Government approves next phase of Collins-class life extension

HMAS Farncomb will be the first of Australia’s six Collins-class submarines to undergo sustainment and capability enhancement under a life-of-type extension program being implemented by the Albanese Government.

FILE PHOTO (2013): HMAS Farncomb in rough seas off Sydney. Photo by Leading Seaman Brenton Freind.

The life-of-type extension program is expected to cost $4 to $5 billion ,to ensure the Collins-class submarines continue be provide a potent strike and deterrence capability while until the Royal Australian Navy can convert to purchased Virginia-class SSNs early next decade.

The life-of-type extension of HMAS Farncomb will be undertaken at ASC at Osborne in South Australia and commence in 2026.

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said the government’s decisions on the life-of-type extension program were informed by advice from Defence as well as independent expert advice.

“An optronics upgrade for the Collins-class submarines, announced by the former Coalition government, will not proceed following advice that it would have added complexity and risk to the life-of-type extension program,” Mr Conroy said.

“SSN AUKUS nuclear-powered conventionally armed submarines will likewise not be fitted with this particular design.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: This one-liner makes no sense to me, especially this early in the design/planning phase of SSN AUKUS and especially since it is now standard equipment on all US Virginia-class SSNs, as well as UK Astute-class boats. The excuse given may work for the Collins-class exclusion, but it just doesn’t wash for AUKUS – especially when it comes from a politician].

“The government has also received advice from Defence, in consultation with the United States, that adding Tomahawk cruise-missile capability to the Collins-class submarines is not viable and does not represent value for money.

“Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines Australia will receive in the early 2030s will come with the Tomahawk as standard equipment.

“Tomahawk cruise missiles will also be used by Navy’s Hobart-class destroyers and the government has agreed in-principle to fit the Hunter-class frigates with Tomahawks, subject to a feasibility study.

“These decisions will reduce risk for the Collins-class program and will help maximise Collins-class availability as we transition to our future nuclear-powered submarine capability.”







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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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