Aussie navy tests Hobart torpedo launchers

Nov. 2, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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CANBERRA, Australia, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Australia successfully test-fired the torpedo launcher system for the second of the three Hobart Class Air Warfare destroyers under construction.

Australian Minister for Defense Materiel Jason Clare announced the completed AWD test for the torpedo system destined for second Hobart class destroyer, the HMAS Brisbane, when it comes into service in 2017.

The test at the Techport Australia facility in Adelaide involved firing an MU-90 practice delivery torpedo from an MK32 Mod 9 Surface Vessel torpedo tube, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The system consists of a launcher, an air charging panel and a torpedo loading tray.

"All three destroyers will have MK32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers installed in the port and starboard magazine compartments of the ship," Clare said.

"The launch system will be capable of deploying lightweight torpedoes against enemy submarines."

The consortium AWD Alliance, which is constructing the three Hobart class vessels, took delivery of one set of torpedo launchers from the manufacturer Babcock and which will be installed on the first destroyer to be built, the HMAS Hobart.

Factory acceptance testing of the first torpedo system, for the Hobart, was completed in June, the Defense Ministry statement said.

The AWD Alliance is made up of the Defense Materiel Organization, Australian shipbuilder ASC and Raytheon Australia, with the main combat system being supplied by Aegis.

After some construction problems, the Ministry of Defense recently announced that delivery is expected to be about a year and nine months behind schedule.

The Defense Ministry now hopes to commission the Hobart in March 2016, the Brisbane in September 2017 and the HMAS Sydney in March 2019, a report by ABC News said in September.

When the $8 billion air warfare destroyer contract was signed in October 2007, the ships were to be delivered between late 2014 and mid 2017.

Design of the 6,250-ton vessels is by Navantia in Spain and the keel for the Hobart was laid last month, the ABC report said.

Each ship, 483-feet-long, is being assembled at ASC's facility in Osborne, South Australia from 31 pre-fabricated modules -- called blocks -- built at ASC and other contractors.

Range of the ships is estimated to be around 5,800 miles and power will be from a combination of two General Electric gas turbine marine engines and two Caterpillar Bravo 16 V diesel engines.

Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith was quick to reassure critics and the military community that Australia's naval capabilities won't be compromised by recent budget cuts and construction delays.

"There will be no capability gap," Smith said.

"The three air warfare destroyers will replace our current Adelaide frigates (recently) upgraded both in terms of radar and combat systems.

"When these (Hobart class ships) come on stream, they'll be the most effective air warfare destroyers that the Australian navy has ever had," ABC quoted Smith as saying.

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