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ASC on a Roll with Submarine Maintenance


Adelaide-based submarine builder and maintainer ASC has taken another step towards achieving international benchmark performance with Collins Class submarine HMAS Farncomb rolling out of the shed, on its way back to the water.

HMAS Farncomb arrived for maintenance in late May 2014 and is the first Collins Class submarine to undergo the new and revised maintenance regime since the Coles Review into submarine sustainment.

Previously, a full cycle docking of a Collins Class submarine could take in excess of three years; but HMAS Farncomb is on track to be completed in less than two years.

ASC Interim Chief Executive Officer Stuart Whiley says HMAS Farncomb rolling out of the shed represents another step in ASC’s journey to overhaul the way it undertakes submarine maintenance and ultimately improve submarine availability for the Royal Australian Navy.

“When we were set the challenge of reducing a full cycle docking from three to two years we had to think outside the box and we’ve taken an innovative approach and implemented approximately 30 change initiatives,” Mr Whiley said.

“The maintenance we undertake isn’t just a simple oil change and tune up – we’re effectively rebuilding the submarine,” he said.

“We invested $12.3 million to build a maintenance support tower alongside the submarine to bring the people and materials closer to the boat in order to improve efficiency.”

“We’ve cut the hull of the submarine completely in half, removed the main motor and diesels, tested and refurbished them off the boat before reinstalling them and rewelding the hull.”

“We’ve built a state of the art diesel generator test facility at Osborne, which has been used to test and validate the diesels off the boat, simulating real world service conditions. This has reduced the risk to schedule later in the maintenance activity and improves the reliability of the submarine delivered to the Navy.”

These areas of innovation have resulted in a productivity improvement of approximately 30 percent and an expected 12 month saving in the time it takes to complete a full cycle docking.

“Whilst there is still more work to be done before HMAS Farncomb will return to service, ASC is confident of completing this activity on schedule,” Mr Whiley said.

“The results being achieved by ASC and its Submarine Enterprise partners, the Royal Australian Navy and the Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, is an example of what can be achieved when Navy, Defence and Industry work collaboratively,” he said.

HMAS Farncomb is expected to spend four weeks on the hardstand undergoing mast installation, ballast tank testing and calibration of fuel tanks and then a further fifteen weeks in the water undergoing set to work and harbour acceptance trials. Completion of the maintenance activity is expected before mid-2016.


More information: Amy McDonald, Communications Manager, 0466 535 968

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