Joint S N A M E / C I M E Meeting Hears Paper On Operations Of Gas Turbine Destroyers
At a recent meeting in Ottawa, Capt. G.L. Edwards presented a review of his experience in command of HMCS Algonquin, one of the four DDH-280-class gas turbine helicopter carrying destroyers which were commissioned in 1972-73. Some 60 members of the Eastern Canadian Section of The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and the Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Institute of Marine Engineers attended Captain Edwards's i n t e r e s t i n g and well-illustrated talk.
Reviewing the statistics, Captain Edwards noted that the four ships have now collectively operated 12 years, covering over 376,- 000 miles and have operated in all sea conditions from Arctic to tropical. Captain Edwards said the DDH-280s have served in the Standing Naval Force Atlantic for 20 months, and have shown that they are first among the finest ships in NATO and in many ways, perhaps the world. Captain Edwards then reviewed his operating experience with the equipment and layout of the DDH- 280s, with the purpose of showing where the design has succeeded and where improvements will be needed in future ships. He said the bridge, while spacious, needs improved layout. While the operation of deck machinery has been good, anchoring is difficult in rough weather and icing conditions. Towing gear has worked well. Sea boats are generally satisfactory and in particular, the operation of the Zodiac boat has been outstanding. Facilities for underway replenishment are satisfactory, with the winch and after king post singled out f o r improvement. Also, there were some lessons to be learned in handling the ship alongside a tanker, due to its different response. The flight deck arrangements have worked out very well, with only minor problems that can be easily overcome, and these facilities certainly are superior to those of other navies.
In the working and living spaces, Captain Edwards said much work was done to overcome problems in older ships, but the trends in habitability arrangements are hard to keep up with.
The accommodation generally is outstanding. Areas for improvement include: condensation, noise, cafeteria and galley layout, storerooms and ship's offices.
In the combat systems, he said the DDH-280s have done very well, and singled out f o r special praise was the Oto Melara gun, the variable depth sonar, the communications systems, and the Sea Sparrow missile system.
Captain Edwards was most enthusiastic about the propulsion system, and said that he thought the DDH-280s had the finest propulsion system in the world. The fast response and operating flexibility of the two FT4 main gas turbines and two FT12 cruise gas turbines enable fuel savings by shutting down completely or by running only one FT12 or one FT4 on a single shaft for slow speed transits. The system is easy to learn, easy to use, and can out perform any ship of comparable size in virtually every way. The fast response of the controllable- pitch propellers makes up for ship handling characteristics of the single rudder and inboard turning screws. Fast response is also needed when coming alongside, as the DDH-280s are particularly sensitive to cross winds.
Captain Edwards concluded his talk by saying that the DDH-280s have shown that Canada is capable of producing highly successful ships which are the envy of all other navies — and that Canada should continue to design and build her own warships in the future.