Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CFAV Quest, a view from the dark side

The strange bi-coloured paint scheme on CFAV Quest is still in place, but looking decidedly shabby. The ship has moved to Jetty Lima on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, at the berth recently vacated by the submarine Ojibwa.
Quest's port side was painted gray last year as part of RIMPASSE (Radar Infrared electro-Magnetic Pressure Acoustic Ship Signature Experiments) also known as Infrared Signature trials. As part of the work the ship was also rigged with removable side curtains, a hull cooling piping system, a degaussing loop, and its mast was modified. The ship is operated by the Queen's Harbour Master at HMC Dockyard, with a civilian crew, for Defence Research and Development Canada. More often associated with acoustical signature trials, DRDC participated in the NATO, German/Dutch RIMPASSE with Quest crossing the Atlantic from August to October of 2011.
Although a design has been prepared for a replacement, the 1969-built Quest will  remain in service for some time to come.
In fact there has been a major investment in the ship over the past couple of years to correct a long standing stability/safety issue. New water tight bulkheads were fitted within the ship and hull sponsons fitted toward the stern of the ship at deck level. Other equipment was removed, including oceanographic kit.
CFAV Quest 2012-06-14

The ship was built by Burrard Dry Dock in Vancouver in 1968 and commissioned in 1969 as a hydrographic research vessel (hence the white colour.) Nevertheless it has long been assigned to the RCN for operation as a research vessel. It is powered by four Fairbanks Morse diesel engines driving two GE electric motors through twin screws. It is known as a "quiet ship", used to test innovations to reduce its acoustical signature and avoid enemy detection.

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