Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Media Release – Collins Class Service Life Evaluation Program

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the completion of the study into the service life of the Collins Class Submarines. 

The Collins Class Submarine fleet of six submarines is an essential part of Australia’s national security. 

HMAS Collins was the first submarine to be commissioned in July 1996 and HMAS Rankin was the last to be commissioned in March 2003.  The Collins Class was designed with a theoretical platform life of 28 years, which provides for an on paper indicative service life for the fleet of 2024 to 2031. 

The Service Life Evaluation Program was undertaken by Defence to identify any issues that would prevent Australia’s fleet of Collins Class Submarines from achieving their current theoretical platform life and planned withdrawal dates. 

Additionally, the study also considered the possibility of a service life extension for the Collins fleet beyond the current on paper service life for the fleet of 2024 to 2031.  

The study found there is no single technical issue that would fundamentally prevent the Collins Class submarines from achieving their theoretical platform life, their planned withdrawal dates, or a service life extension of one operating cycle for the fleet, which is currently around seven years, excluding full cycle docking periods.  As well, under the Coles Review into Submarine Sustainment, improved management of the Collins Class is expected to extend the operating cycle.  

Using a similar approach, other Navies have successfully extended the theoretical life of their submarine fleets.  For example, the United States Navy has extended the life of the Ohio Class submarine fleet from 30 to 40 years. 

The service life evaluation examined 145 platform and mission systems across the Collins Class Submarines to determine long-term supportability. 

Four major Australian companies that are currently contracted to support the Collins Class Submarines assisted in the study.  The United States Navy was also engaged to provide an independent review of the key evaluation outputs.  

The outcomes will also be included as part of the implementation of the Coles Review into Submarine Sustainment recommendations.  

Media contacts:

Minister Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton 0467 784 528

Minister Clare’s Office: Annie Williams 0428 040 522

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