Australia’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group chief scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky has released a new study that provides a brief discussion on the considerations behind the decision about the replacement of the Collins-class submarines.
Australia is undertaking one of its largest defence projects, the Future Submarine Programme (SEA1000), under which the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) existing Collins-class submarines will be replaced with 12 new boats.
Titled 'Australia’s requirement for submarines', the study stated that the new capability will enable the country to mount a sustained presence over seaways traversing the South-East Asian archipelago to protect its maritime borders.
It also noted that the nation's defence capability will be further bolstered as submarines can operate in forward areas, where more readily detectable assets, such as ships and aircraft would be denied access.
With the new fleet, which will be twice the Collins-class size, Australia is expected to have ownership of a highly effective submarine capability for many years to come, according to the study.
In April 2016, French company DCNS won a competitive evaluation process with its conventionally powered Shortfin Barracuda design.
The new replacement submarines will be built in Adelaide, Australia, and feature similar range and sensor performance, stealth and endurance as that of the Collins-class submarines.
The RAN currently operates a fleet of six Australian Submarine Corporation-built Collins-class submarines, which are designed to carry up to 22 missiles and torpedoes, as well as six 533mm forward-torpedo tubes with air-turbine pump discharge.