22 May 2017

News Story: Australia's two new $1.5 billion warships may have design flaws, navy chiefs reveal

HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra (© Australian DoD)
David Wroe

Propulsion problems on two new warships which cost taxpayers $3 billion could be the consequence of fundamental design flaws, navy chiefs have revealed, as they confirmed at least one of the vessels will miss major drills with the US next month.

One of the two ships, the HMAS Adelaide, has been dry-docked at Garden Island in Sydney Harbour so naval engineers and the manufacturers can open up the propeller system and examine whether the problems are as simple as parts being poorly fitted or something deeper.

Chief of Navy Tim Barrett and Rear Admiral Adam Grunsell, head of maritime systems at Defence's capability and sustainment group, acknowledged there could be a design problem, though they stressed it was still being investigated.

Such a fundamental problem would raise the likelihood the ship's overseas manufacturers would bear the cost under warranty.

"Am I disappointed? Yes. We were not expecting to find this,"  Vice Admiral Barrett said in a briefing in Canberra on Friday.

What is known is that oils have seeped into sections in which they don't belong within the external propulsion pods that drive and steer the ship. In the Adelaide, metal particles have also been found in the oil.

Read the full story at Sydney Morning Herald