Australian Hobart destroyer revs main engine for first time

Australian Shipbuilding Corporation (ASC) and the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Alliance marked a major milestone in the construction of the Hobart-class destroyers when one of the main engines that will drive the propellers of NUSHIP Hobart was started.

The large 5650kW Bravo V16 Propulsion Diesel engine burst into life on April 14, in an engine room below the main superstructure of the ship.

It will drive the port-side propeller while the other propulsion diesel engines, to be started in coming weeks, will drive the starboard prop. They will provide the propulsion power for Hobart to travel at low speeds, while higher speeds will be achieved by two gas turbines, which are yet to be commissioned on the ship.

Platform Test and Activation Manager Mike Clements said the successful commencement of Main Engine Light-Off (MELO) was a testament to the work completed by hundreds of AWD personnel across the shipyard in bringing the ship’s systems and engine to this point.

“Main Engine Light Off is a major milestone for any warship and the starting of the MELO activities this week is a great achievement for everyone who has contributed to the ship to-date,” Clements said.

ASC and its AWD partners are approaching the completion of Ship 01 – the Hobart. It was launched in mid-2015 and will commence sea trials later this year.

The ship recently started combat systems trials which will be lead by Lockhead Martin, the American company responsible for fitting the three destroyers with the Aegis combat system.

According to ASC, the main propulsion engines were made by Navantia in Spain and transported to Australia by barge. There are a further four diesel generator engines on board for the ship’s electrical power that have been commissioned and are currently undergoing parallel testing.

In coming months, once MELO is complete, the propulsion engines will be connected to the propellers and ‘dock trials’ conducted, in which the engines turn the propellers while the ship remains roped to the dock.