Babcock achieves Air Warfare Destroyer torpedo launcher milestone

Babcock has successfully completed factory acceptance testing of the first assembled set of Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers for the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD) at its Techport Australia premises.  The pre-factory acceptance test functional configuration audit, and factory acceptance test (FAT), represent two of the most significant project milestones for ship set one and the launcher programme.

Babcock has adapted the Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launcher system concept, originally designed for the US Navy, under a contract awarded to Babcock Pty Ltd by Raytheon Australia in late 2008 on behalf of the AWD Alliance.  Obsolescence posed a significant technical challenge, and in addressing this Babcock has modernised the assembly to accommodate the launch of the MU90 lightweight torpedoes and meet the capability standard set by the AWD programme.

The latest testing has now proven the Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launcher assemblies’ ability to fire a MU90 lightweight torpedo.  This incorporated a custom designed land-based test rig and measuring equipment utilising safe work procedures.

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 has also been designed, built and tested by Babcock, and the loading tray preliminary design is complete, with production drawings finalised in readiness for the customer design review.

Babcock Director Pat Donovan said: “Proving the equipment is a key milestone in the programme and a further illustration of the strong progress we’ve made on the launcher contract.  As an Australian company, our locally based and skilled team, coupled with our international reach-back capability, has been key to the delivery of this project.”

Babcock has worked with US government organisations to secure a licence in accordance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and drawn on 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.

Source: Babcock International
Date: Jul 11, 2012