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Australia lays out scope of ‘life-of-type extension‘ for Collins-class submarines

Collins-class submarines HMAS Collins , HMAS Farncomb , HMAS Dechaineux , and HMAS Sheean are seen here in formation. The boats will be upgraded from 2026 under the ‘life-of-type extension' programme. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has given further details on the major ‘life-of-type extension' (LOTE) activities that will be conducted on the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) fleet of Collins-class diesel-electric submarines from 2026.

The Australian government first disclosed on 12 October that it had signed an AUD322 million (USD202 million) contract with Raytheon Australia to provide in-service support for the submarine's combat system as the RAN transitions towards operating nuclear-powered boats.

The contract covers a period of five years and will include the period from which the LOTE activities are scheduled to begin. The first boat that is scheduled to receive the capability enhancements is the second-of-class HMAS Farncomb.

In response to questions from Janes, a DoD spokesperson indicated that as part of the LOTE programme, the periscopes on all Collins-class submarines will be replaced with a new optronic periscope system.

The optronic system will ensure that the submarines are able to “leverage the speed, quality, and automation of modern digital image processing while reducing the risk of detection”, the DoD spokesperson told Janes in an emailed response on 19 October.

In addition, the submarines will receive “more powerful and modern sonar and communications systems”, and continuing upgrades to their combat management and weapon systems, the spokesperson added without going into specifics.

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