Australia has supported the Royal Australian Navy and the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ACPC Enterprise to design, integrate and install a new Tri-Band INMARSAT GX and X/Ka-band WGS Satellite Communications (SATCOM) system on HMAS Canberra. The change was completed in record time. The increase in deployed bandwidth available to the Canberra Class LHDs will better support crew conditions and Quality of Life functions while at sea. The additional SATCOM capability will give the LHD significant additional bandwidth in terms of digital connectivity, including voice, video, social media, internet access and personal communications to enable both the permanent and embarked forces to stay connected with friends and family. 

The task was led by Navantia Australia’s Naval Design and Engineering Centre in Melbourne, ably supported by the LHD Field Engineering group and Navantia Australia’s Procurement team in Sydney. It included the design and platform integration of a suitable foundation for the antennas (one forward and one aft), as well as design of below deck cabling and routing to the cabinets. Navantia Australia also procured all the electrical components for the task including fibre, coaxial and power cables, connectors, glands, armoured conduit, and Fibre Optic Break Out Trays. 

Navantia Australia Managing Director Israel Lozano Barragan, said that “While this type of activity typifies the type of engineering capability that Navantia Australia performs under sustainment, what is remarkable in this circumstance are the timeframes involved. That the first foundation was craned onto HMAS Canberra in just seven weeks’ following the initial creation of the task, epitomises Navantia Australia’s core values of teamwork and being committed to outcomes.”

Navantia Australia was able to mobilise a full design team comprising of engineers from Combat Systems Integration, Electrical, General Design and Outfitting, Structures, and Drafting as well as Project Management, Design Authority, Field Engineering and Procurement in order to coordinate and deliver a quality consolidated design package in four weeks. Procurement of all the material was performed in parallel with the design process which required extremely close collaboration between the designers, onsite field engineering and procurement. Procurement and fabrication of Navantia Australia’s foundation design was performed by IKAD Engineering under subcontract from Naval Ship Management (Australia). Installation of the electrical production work such as penetrations, cabling, etc. was performed by Marine Technicians Australia also under subcontract from Naval Ship Management (Australia). 

The entire project was completed in eight weeks’ with the remainder of the production and installation work completed, culminating in the Set to Work and integration of the SATCOM system itself with Defence’s strategic network and satellites.


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