Published Resources Details Journal Article
- Cutting Edge: The Collins experience
- Strategic Insights
- February 2006
Australia's defence planners are already turning their minds to the next generation submarine. The key question is whether, now that Australia possesses indigenous submarine design and construction skills, we should plan on building the next generation submarine?
The government will have to make a decision early next decade whether to go ahead with an Australian build of the next generation submarine. Advanced design work would have to commence by 2014-15 for an in-service date of 2026. This requires a commitment of funds in the ten year long DCP within the next two to three years. With little prospect of an off-the-shelf foreign built submarine meeting Australia's needs, it makes sense to get as early a start as possible.
The more probable outcome is a conventional submarine evolved from the Collins design. The new class would be equipped with a second generation Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, state of the art battery systems and far superior communications systems. It would almost certainly include an unmanned underwater vehicle capability.
A successful transition from the Collins Class to the next generation of Australian-built submarines will require another bold commitment from government as well as intense collaboration by Defence and DSTO with local industry. The close naval partnership that has developed with the US will also be vital for success. An alliance with a US submarine builder will be essential as will sound relationships with European technology suppliers. The all-round experience gained from the Collins Class augurs well for the future.