Babcock tests AWD torpedo launcher

Testing of the assembled Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers for the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers is underway at Babcock’s Techport Australia premises, representing an important phase in the project.

The contract, awarded to Babcock Pty Ltd by Raytheon Australia in late 2008 on behalf of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance, involves the adaptation of the system concept originally designed for the US Navy, with some elements of new design, assembly and test of a weapons launching system for use with the MU90 torpedoes for the AWD.

Babcock’s international reach-back has been instrumental in facilitating supply, both in working with US government organisations to secure a licence in accordance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and through its links with industry in the US and UK to source some specialist key components from proven suppliers.  Babcock’s local presence has seen some 80% of the work undertaken in Australia (a significant increase on the contracted 63% to be completed locally), including using its local supply chain for the manufacture, and undertaking testing at its Techport facility.  All in-service support can be undertaken locally.

Two Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launcher assemblies will be mounted in magazine compartments, port and starboard, on each of the three Hobart class AWDs.  The system is made up of three main components; a launcher, an air charging panel and a torpedo loading tray.  The air charging panel and loading tray have been designed by Babcock to meet the requirements of the AWD Alliance.

The ability of the Mk32 Mod9 torpedo launchers to fire a MU90 lightweight torpedo is now being proven in the current test phase, which is being carried out using a custom designed land-based test rig and measuring equipment and safe work procedures.  Factory Acceptance Tests will follow soon afterwards.

“We have made strong progress on the launcher contract, and commencement of testing is a key milestone in this,” Babcock director Pat Donovan said.  “As an Australian company our locally based and focused team, coupled with our international reach-back capability, has been key to the delivery of this project.”

Source: Babcock International
Date: Feb 1, 2012