Australian survey motor launches to receive new navigation sonars

Survey motor launch HMAS Mermaid at sea. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

U.S. sonar system company FarSounder has been awarded a contract to upgrade Royal Australian Navy’s four Paluma class hydrographic survey motor launches with FarSounder-1000 navigation sonars.

According to FarSounder, BAE Systems is the prime contractor while Seismic Asia Pacific of Salisbury, Australia will be responsible for the purchase of the equipment and assist with the systems integration.

The 360 metric ton survey motor launches, HMA Ships Paluma (IV), Mermaid, Shepparton (II) and Benalla (II), were designed for operations in the shallow waters of northern Australia. Each survey motor launch carries survey and computerized hydrographic data processing equipment and is fitted with the navigation aids.

“The FarSounder team is proud to be a part of this upgrade program for the RAN fleet,” Matthew Zimmerman, vice president of engineering at FarSounder, stated. “We appreciate our inclusion and that our products are recognized for the benefit they bring to this class of vessels.”

The 36 meter long catamarans have a range of 3,600 nautical miles reaching speeds of 11 knots. They are crewed by 15 sailors. The four vessels are homeported at HMAS Cairns in Cairns, Queensland and usually operate in pairs when conducting missions.

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