Replacing the RAN's Oberon Class submarines, the Collins Class design was required to meet the unique needs of the Navy, which were dictated by, among other things, Australia's geographic location.
The submarines would be required to travel great distances, operate in varying environments, have state-of-the-art weapons systems and perform traditional submarine functions using the most advanced technology available.
The submarines would also be required to protect Australia through their very existance, acting as a deterrent to any enemy forces.
It was decided that large conventional submarines would be acquired. The Collins Class submarines are the second largest non-nuclear powered submarines in the world.
In 1987, the newly formed Australian Submarine Corporation (now ASC Pty Ltd), began the task of designing and building the most sophisticated conventional submarine in the world. The submarines' design was based on the Type 471 design from Swedish shipbuilder Kockums.
Construction of the first Collins Class submarine, HMAS Collins commenced in 1990 and it was delivered to the RAN in 1996. The sixth and final boat, HMAS Rankin, was delivered to the RAN in 2003.
The Collins Class submarines are a key element of Australia's Defence Force, both as an intelligence-gathering platform during peace time and as a forceful opponent during times of war.
The six submarine class of HMAS Collins, HMAS Farncomb, HMAS Waller, HMAS Dechaineux, HMAS Sheean and HMAS Rankin achieves an optimum match between innovation and proven technical superiority.
The names of the Collins Class submarines commemorate the memory of six members of the RAN who served their country with distinction.