Australian Collins Class Submarine

October 2, 2012 by  

Australian Collins Class Submarine, Planning to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) Collins-class submarines began in 2007 with the commencement of defence acquisition project SEA 1000. The six Collins-class boats are due to leave service from 2025 onwards, and are to be replaced by a class of twelve submarines.

The project is looking at four options to replace the submarines: buy a Military-Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) design, modify a MOTS design for Australian conditions, design an evolution of an existing submarine, or design a new submarine from scratch. The resulting vessel is tentatively identified displacing around 4,000 tons, will be equipped with land-attack cruise missiles in addition to torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, and need to be capable of performing surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations (both directly and through the delivery and recovery of covert operatives). Nuclear propulsion has been ruled out by the Australian government. Construction will occur at the ASC shipyard in South Australia, although other companies will be invited to tender against ASC to build the submarines. The project is predicted to cost A$36 billion: the largest acquisition undertaken by the Australian Defence Force.

The original plans called for concept work to start in 2009, the establishment of preliminary designs between 2011 and 2013, detailed design work from 2013 to 2016, and construction to start that year. This timeline would have had the new submarines entering service before the Collins’ began phasing out. However, the preliminary design phase did not begin until May 2012, and entry-into-service for the first new submarine is optimistically predicted as 2030.

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