The Australian Department of Defence's Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) and UK-based Frazer-Nash Consultancy have co-developed a new system to predict the acoustic signatures of all classes of naval vessels.

The pioneering Australian rapid assessment tool (AusRAT) is a world first, and can be used on any naval platform, including both surface ships and submarines.

AusRAT spent several years in development, and aims to predict acoustic signatures at the concept and preliminary design stages when only limited data is available and fast turnaround of results is necessary for assessment of different configurations.

Acoustic signatures are the distinct noises that a vessel makes, and can potentially be used by hostile adversaries to identify and track the ship.

Defence scientist Dr Stephen Moore developed the tool's specifications for the AusRAT project after researching noise and vibration mechanisms on several naval platforms.

Moore said: “The ability to predict the acoustic signature during design and construction is critical to achieving the low- signature requirements of a modern naval fleet.

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“External benchmarking has demonstrated that DST has world-class expertise in this area, and identified AusRAT in particular as being a world-class capability.”

The powerful tool also has the capacity to offer updated predictions during the detailed design and build phases, as well as investigate the potential impact of components not meeting their noise quota.

AusRAT technology offers approximate analytical models that enable a whole-boat radiated noise estimate to be run in only a few minutes.

The system will be deployed for the Future Submarine (SEA1000) and Future Frigate (SEA5000) programmes, in order to predict the acoustic signature of proposed designs so that they can meet requirements of Australia.