Hensoldt Australia restores HMAS Canberra’s IFF system


Hensoldt Australia has completed repair and deep level maintenance of the first set of identification friend or foe (IFF) antenna and pedestals from the lead Canberra-class amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra, the company announced on 24 May.

The antenna and pedestal have been re-installed on the ship with full capability following on-board integration and testing. The company noted that the equipment measures more than 2.4 m high and 2.6 m wide and weighs around 350 kg, requiring the use of specialised lifting equipment, power and mechanical interfaces.

Hensoldt technicians had earlier conducted a detailed assessment of the antenna and pedestal, then dismantled and repainted its components to prevent damage from the corrosive marine environment. These were then reassembled and mounted on a test stand in the company’s facility, where technicians performed electrical, mechanical, and rotational testing of the antenna using a replicated control system used onboard the ship.

“When [we were] contracted to update the interrogator on the HMAS Canberra, routine testing identified problems with the pedestals and antennas,” said Hensoldt managing director Jon Wachman. “Investigations uncovered that the equipment was failing and impacting operational performance.”

“After assessing with the Navy the overseas repair options and timeframe, and as experts in sensor solutions, we agreed to expand our Australian capability to support the complete antenna system on board the LHD, backed by a local supply chain and expertise,” Wachman added.

The company has been contracted to perform local overhaul work on four antennas and pedestals at its new purpose-built facilities and workshops in Canberra. These already support the IFF interrogator for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) but was expanded to support local test, overhaul and repair of this additional heavy equipment.

Hensoldt Australia also delivered an enhancement for the RAAF’s Radar Operational Maintenance Trainer (OMT) in early May. This system is used by the service to enable its technicians to hone the skills required to operate and maintain radar systems.

by Jr Ng