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Australian Maritime College to collaborate for naval sonar test facility in Tasmania

The Australian Maritime College (AMC), at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), signed an agreement with Thales Australia and AMOG Consulting to co-develop a facility that can utilise the deepwater lakes of northern Tasmania in order to test the next generation of Australian submarine and surface ship sonar systems.

According to the report made by UTAS, the AMC has partnered with international defence giant Thales to investigate establishing a trials and test facility for naval sonar systems in Tasmania.

UTAS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood commented that this development is significant in expanding the strong relationships with Thales and AMOG, which have contributed to a number of projects linked to the technical design of submarines and their development.

He added that this is an exciting new chapter in the Tasmanian Defence story as the proposed new facilities will bring industry, government and universities together in a strong collaborative R & D relationship to progress Australia’s unique hydrodynamic testing facilities and provide leadership in a global context.

Moreover, the University’s Defence Network was designed to foster collaborative models of working, which bring SMEs and major defence contractors together with government and the University’s defence research capability to advance the A$90 billion national shipbuilding program.

AMC Associate Professor Michael Woodward said the college had a strong reputation for partnering with industry to provide innovative research solutions in a maritime context.

He explained that 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.

He furthered that bringing both together presents a unique opportunity to develop a new and unique experimental testing capability, with the potential to attract further investment and industry collaborations to build Australia’s naval research and development capabilities.

Thales Australia CEO Mr Chris Jenkins said the initiative was part of the organisation’s commitment to work collaboratively with leading Australian SMEs and universities to deliver high-technology, leading-edge solutions for the Department of Defence.

He explained that 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.

ARC Research Training Centre for Naval Design and Manufacturing (RTCNDM) Director Jonathan Binns welcomed the opportunity to further AMC and the University of Tasmania’s strategic alliance with Thales Australia.

He explained that Thales is a founding member of the research training centre, and this new agreement will build upon the centre’s work in understanding the hydroacoustics and hydrodynamics of sonar systems, such as how noise travels through water and how water moves around an object like a submarine hull or ship’s propeller.

He added that this collaboration with Thales will allow them to undertake cutting-edge research that will ultimately feed into the design, manufacturing and sustainment of Australia’s next generation of naval vessels.

He concluded that co-investment in infrastructure, such as this, connects to University plans to grow its contribution to defence through focused investment in capabilities and scale across its network with a Defence Innovation and Design Precinct as its cornerstone.

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