Australia’s largest warship, HMAS Adelaide, experiences further mechanical issues, months after deployment to Tonga

Australia’s largest warship is hampered by new mechanical problems limiting its speed, just months after suffering a complete power outage during a humanitarian mission in Tonga.

The ABC may reveal that engineers are working to repair one of the two propulsion pods that power HMAS Adelaide, which is currently moored at Sydney’s Garden Island Naval Base.

According to Defense, the “problem” was identified during a “scheduled maintenance period” after the 27,500-ton vessel returned from the Pacific in March.

A source aboard the ship, who spoke to ABC on condition of anonymity, said the Navy had been aware of the problem for the past two months.

“It has been broken since the ship returned to Australia in March, now it has a top speed of 12 knots, which is not good for the emergency response ship,” the person said.

A closeup of the HMAS Adelaide warship in the ocean on a sunny day, with clouds in the sky above it
Engineers have been on board HMAS Adelaide to repair one of her propulsion pods.(Defense: POIS Christopher Szumlanski)

Defense refuses to confirm what limitations HMAS Adelaide is currently operating under, but a spokesman has told ABC the ship “remains safe and capable of carrying out its planned programme.”

HMAS Adelaide is expected to leave Sydney for Townsville next week for trials and exercises, before a scheduled voyage to Singapore later in the year.

Earlier this year, ABC revealed that multiple power failures had brought the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) to a standstill as it worked to provide aid to Tonga following the January 14 volcanic eruption and tsunami.

Volcanic debris around Tonga was said at a Senate estimates hearing in February to be the likely cause of the initial outage, though formal investigations were still ongoing.

HMAS Adelaide entered service in 2015 and is one of two ‘helicopter landing docks’ built in Spain and operated by the Royal Australian Navy, along with HMAS Canberra, which entered service a year earlier.

The vessels are powered by two 11-megawatt Siemens Azimuth Propulsion System thrusters with dual propellers mounted on 360-degree steerable pods powered by onboard electric motors.

Industry figures have for years privately questioned the suitability of azimuth propulsion systems for a large amphibious assault ship, saying the technology was designed for cruise ships.

In 2017, ABC revealed that both LHDs were out of service as engineers worked to resolve issues with their propulsion pods, prompting Labor to warn that Australia’s two main amphibious ships were unavailable for service during the emergency. of the Queensland cyclone.

Aware , updated

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