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Acoustic Signature Management

Picture of a Collins Class submarine housing the latest miltary technology

The Acoustic Signature Management branch of Maritime Division provides Australia’s primary capability for the management and control of acoustic signatures of defence platforms and the hydrodynamic and manoeuvring performance of ships and submarines.

The branch provides independent scientific and technical advice and underwater military technology solutions for the reduction of the passive and active acoustic signatures of ADF platforms. This is achieved by:

  • generating underpinning knowledge about the generation of noise and vibration by onboard machinery
  • modelling vibration transmission through ships structures and modelling radiation of underwater noise
  • developing new anechoic materials and anechoic coating designs
  • developing computational, analytical and experimental methods to study the flow around ship and submarine hulls and the effect of the flow on manoeuvring and broadband flow noise. 

This knowledge, and associated skills and expertise, are actively developed, maintained and evolved through collaborative partnerships with Australian universities and industry as well as Allied government defence laboratories.

Military Technology

The goal of the branch is to enhance the survivability and operational effectiveness of Australia's maritime force by developing and deploying cutting edge underwater military technology. The branch delivers expert advice leading to reduced probability of detection and identification of ships and submarines, and increased safety, improved availability and reduced cost of ownership for current and future platforms.

The work of this branch is critical to considerations of current platforms, such as the Collins class submarines, and it provides vital support for major projects such as SEA 1000 and SEA 5000.

Acoustic signature control

The Acoustic Signature Control group addresses the experimental investigation, modelling and analysis of acoustic signature generation and transmission to provide technology solutions for the control, reduction and management of the passive acoustic signature of Australian Defence Force (ADF) platforms. It also addresses the modelling of active acoustic signature, or target strength, of submarines.

The outcome is enhanced survivability of ADF platforms through reduced probability of detection, identification and targeting and enhanced acoustic countermeasure effectiveness. This, in turn, increases operational capability and effectiveness. 

Hydroacoustics

Our Hydroacoustics group undertakes computational and experimental studies addressing hydrodynamic and manoeuvring effects on maritime platform design and operation.

This includes the development and validation of experimental and computational fluid dynamic and hydrodynamic techniques to examine new and innovative platform shapes. 

The group also research on flow noise and on propellers and propulsor systems, including propeller design and through life management. 

Acoustic material systems

The Acoustic Material Systems group provides improved acoustic signature management through the application of advanced materials technologies. 

Key areas of interest are the development of new anechoic treatments for the reduction of the target echo strength; and damping and attenuation performance of materials systems, including structural damping and vibration isolation.

The group encompasses:

  • the design, fabrication, test & evaluation and structural analysis of polymer, elastomer, composite and hybrid material systems
  • the development of innovative tailored materials concepts for improved acoustic performance
  • life-cycle management of platforms, structures and systems through reliability analysis, materials characterisation and non-destructive evaluation, including for critical failures and their remediation.

The main activities in this area include the structural certification of the Advanced Material Propeller (AMP), development of anechoic tile options under SEA1000 and the lifing of components under the COLLINS SLEP. 

Key information

Areas of expertise:

  • Computational and experimental hydrodynamics
  • Structural acoustics
  • Analysis of propellers and propulsor systems
  • Vibration isolation
  • Anechoics
  • Target echo strength modelling
  • Materials technologies