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Collins Class fleet to receive $6bn service life extension

Defence Connect reports that Defence will invest approximately $6 billion in a life-of-type extension (LOTE) for all six of the RAN’s Collins Class submarines.

Defence had initially planned to upgrade just three of the platforms ahead of the delivery of the 12 Naval Group-built Attack Class submarines, promised under Project SEA 1000.

However, given that the Future Submarines are not scheduled to achieve final operational capability (FOC) until 2054, a decision has been made to ensure at least six vessels are combat-ready throughout the delivery period.

The Collins LOTE program is expected to involve rebuilding each submarine once it achieves 30 years of service, with each upgrade scheduled to take approximately two years.

The submarines will reportedly be rebuilt by ASC in Adelaide, with the work to be supported by Saab, the original prime contractor for the development of the fleet.

Contracts for the full suite of work to be undertaken are yet to be finalised.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton acknowledged the disruptions associated with Project SEA 1000, adding that Defence would continue to liaise with Naval Group and industry stakeholders to address challenges.

“Clearly there have been problems with the arrangements with Naval Group,” he said.

“There has been concern on both sides in relation to the program and I need to make sure that we have the best capacity available to us and that contractual arrangements are being met.”

Naval Group has sought to address operational challenges by appointing a new leader.

The company has appointed Lilian Brayle as the permanent replacement for Jean-Michel Billig as executive vice president of its Future Submarines program, effective from 31 May.

Brayle, who was previously CEO of SAFRAN Australia and is an Australian citizen, has taken over from Laurent Espinasse, who served as interim EVP.

Brayle is responsible for managing the teams in France and in Australia to deliver the 12 Attack Class submarines “on cost and on schedule”.

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