Thales trials sovereign minesweeping capability

Defence contractor Thales Australia has successfully trialled a sovereign enhanced, designed, developed and manufactured minesweeping capability.

The French-owned company trialled modifications to its Combined Influence Sweep (CIS) minesweeping system (main picture, and below) which was designed and manufactured in conjunction with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group.

The CIS, successfully in operation for over 20 years here and overseas, was put through a ‘thorough engineering design cycle’ to improve the towing stability of the system’s Infrasonic Advance Acoustic Generator (IAAG) in more extreme towing and sea conditions.

The IAAG, when towed through the water in-conjunction with multiple Maxi Dyads (large metallic cylinders that produce strong magnetic fields), can produce low frequency sounds that are similar to large ship propellers.

Thales’ minesweeping team, based at Rydalmere, New South Wales and led by the project design authority Adam Bolton, began with small scale, 3d printed models of the existing IAAG and proposed alternative designs.

These models were towed underneath a kayak and filmed with underwater cameras to support the team’s understanding of the issues.

The team then engaged an Australian company AMOG, which specialises in maritime dynamic numerical simulation who in turn engaged a local university to carry out flow tank testing of different 3d IAAG models to obtain the system’s hydrodynamic coefficients.

AMOG then created a digital model of the full Maxi Dyad sweep (with the IAAG) and validated the model against previous tow trial data.

This culminated in the design of a modification kit for the IAAG which included new shrouds and adjusting ballast.

To complete the validation process, a full-scale engineering prototype was then built and a sea trial inside Sydney Harbour and outside in open ocean was carried out.

Thales said: “Overall the trial was successful in confirming the modification kit applied to the IAAG, has enhanced the hydrodynamic performance of the IAAG.

“This will result in enhanced capabilities for our customers in keeping their sea lanes safe.”

The modifications are a response to the advent of modern digital mines designed with a very low target strength, making them increasingly difficult to detect.

Picture: DEWC Systems

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