The Australian Defence Materiel Organisation has awarded a contract to Thales to upgrade sonar equipment for the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) Collins-class Type 471 diesel-electric submarines.
.Defence materiel minister Jason Clare said sonar systems on the Collins-class submarines would enable them to safely navigate and operate effectively underwater using acoustic signals.
Under the $22.2m contract, Thales will replace obsolescent electronic components to enhance reliability while reducing space, weight and power requirements.
The company will install modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components to replace existing equipment in the Scylla signal processing cabinets and re-host the software.
"The updating of this equipment is key to ensuring our Collins-class submarines remain operationally capable and reliable," Clare added.
Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said, "The Collins-class submarines have a very capable sonar suite, but time has moved on and we are now leveraging advances in technology to deliver an important update that will treat obsolescence and result in substantial space, power and weight savings."
Following the completion of sea trials in 2013, the upgrade work is scheduled to be completed on the first of six submarines in 2014.
The submarines have been designed to carry up to 22 missiles and torpedoes, as well as six 533mm forward torpedo tubes with air turbine pump discharge.
In addition to providing maritime surveillance, the Kockums-designed Collins-class submarines provide maritime strike and interdiction, reconnaissance and intelligence collection capability to the Australian Defence Force.
For the next four years, the Australian Government has provided additional funds of $700m in support of Collins-class submarine sustainment programme.
Work under the recent contract will be carried out at the company's facility in Rydalmere, New South Wales.
Image: The Collin-class HMAS Waller submarine docked at a shipyard. Photo: file image.