Upgrades for Collins submarines announced – October 2017
The Government has announced two projects to sustain the capability superiority of the Collins Class submarine fleet until its replacement.
“The 2016 Defence White Paper makes it clear submarines are an essential part of Australia’s defence strategy and a powerful instrument for deterring conflict and contributing to anti-submarine warfare in our region,” said Defence Minister Marise Payne said.
“The Government is committed to continuing appropriate investments in the Collins Class, including priority capability enhancements, obsolescence management and fleet sustainment.
“This will ensure Australia maintains a potent and agile submarine capability until the introduction of the future submarine fleet.”
The first of the new projects addresses obsolescence in the control system to allow safe operation of the submarines, while the second provides improved submarine communications capability.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the involvement of Australian defence industry, as part of Australia’s submarine enterprise, was fundamental to the nation’s ability to manage and sustain a multi-class submarine fleet.
“On average, 120 people per year across New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia will be employed over the life of the program,” Mr Pyne said.
“Combined, the projects will inject approximately $540 million into the Australian economy over the next 20 years, with $300 million going into South Australia, $65 million to New South Wales, and $175 million to Western Australia.”
“While ASC will manage the integration of the updated systems, Defence has engaged SAAB Australia to update the control system.
“The expertise and experience of Raytheon Australia, in the role of Collins Combat Systems Integrator, will be leveraged to coordinate the communications upgrade.
“The Government is also pleased to advise that the Collins Class Submarines project (CN 10) has been officially removed from the Projects of Concern list.
“This project was added to the list in November 2008, but given the extraordinary effort that has been put into rectifying the issues associated with the Collins Class project, and given that submarine availability is now meeting international benchmarks, the Government is confident that the project can be removed from the list.”
At the same time the ABC has reported that an independent report the Navy could be left without a submarine fleet for up to 20 years because of a “wildly ambitious” schedule to replace the ageing Collins Class fleet (see link below).