Thales UK has completed delivery of the first replacement bow sonar array for Australia’s Collins-class submarine upgrade programme.

The company is under contract to provide six replacement bow sonar arrays for Collins-class submarines.

Thales’s design and manufacturing teams at Cheadle and Templecombe worked on the construction of the first bow sonar array for installation on the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) HMAS Waller.

Australia is performing upgrades to the Collins-class submarines to extend their service-life into the 2030s until a new generation of submarine is ready.

Thales was contracted by the Australian Government to upgrade the sonar systems on all six Collins-class vessels. The existing sonar system has been in service since the 1980s.

“It was apparent from day one that we couldn’t run this programme in the traditional way and we’d have to tailor our processes heavily to overlap activities.”

The contract involves construction of a modular cylindrical array (MCA) based on Sonar 2076 submarine technology developed by Thales teams to replace the Collins’ legacy cylindrical array.

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The programme also involves Raytheon Australia as the combat system integrator and other companies including Sonartech Atlas, and L3 Oceania.

Thales project manager Mike Canning said: “It was apparent from day one that we couldn’t run this programme in the traditional way and we’d have to tailor our processes heavily to overlap activities.

“The fact we’ve delivered it in line with the customer expectations is a huge credit to the people who had to work long hours and make difficult decisions to do things right, but in the timescale available.”

The Collins Sonar Capability Assurance Programme (CSCAP) is part of the SEA1439 refit programme designed to enhance capabilities of the submarines.

The Collins-class submarines are currently undergoing a refit at the ASC Osborn South dockyard near Adelaide, South Australia.