It is anticipated that a three-year project to design, manufacture and test Australia’s first ‘yellow submarine’ will begin next month in Adelaide, South Australia.
The fully reconfigurable Australian Research Experimental Submarine (ARES) will be used to test the hydrodynamic and crew efficiency of new submarine designs.
The project is a collaboration between several universities, the DST Group and four industry partners: SAAB, ASC, Dassault Systemes and MOOG Australia.
ARES received $150,000 of funding from the South Australian Government last month to boost a $350,000 ‘in kind’ contribution from the participants to fund the project’s first year. An estimated $3 million will be needed to complete the three-year project.
Project leader Eric Fusil, who is University of Adelaide director of the Shipbuilding Hub for Integrated Engineering and Local Design, said the project would deliver Australia’s first reconfigurable research submarine.
“When you use the controls inside a submarine, you need to know that you are setting the control planes outside at a given angle, along with the effect of that angle for each given speed of the submarine; otherwise, you are at risk of breaching the surface or diving too quickly.
"Despite all our best efforts world-wide, we are still at a point where we cannot use computers to pre-dict that. Actual testing with small-scale submarines is needed to analyse how submarines behave underwater.
Our submarine will have the ability to be adapted to any kind of shape and any location of control plane.”
Early designs show the submarine will be about 7m long and up to 1.8m high. Its yellow colour will allow it to be easily observed during underwater tests.
Initial testing will probably be done in lakes at a depth of 30-40m — deep enough to properly test the submarine’s hydrodynamics but shallow enough for it to be safely recovered by dive teams if it encounters problems.
The first year of the project will mainly involve design work, before procurement, manufacture and testing phases in years two and three.