The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, has been recovered about two hours into its first mission since returning to the search area so a communications problem could be investigated.
During the recovery, Bluefin-21 was damaged but was able to be repaired expeditiously with spare parts on board the ADV Ocean Shield.
Examination of the communications problem has established that a hardware defect exists in the transponder mounted on the Ocean Shield and that a defect may also exist in the transponder mounted on the Bluefin-21. This inhibits the ability of the two devices to communicate with each other.
As a consequence, spare parts for both defects will be dispatched from the United Kingdom. The parts are expected to arrive in Western Australia on Sunday.
Ocean Shield is currently en route to Dampier, Western Australia, to receive the transponder parts. The journey is anticipated to take a number of days. At this stage, Ocean Shield is expected go alongside so engineers can make a full assessment of the transponder repairs.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre will provide further information regarding the serviceability of Bluefin-21 and the movements of Ocean Shield as it becomes available.
Press Release, May 15, 2014; Image: Australian Navy