Thales Sonar Upgrades to Extend Australia’s Collins-class Submarine Capability
SILVERWATER, New South Wales, Australia — Australia’s strategic priority on enhancing its submarine capability will be supported by Thales through major upgrades of the sonar systems on all six Collins-class submarines, the company said in a June 14 release.
The $171.3 million contract with Thales is part of a $403.8 million project approved by the Australian government for the upgrade of the Collins-class sensor capabilities, the key to extending the life and the regional superiority of the Collins fleet.
Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said the Collins sonar upgrades continued a 30-year history of support for the Collins program since the original transfer of sonar technology from France in the 1980s that formed the basis of the underwater systems business in Australia.
“It is critical that Australia maintain the highest levels of submarine capability from the Collins fleet until the Future Submarine enters service. 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,” Jenkins said.
Manufacturing and integration work will be carried out at Thales’s underwater systems center of excellence in Rydalmere, Western Sydney, supporting more than 140 jobs, including 50 people directly employed on the project.
In an internationally collaborative program, the Collins’ legacy cylindrical array will be replaced with a Modular Cylindrical Array (MCA) based on Sonar 2076 submarine technology developed by Thales teams in the United Kingdom. The existing flank array will be replaced by the latest generation flank array from Thales teams in France.
Thales will work with local industry including Raytheon Australia as the Combat System Integrator to deliver the upgrades for the six submarines integrating products from other Australian providers including Sonartech Atlas and L3 Oceania.