Royal Australian Navy Collins Class Submarine Fleet to Receive Significant Sonar Upgrades

The Royal Australian Navy’s Collins Class submarine fleet will receive significant sonar upgrades further extending its superiority in the region.

The upgrade will better enable the submarines to safely navigate, detect and locate other vessels while remaining hidden themselves.

Christopher Pyne, Minister for Defence Industry and Marise Payne, Minister for Defence announced that the work will commence this year to enhance sonar systems across the Collins Class fleet.

“Australian defence suppliers are central to the sovereignty of our current and future military capability. As a result of their continued demonstration of expertise, Australian companies will have an enduring role in keeping our submarines superior and safe.,” Minister Pyne said.

Minister Payne said the upgrades are critical to maintaining Australia’s highly capable Collins Class submarine fleet until the introduction of the Future Submarines.

“Submarines offer capabilities no other platform can provide, and that’s why the Turnbull Government is committed to investing in the Collins Class fleet to maintain its advantage in an increasingly complex and uncertain strategic environment. Enhancing the Collins Class’ high-end warfighting capabilities so they can continue to detect and locate other vessels, ensures it will be an effective deterrent to potential adversaries,” Minister Payne said.

The project is valued at $542 million and the Australian Industry Content is approximately 70 per cent, creating more than 100 direct jobs.

Raytheon Australia and Thales Australia will play lead roles in delivering the sonar system upgrades, with ASC and a range of small and medium sized Australian companies supporting system integration.

In the 2018–19 financial year, most of the spending will be on the design and production effort in NSW with Raytheon Australia in Macquarie Park and Thales Australia in Rydalmere. The upgrades will then be installed at maintenance facilities at Osborne in South Australia and Henderson in Western Australia.

Collins class SSK

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 2050.

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.

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