ship, NUSHIP Brisbane, is 85% complete
as at October 2016, and was officially launched and
named on December 16. AWD Alliance General
Manager Lloyd Beckett said that the launch of
Brisbane was further demonstration of significant
progress on the Air Warfare Destroyer project and a
great opportunity to celebrate the work of Australia’s
shipbuilders and system integrators,
Beckett also added that the launch is the culmination
of more than a decade of work and dedication by
thousands of Australians and other members of the
AWD Alliance to deliver Australia’s most complex next
generation defence project.
More than 75% of the Brisbane’s combat system
equipment has been loaded on board prior to launch,
which is well beyond the level of load-out achieved on
the Hobart prior to its launch. This includes the loading
out of the Command Information Centre, Combat
System Equipment Rooms, Direct Support Element
Operations, and Communication spaces in addition to
the successful installation of the last of the ship’s four
AN/SPY-1D(V) Phased Array Radars.
The team managed to halve the amount of time
taken to load-out the final AN/SPY-1D(V) compared
to the first installation on the Hobart, taking less than
six hours to install the system in August. In contrast,
the first SPY Array installation on Ship 1, some 18
month ago, took 12 hours, a notable reduction in time
taken and another example of the lessons learned
from building the Hobart being applied resulting in
improvements in the progress of the follow-on ships.
Shore power through the ship’s switchboard was
recently achieved, in which power was applied to the
ship for the first time to both for ward and aft main
switchboards. Brisbane’s Main Cable Pull was also
achieved in October.
SYDNEY MORE THAN HALF-
The third AWD, Sydney, is now two thirds complete
with the consolidation of the hull blocks well under way
after the final three hull blocks were delivered to
Techport in early June. The blocks come from three
different places; Forgacs in New South Wales,
BAE Systems in Victoria and Navantia in Spain with
the blocks from Forgacs and BAE Systems being
transported to the shipyard by barge.
The Block Transport Team is involved in all aspects
of the process, from the loading of the blocks on the
barge interstate to the arrival and roll-off in the shipyard
in SA. The hull block is welded to the barge to ensure
stability and safe travel upon loading. Upon arrival
at the AWD Alliance yard, the block is un-welded
and jacked up to a height of 1.5m through a jacking
process, that can take up to six hours.
The block, which can weigh up to 200 tons, is then
received by the Self-Propelled Modular Transporters
(SPMTs), where engineers ensure it is ready to be
moved before the block is transported off the barge
and onto the wharf. Completion of hull consolidation
of the Sydney is expected in August 2017.
Both Brisbane and Sydney are benefitting from the
lessons being applied from Hobart, with significant
efficiency gains being measured from the first ship to
the second and third ships.
LEADING TO SEA 5000?
The Navantia F105 hull that forms the basis of the
AWD has also been shortlisted for the Competitive
Evaluation Process (CEP) to select Australia’s Future
Frigate that will also be built at Adelaide from 2020,
with the CEP to deliver a winning design in 2018.
As APDR has reported before, Navantia had
conducted intensive engineering studies to confirm
that the F105 hull is suitable for the requirements of
SEA 5000 with modifications, which included the
incorporation of CEA’s active phased-array radars and
the Saab 9LV combat management system, and the
capability to house two embarked helicopters.
The extensive work already done on the AWD
program and the familiarity of the F100 design could
be seen as giving it an edge in SEA 5000, possibly
entailing less risk and providing an easier transition for
the shipyard from the AWDs to the Future Frigate if the
hulls have a high degree of commonality.
It would also not be out of the question to scale up
both the CEA radars and 9LV to provide the Future
Frigate with an area defence capability, in conjunction
with Aegis and a missile like the SM-2 missile, which
have already been selected for use in the AWDs.
While it is true that the greatest risk to any major
Defence acquisition project comes from the software
integration aspect, the experience of the AWD shows
that there is still risk involved in something seemingly
a lot more straightfor ward like the construction of
the hull blocks. And given this is one of the earliest
construction phases any slippage here tends to have
significant downstream consequences.
With “first of class” issues being blamed to a large
degree for the delays and cost overruns that afflicted
the Hobart, the mitigation of these issues with the
selection of a familiar design would seem to warrant
serious consideration for SEA 5000.
NUSHIP Hobart conducts sea trials in the Gulf St Vincent off the coast of Adelaide South Australia.
Credit: CoA / Craig Barrett
24/02/2017 2:46 PM
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