The Admiralty Experiment Works (AEW), the oldest of the Admiralty's research establishments, was formed in 1872 at Chelston Cross, Torquay, Devon, following the Admiralty's approval of experimental work by William Froude, engineer and naval architect, concerning the resistance to propulsion of ships. In 1886 the work, which centered on the model testing of ships' hulls as an aid to the Naval Construction Department, moved to its present site at Haslar, Gosport, Hants, where it steadily expanded.
Initially concerned with ship power prediction, its developmental work on the hydrodynamics of ship and submarine design extended to propeller design, manoeuvrability and sea-keeping behaviour of marine vehicles. The addition of further testing facilities between 1930-1972 enabled the works to extend their tests on models in a ship tank to all classes of battleship, cruiser, destroyer, submarine and miscellaneous vessels. Reports of these experiments were used by Naval Construction Department in the improvement of ship design and performance.
In 1977, AEW became part of the Admiralty Marine Technology Establishment, which itself became a department of the unified Admiralty ResearchEstablishment in 1984.
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