The sonar block for the first of Australia’s three Air Warfare Destroyers has been received from Spanish shipbuilder and AWD platform designer Navantia.

The sonar block arrived by road train from Melbourne following a six-week journey by sea from Spain. It is a uniquely-shaped block with complex curves, and is positioned at the front of each AWD under the keel.

The complete sonar system will be made up of the sonar block, as well as a sonar dome which is also a complex curved shape but made of fibreglass. The sonar dome will be installed underneath each of these blocks and will house and protect the sensitive sonar equipment.

The sonar block that has arrived will be installed on Ship 1. The remaining two sonar blocks are expected to be delivered later this year.

In addition, the Alliance has now received the complete set of gas turbines for all three ships..

The gas turbines were manufactured by General Electric in Ohio, United States. Each turbine will have a brake horsepower of 25,000 and will be connected to the shaft line and propellers via the main reduction gearbox. These turbines will be configured in a combined diesel or gas arrangement with two diesel engines.

This means they can provide power to the ships at high speeds, taking over from the propulsion diesel engine that would drive the ships at lower speeds.

The AWD project is being delivered under an Alliance structure. The AWD Alliance is made up of the Defence Materiel Organisation as the Commonwealth representative, ASC as the shipbuilder and Raytheon Australia as the combat system systems engineer.

When complete, the AWD will be one of the most capable warships of its size in the world, featuring the Aegis weapons system. Each AWD will have anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability as well as the ability to embark a helicopter at sea.