Technical sailors onboard the Leeuwin Class Hydrographic Survey ship HMAS Melville have performed an investigation to determine if the Propulsion Motor Room (PMR) could be cooled effectively, allowing the ship to operate its drive train at higher speeds.

This innovation has resulted in an increase in the maximum propulsion power available to support the involvement of the vessel in task group operations.

In hydrographic ships, the PMR houses the ship’s main motors and gearboxes.

During operation, heat is generated by the equipment. The maximum propulsion output can effectively dissipate the heat created.

The sailors conducted the experiment under the leadership and technical guidance of Petty Officer Marine Technician (POMT) Ryan Schweitzer.

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The technical department was also involved in thermographic mapping, airflow analysis, and ambient air monitoring in order to prototype enhanced ventilation systems.

This was aimed at prototyping improved ventilation systems for the compartment using resources available on board.

Based on the results obtained, it was found that the ventilation design reduced the localised build-up of hot air around sensors and drive equipment.

This enhances the ship’s performance from its drive train and travel at higher average speeds. It also reduced the load on the propulsion train when operating at lower speeds.

HMAS Melville Commanding Officer Michael Kumpis said: “This is another great example of Next Generation Navy at work with our MT sailors challenging themselves to come up with innovative solutions to fix problems and take action.

“Through those efforts, we have immediately enjoyed a positive impact on operations while ensuring our plant and equipment is effectively sustained for the long term.”

Upon conclusion, the investigation report was drafted by Petty Officer Schweitzer and forwarded to the Hydrographic System Program Office (HSPO).

Cost-effective recommendations and implementation of permanent solution for both ships was provided by the HSPO.

Further trials have been conducted with ship staff, HSPO, and British Aerospace Engineering representatives.