Thales Australia has been awarded A$23.7m contract by the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) to deliver enhanced sonar systems of the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins-class submarines.

Under the contract, Thales Australia will design and implement the Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar (MOAS) and High Frequency Intercept Array (HFIA) systems for the six operational Collins-class submarines.

The Mine and Obstacle Avoidance System will have capability to acoustically detect obstacles, including mines.

It is said to be submarine’s critical capability to sustain naval operations due to the threat of mines, as well as other navigational hazards in Australia’s maritime region.

The High Frequency Intercept Array is designed to help detect high frequency emissions like sonars, and emerging undersea threats.

The upgrades are expected to enhance the capability of the Collins-class submarines while boosting the Australian Defence industry.

Australian Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds CSC said that the Mine and Obstacle Avoidance System and High Frequency Intercept Array are important parts of the upgrades to the Collins sonar system.

Reynolds added: “Our six Collins Class submarines are a highly capable and regionally superior capability that are only halfway through their operational life.

“To ensure this capability maintains its edge, we are upgrading and improving its systems including through sonar upgrades.

“With more than 20 years of investment in Australia by Thales and Defence, these upgrades will complement broader improvements to the sonar capability of the Collins Class, ensuring the regional superiority of the fleet into the future.”

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “Once again, we are backing Aussie businesses and creating jobs in our defence industry, which is in turn helping the national economy on its road to recovery after Covid-19.”