ASC has a long and proud history of developing Australia’s sovereign submarine industry, helping to ensure the continuity and availability of the nation’s formidable submarine capability.
The Collins Class project was established in 1982 to provide six new submarines for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) that would be built in Australia – a national first.
Replacing the RAN's Oberon Class submarines, the large, long range and stealthy Collins Class design was required to meet the unique needs of the RAN.
The Collins Class submarines would need to travel great distances, operate in varying environments from cool southern oceans to warm, shallow tropical waters, deploy state-of-the-art weapons and be ready to perform anti-submarine, anti-shipping and intelligence-gathering missions, among others. Acting as a strategic deterrent to potential adversaries, they would also help protect Australia through their very existence.
In 1987, the newly formed Australian Submarine Corporation (now ASC Pty Ltd), began the task of designing and building what was to be the most sophisticated conventional submarine in the world. The submarine design was based on the Type 471 design from Swedish submarine-maker, Kockums.
To this day, the Collins Class are regarded as among the best large conventional diesel-powered submarines in the world, packed with high level technological and performance capability.
Australian construction and sustainment
Construction of the first Collins Class submarine, HMAS Collins, commenced in 1990 and the vessel was delivered to the RAN in 1996. The sixth and final boat, HMAS Rankin, was delivered in 2003.
ASC met and exceeded its contracted minimum of 70 per cent Australian industry content during the build, and in almost two decades of sustaining the fleet since, has lifted this to levels higher than 90%. These strong levels of Australian content enhance the sovereign strength of the program and contribute to the local economy and local jobs creation.
The Collins Class submarines are a key element of the Australian Defence Force, as an intelligence-gathering platform during times of peace and a forceful opponent in war. As near to noiseless as technology can achieve, the six submarines – HMAS Collins, Farncomb, Waller, Dechaineux, Sheean and Rankin - strike a balance between innovation and proven technical superiority.
As the submarine sustainment prime contractor, ASC has upgraded key systems across the fleet. These enhancements cover communications, sonar, weapons and control systems, and have ensured the Collins Class remain among the most capable large, conventionally powered submarines in the world.
The agile Collins Class submarines manoeuvre via four control surfaces at the rear of the submarine, which are individually actuated to provide superior manoeuvrability and inherent redundancy. Packed with advanced technological and performance capability, the boats are deep-diving and can travel at speeds greater than 20 knots (submerged) and 10 knots (surfaced).
The submarines have six forward torpedo tubes and are able to carry up to 22 torpedoes or anti-ship missiles, or up to 44 mines, in place of torpedoes. They are able to employ sophisticated countermeasures.
|Features of the Collins Class submarine|
|High capability battery, long range and high endurance|
|High performance hull form, automated controls and exceptional manoeuvrability|
|High shock resistance, optimal noise suppression and low magnetic signature|
|State-of-the-art combat system|
|Efficient weapons handling and discharge systems|
|Crew||42, including 6 officers and 36 submariners|
|Weapons||Mk48 heavweight torpedoes and sub-harpoon missiles|