The sonar systems of the RAN’s Collins class submarine fleet will receive an upgrade, Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne have announced.
In an international collaborative program, the boats’ cylindrical sonar array will be replaced with a Modular Cylindrical Array (MCA) based on Sonar 2076 submarine technology developed by Thales, while the flank array will be replaced with a new Thales flank array.
Thales says it will work with the Collins class combat system integrator Raytheon Australia and other local industry including Sonartech Atlas, and L3 Oceania to integrate the upgrades arrays.
“The 2016 Defence White Paper clearly outlines the importance of a potent submarine capability to ensure our sovereignty and defend Australia,” Minister Payne said in a statement.
“Submarines offer capabilities no other platform can provide, and that’s why the Turnbull Government is committed to investing in the Collins Class fleet to maintain its advantage in an increasingly complex and uncertain strategic environment.”
Minister Pyne added, “Australian defence suppliers are central to the sovereignty of our current and future military capability. As a result of their continued demonstration of expertise, Australian companies will have an enduring role in keeping our submarines superior and safe.”
The project is valued at $542 million and will create 100 direct jobs, and local content will comprise about 70 per cent.
“It is critical that Australia maintain the highest levels of submarine capability from the Collins fleet until the Future Submarine enters service,” Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said in a separate statement.
“The sonar systems are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the submarines, and Thales will bring together the best underwater sensing technology from around the world to ensure the Collins remains a potent force.”