Collins Class submarines to receive sonar upgrades

Joint media release

  • Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence Industry

Navy’s Collins Class submarines will undergo significant upgrades to its sonar systems here in Australia through a multi-million dollar contract with Thales Australia.

The two contracts, worth around $23.7 million, are for the design and implementation of the Mine and Obstacle Avoidance System and the High Frequency Intercept Array for the submarine fleet.

The upgrades will not only enhance the capability of the Collins Class fleet but will provide a boost to Australian Defence industry and support Australian jobs.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said both the Mine and Obstacle Avoidance System and High Frequency Intercept Array are important parts of the upgrades to the Collins sonar system.

“Our six Collins Class submarines are a highly capable and regionally superior capability that are only halfway through their operational life,” Minister Reynolds said.

“To ensure this capability maintains its edge, we are upgrading and improving its systems including through sonar upgrades.

“The purpose of a Mine and Obstacle Avoidance System is to acoustically detect obstacles, including mines, which pose a threat to the submarine. The High Frequency Intercept Array detects high frequency noises including sonar transmissions.

“With more than 20 years of investment in Australia by Thales and Defence, these upgrades will complement broader improvements to the sonar capability of the Collins Class, ensuring the regional superiority of the fleet into the future.

“Because of this Government’s action, we have a Collins Class submarine that is now exceeding the Royal Australian Navy’s availability requirement.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said Thales had extensive experience working on the Collins fleet and other Australian-based companies would be engaged throughout the contracts.

“These contracts will include about 80 per cent of work being completed by Australian industry,” Minister Price said.

“We can expect these contracts to support 30 new jobs with Thales Australia in Rydalmere, NSW and additional jobs along the supply chain – jobs that will continue throughout the contracts.

“Once again, we are backing Aussie businesses and creating jobs in our defence industry, which is in turn helping the national economy on its road to recovery after COVID-19.”

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said, “Thales Australia has a long history of supporting the Royal Australian Navy with sonars, periscopes and other electronic systems proven with the fleet at sea.

“The sonar systems developed by Thales Australia represents a major contribution to an enduring sovereign sonar capability for the nation.”

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