FRENCH defence giant Thales and the Australian Maritime College have agreed to investigate establishing a naval sonar systems test facility in Tasmania.
Thales Australia, AMC and AMOG Consulting this week signed an agreement to co-develop a facility to use northern Tasmania’s deep lakes to test next generation Australian submarine and surface ship sonar systems.
Thales Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins said the initiative was part of a commitment to work with leading Australian small and medium-sized enterprises.
“Historically, Thales has worked with AMC and AMOG Consulting on a number of sonar trials activities, and with the Australian Government’s historic recapitalisation of the Royal Australian Navy, now is the time to investigate establishing a permanent facility,” he said.
“From 1990 to 2000 Thales and AMC tested and calibrated the in-service array for Australia’s Collins Class submarines in Tasmania’s deep mountain lakes as they provide an ideal environment for sonar systems.”
ARC Research Training Centre for Naval Design and Manufacturing director Jonathan Binns welcomed the opportunity to further a strategic alliance with Thales Australia.
“Thales is a founding member of the research training centre and this new agreement will build upon our work in understanding the hydro-acoustics and hydrodynamics of sonar systems – how noise travels through water and how water moves around an object such as a submarine hull or ship’s propeller,” Associate Professor Binns said.
“This collaboration with Thales will allow us to undertake cutting-edge research that will ultimately feed into the design, manufacturing and sustainment of Australia’s next generation of naval vessels.”
AMC Associate Professor Michael Woodward said the college had a strong reputation for partnering with industry.
“AMC has a critical mass of technical expertise and physical research facilities in hydrodynamic experimentation, while Tasmania is blessed with deep and isolated lakes that are ideally suited for a scale of testing that is yet to be explored globally,” Associate Professor Woodward said.
University of Tasmania Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Brigid Heywood spoke of the significance of this development in expanding the strong relationships with Thales and AMOG.
“The proposed new facilities will bring industry, government and universities together in a strong collaborative R & D relationship to advance Australia’s unique hydrodynamic testing facilities and provide leadership in a global context,” Professor Heywood said.