- A.N. Other
- History - general, Ship design and development
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 2011 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Attention to increasing underwater capabilities by the navies from the Arabian Gulf to the Bering Sea reinforces the Australian government’s comprehensive mandate for a littoral submarine force. For Australia to maintain the security of her vital commercial interests on the seaboard in the future there is neither the time nor the resources than build on the experience and industrial capability developed for the Collins class.
The Collins class is a state of the art submarine design for long-ranging operation in littoral waters. It has been built to the highest international naval requirements in accordance with leading edge submarine technology relevant in the 1980s. The government’s decision in 2000 to nationalise ASC and sever the financial and technical relationship with the designer KAB has led to Collins not reaching its operational potential. Sadly, meaningful design capability and the benefit of experienced conventional submarine design engineers have played no role in the evolution of the Collins class since then; nor have sub-vendors and new suppliers been qualified to properly maintain Australia’s most important naval asset.
Collins is now thirty years old but the strategic requirements that defined the Class has not changed. It remains to be seen whether the Australian Navy’s outstanding littoral capability is sacrificed by acquiring a submarine at the upper limit of conventional submarine size to satisfy a super-set of theoretical capabilities.