Australia develops tool to identify warships’ acoustic signatures

Illustration. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) invested several years into developing a tool which will allow the Australian Navy to model acoustic signatures for all classes of naval vessels.

The acoustic signature is essentially the noise a vessel makes, a characteristic that could be used by an adversary to identify and track it.

Named Australian Rapid Assessment Tool (AusRAT), the tool was developed by DST in partnership with Frazer-Nash Consultancy.

Defence Scientist Dr Stephen Moore has played an instrumental role in the AusRAT project. He developed its specifications after researching noise and vibration mechanisms on different naval platforms.

“The ability to predict the acoustic signature during design and construction is critical to achieving the low signature requirements of a modern naval fleet,” says Moore.

“External benchmarking has demonstrated that DST has world-class expertise in this area and identified AusRAT, in particular, as being a world-class capability.”

According to DST, AusRAT is a world first and is capable of being applied to any naval platform, including both surface ships and submarines. It aims to predict acoustic signature at the concept and preliminary design stages, when only limited information is known and fast turnaround of results is required for assessing different configurations.

AusRAT can also be used to provide updated predictions during the detailed design and build phases; and to investigate the potential impact of components not meeting their noise budget.

AusRAT will be used for the Future Submarine program (SEA1000) and the Future Frigate program (SEA5000) to predict the acoustic signature of the proposed designs to confirm they meet Australia’s requirements.

The UK Ministry of Defence has evaluated AusRAT, through a series of case studies, endorsing the capabilities and exploring opportunities to partner with Australia and DST in further development.

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