The ADF has announced that its fleet of six Collins class submarines will receive a comprehensive upgrade to their sonar systems.
A December 29 ministerial release says two contracts totalling $23.7 million have been awarded to Thales Australia for the design and development of a new mine and obstacle avoidance system and a high frequency intercept array for the six boats.
“Our six Collins Class submarines are a highly capable and regionally superior capability that are only halfway through their operational life,” Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds said in the release. “To ensure this capability maintains its edge, we are upgrading and improving its systems including through sonar upgrades.
The Mine and Obstacle Avoidance System is designed to acoustically detect threats and obstacles, including mines, whereas the High Frequency Intercept Array is a passive acoustic sensor that detects high frequency noises and active 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,” Senator Reynolds added.
The work will primarily be performed by Thales at its Rydalmere facility in Sydney, and it is forecast 80 per cent of the work will be performed by Australian industry.