Babcock has begun testing the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hobart Class air warfare destroyer’s (AWD) Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers at its Techport facility in South Australia.

Capable of firing MU90 lightweight torpedoes, the Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers are being tested using a land-based custom designed test rig and measuring equipment with safe work procedures. After this phase, factory acceptance tests (FAT) will be carried out.

The FAT for all six launchers involve measurement of additional system parameters during the discharge of a dummy weapon from the launchers into a specially designed rig, as well as safety and interlock checks.

In December 2008, Babcock was awarded a contract by Raytheon, in support of AWD Alliance, to provide a complete weapons handling and launch system from stowage to launcher for the Hobart class AWDs.

In the first phase of the contract, Babcock will manufacture component parts, including barrels, quadrants, breech locking rings, air charging panels and a number of major sub-assemblies for the Hobart Class AWDs

The Mod 9 launcher was originally designed for the US Navy and is a twin barrelled variant of the Mk32 launchers currently in service with Australian Anzac and Adelaide-class FFG frigates.

Each of the three Hobart class AWDs will be equipped with two Mk32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers installed in magazine compartments, port and starboard.

The AWD programme is also known as SEA 4000 and is intended to deliver three advanced multirole warships to replace the FFGs of the RAN.

The Hobart Class AWDs will be deployed in law enforcement operations, defence aid to the civil community, collection of environmental data, rescue operations and diplomatic roles.

The first AWD is scheduled for delivery in December 2014 while the other two warships are slated to be delivered in early 2016 and mid-2017.