C4iSR: Maritime

Australia’s Collins-class submarines set to undergo sonar upgrades

14 June 2018
Collins-class submarines HMAS Dechaineux, HMAS Waller, and HMAS Sheean seen here in waters off Western Australia. Source: Commonwealth of Australia

Key Points

  • Australia is set to begin upgrading sonar systems of its Collins-class submarines
  • Upgrades are being done as part of a wider programme to extend the boats’ service life till the 2030s

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) fleet of six Collins-class diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) is set to begin upgrades to its sonar systems under the country’s SEA 1439 Phase 6.

The AUD542 million (USD410 million) programme aims to extend the boats’ operating capabilities until the 2030s, when the first of Australia’s SEA 1000 Future Submarines are expected to come into service.

As part of the upgrades, the Collins class’ legacy cylindrical array will be replaced with a new modular cylindrical array (MCA) system that has been developed by Thales teams in the United Kingdom, the company announced on 14 June. The MCA system is based on the Sonar 2076 integrated sonar suite in use with the UK Royal Navy’s boats.

Also to be replaced are the Collins class’ existing flank arrays. These will be replaced by “the latest generation” flank array system that has been developed by Thales teams in France, said the company in its media release.

The upgrades will begin with HMAS Waller , which is already in its full cycle docking phase at ASC’s facilities in Osborne, South Australia. Manufacturing and integration work for the contract will be carried out at Thales Australia’s facilities in Western Sydney.

The upgrades will also see participation from other local companies including Raytheon Australia, and ASC. The former has been appointed as the combat systems integrator, while the latter will be the project’s platform systems integrator.

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