Page 39 - Australian Defence Magazine Aug 2019
P. 39

material advances
steel plate. This will be utilised for the first of up to three qualification phases which will test the company’s ability to maintain quality in production.
February’s order followed successful test- ing the previous month of trial material that confirmed the company could manu- facture steel which met all targeted Attack- class specifications, the company said.
DSTG testing role
Deciding whether or not independent test- ing of materials is required is discussed be- tween DST, Capability and Sustainment Group (CASG), and Naval Engineering, Dr Kershaw says.
“Often our role is to advise whether we can rely on someone else’s certification, but in key critical areas we absolutely want to do the testing so that we have independently verified what is going on.
“We have the suite of analysis skills, tools and equipment to provide the independent verification that is sought for the certifica- tion of Future Submarine steel.”
This resource was the outcome of DST’s 2013-2018 Strategic Plan in which careful consideration was given to the science and technology capability areas that would be neededtoensureDSThadthecapabilityto support the head of Naval Engineering in this certification process.
“We have a core of the necessary skills within DST and we have an ongoing research program to ensure that these skills remain up- to-date and world-class,” Dr Kershaw noted.
“We also have a very good understanding of who our key partners are either overseas or in-country to ensure that Australia has access to the necessary skill and knowledge base to certify the materials we use.”
The level of Commonwealth expertise available to assess materials proposed by Naval Group for different systems was also stressed by Rear Admiral Greg Sammut, head of the Future Submarine program, at Senate Estimates in April.
“Given that we do have experience in
decades, through its predecessor the De- fenceScienceandTechnologyOrganisation (DSTO) and its role in testing and certify- ing the steel used in the hulls of the RAN’s six in-service Collins-class submarines.
These are constructed from a high-tensile micro-alloy steel created by Swedish spe- cialist steel manufacturer SSAB but sub- sequently modified for Australian manu- facture and produced by NSW company Bisalloy Steels, the country’s only producer of high strength quenched and tempered steel plate, and steelmaker Bluescope.
“The steel needed to have particular characteristics. Strength, toughness and shock loading impact resistance were vitally important but the steel also must be readily cold-formed, fabricated and welded,” a Bis- alloy spokesperson said.
The outcome, after input and rigorous
testing by DSTO, was the Australian grade BIS8l2EMAplatethatisweldable,micro- alloyed, high yield stress steel with excel- lent low temperature impact properties. It is also reportedly a lighter chemistry and easier to weld than the HY-80 or HY-100 nickel-alloy steel used in contemporary sub- marine construction projects.
Advanced welding technology developed by DST produced a fracture control meth- odology which ensured that optimum re- sistance to shock loading was built into the new submarines. It also meant that Austra- lian industry was able to perform all Col- lins-class steelwork maintenance and repair.
Fast forward, and in February this year Bisalloy Steels received an initial order from Naval Group Australia, the Future Submarine design and build partner, for 250 tonnes of specialised high performance | August 2019 | 39
“The warm water environment
in which Australia’s submarines generally operate creates some unique environmental pressures on maritime platforms.”

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