Royal Australian Navy Submarine HMAS Collins Returns to Service After Planned Maintenance

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) first Collins-class diesel-electric attack submarine, HMAS Collins (SSG 73), has returned to service after a planned maintenance.

The maintenance as conducted by ASC (formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation) at its facility in Osborne, South Australia as part of a full-cycle docking and enterprise restructure of submarine maintenance. For her crew, reassuming material control (MATCON) and responsibility for the platform represented an important milestone in her return to service.

The transfer of MATCON between the RAN and ASC during different stages of the lifecycle of Collins class submarines is a key feature of the longstanding and successful partnership between Australian Dept. of Defence and its industry partners.

Having now taken MATCON, the crew will oversee the final stages of her maintenance period to include harbour acceptance trials, while working towards readying her, and themselves to go to sea later this year. The Collins-class submarines are predicted to have an operational life of around 30 years, with Collins to be decommissioned around 2025.

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.

Collins-class submarines are 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 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 (now Naval Group) with twelve submarines to be acquired that will be built in Australia.

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