Skip to comments.Navy can't rule out design faults as cause of HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide woes
Posted on 05/24/2017 6:29:22 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
PHOTO: HMAS Adelaide will no longer participate in planned Talisman Sabre exercises with the US. (ABC News: Billy Cooper)
Engineers are still trying to identify what is causing problems with the "azimuth" propulsion system on board the $1.5 billion Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide.
"It may well be a design issue," conceded Rear Admiral Adam Grunsell, the head of maritime systems in Defence's Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.
This week, HMAS Adelaide was placed into dry dock at the Garden Island naval base so the ship's propulsion pods could be removed for a thorough examination.
The diesel-electric powered propellers which sit at the stern of the LHDs are known as "azi-pods" and are mounted on steerable pods that have a 360-degree rotation.
Preliminary samples taken from the propulsion pods on board HMAS Adelaide have identified metal fragments in lubricants, while faulty engine seals on HMAS Canberra are believed to be responsible for the "migration", or leaking, of various oil types into different engine areas.
Asked whether the problems could be due to a design fault or because the ships have been operating at sea for too many days, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett said it was too early to say.
"I would not speculate on any of those outcomes, but clearly in a root cause analysis you have to consider all of those options," he said.
"Am I disappointed it happened in the first place? Yes. We were not expecting this to have happened."
The Navy has now confirmed HMAS Adelaide will no longer participate in next month's planned Talisman Sabre exercises with the United States, and says it is too early to say whether HMAS Canberra will also be able to take part.
It had been hoped both LHDs would show off the Royal Australian Navy's new amphibious capability during war games with American forces off the Queensland coast.
Both LHDs were built by Spanish company Navantia in collaboration with British defence contractor BAE Systems-Maritime, using azimuth pods from German manufacturer Siemens.
HMAS Canberra was commissioned into service in 2014, while her sister ship HMAS Adelaide was commissioned 18 months ago.
Vice Admiral Barrett said once the problems were identified all three manufacturers were immediately contacted.
"We've highlighted with the CEOs of each of those companies the significance of these ships to our capability and the need to work together to be able to solve it," he said.
He has also revealed it is not the first time the Navy has had to dock an LHD for repair work.
"We had an issue with high voltage, which again in a ship that's driven by electric engines," he said.
"Again, we at the time had the equipment manufacturer come in and there were changes we needed to make."
” ... faulty engine seals on HMAS Canberra are believed to be responsible for the “migration”, or leaking, of various oil types into different engine areas.”
Seems like the same blokes who made the factory-original seals on the engine of my 1974 Triumph Spitfire.
Musta been designed by FIAT engineers................
FIAT... that's an acronym that some people are not familiar with.
Fix It Again Tony
Too many cooks ...
I had a 75 X1/9.
Spent more time under it than I did in it..................
What the Aussies didn’t understand was it was a BOGO deal.
Buy one get one for spare parts............
I’ll say up front that I both am not an engineer, and I don’t have any defense or maritime industry experience.
Early in my career, I did, however, do some work in the hydraulics industry.
But I’m fascinated with all things mechanical and I pay attention to the state of various industries.
My take on the most likely cause of these problems...
1) Viewing engineers as interchangeable assets that can be hired/fired/moved at will rather than respecting the expertise that comes with experience. If you want to make machines that last, most of the problems were sorted out long ago. Sure, new technology may introduce new problems, but the knowledge of what solutions work and why other solutions fail seems to be lost on every generation. Part of it is the lack of good knowledge transfer, but a big part is that companies don’t value their staff so people either don’t stay or they’re fired and replaced.
2) Management by MBA. I think an MBA can be a real asset when it’s coupled with experience - especially industry experience. But too often, it’s assumed an MBA in itself turns an otherwise useless cog into a star manager. In my experience, too many MBAs have a lot of book smarts and are eager to implement the latest academically-generated buzzworks only to royally screw up an otherwise functioning company, department or product. Worse, they often seem to skate by, getting bonuses for “saving money” in the short term, then they jump ship or get promoted before the ramifications of their decisions have fully taken effect. It only takes a couple of these “wiz kidz” to leave a trail of destruction through a formerly successful company.
I’m betting if the full history of these product failures were investigated, you’d find one or both of the above. In fact, I’d guess that there were numerous warnings about these very failures potentially happening that were ignored/suppressed/overruled because they were raised by people too far down the chain to have their opinions matter.
They’re very easy to find...........in the junk yards..............
Back in ‘76, my news boss owned one as an everyday driver.
By ‘78 or ‘79, you could see through the door sills due to rust.
I lost a bunch of tools out the rust hole in the trunk driving down the road..................
...or, like me, with 24 years experience, they are laid off without even a chance to train a replacement. That was a disaster for my former company. They hired two young ladies to do my job. They both quit within a month, saying that they hadn't realized they would have to work so hard.
As for me, a major relief. I hadn't realized, until I had a chance to relax and decompress, how stressed I had been from doing the work of 2.5 people.
I did some shipyard time on a new construction once. We had a lot of trouble with one large very expensive labyrinth gas compressor. The compressors were shipped from Switzerland in a well sealed up containment. Yard engineers opened one up out of curiosity. Compressor sat there opened for a long time and was exposed to a daily bath of drifting sand blast grit. Took months of changing filters daily to get most of it all out.
As a retired engineer, I think you nailed it. I would also add that replacing experienced engineers with foreign immigrants at a lower salary may be a factor.
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