Australia has approved two projects to sustain the capability superiority of the Collins- class submarine fleet until its replacement by the future submarine.
This was announced by Minister for Defence, Marise Payne, and Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne MP in a statement.
The first project addresses obsolescence in the control system to allow safe operation of the submarines, while the second provides improved submarine communications capability.
“The Government is committed to continuing appropriate investments in the Collins class, including priority capability enhancements, obsolescence management and fleet sustainment”, said Payne. “This will ensure Australia maintains a potent and agile submarine capability until the introduction of the future submarine fleet”, she added.
For the first project, Saab Australia will update the control system and Australia’s state-owned shipbuilder, ASC, formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation, will manage the integration of the updated systems.
The communications upgrade will be executed by Raytheon Australia, who can leverage its expertise and experience as the Collins Combat Systems Integrator.
The statement also announced that the Collins Class Submarines project (CN 10) has been officially removed from the Projects of Concern list.
Collins class is a class of six Australian-built diesel-electric submarines (SSK) operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The submarines are the enlarged versions of Swedish shipbuilder Kockums’ Västergötland class and was originally referred to as the Type 471. They were constructed between 1990 and 2003 in South Australia by the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC).
Each boat has a length of 77.8 metres (255 ft) and displaces 3,407 tonnes (3,353 long tons) when submerged. They were the largest conventionally powered submarines in the world at the time of their commissioning.
Each submarine is equipped with three Garden Island-Hedemora HV V18b/15Ub (VB210) 18-cylinder diesel engines, which are each connected to a 1,400 kW, 440-volt DC Jeumont-Schneider generator. This enables the vessel to attain a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) underwater.
When fully submerged, a Collins-class submarine can travel 480 nautical miles (890 km) at 4 knots and they have an endurance of 70 days.
The Collins class submarines are armed with six 530 mm torpedo tubes, and can carry a mixture of Gould Mark 48 Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) torpedoes and UGM-84C Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
The vessel can carry a standard payload of 22 torpedoes and, some or all of the torpedo payload can be replaced with up to 44 Stonefish Mark III mines.
The Collins class will be replaced by the Future Submarine Program (SEA 1000) in the early 2030s with construction extending into the late 2040s to
The Future Submarine Program will be based on the Shortfin Barracuda design by French company DCNS with twelve submarines to be acquired that will be built in Australia.