Collins Class Submarine

Collins Program Masthead

Conceived in the 1980s, the Collins Class are Australia's current submarines and are planned to remain in service as Australia's potent and enduring submarine capability until the 2030s. The Collins Class was evolved to meet Australian requirements from a base Swedish submarine design with headline characteristics including range, endurance, stealth, sensor performance and lethality.

There are six submarines in the Collins Class fleet, each named after former Royal Australian Navy personnel who served with distinction:

  • HMAS Collins
  • HMAS Farncomb
  • HMAS Waller
  • HMAS Dechaineux
  • HMAS Sheean
  • HMAS Rankin

Despite providing Australia with an outstanding submarine capability that has performed very credibly on operations, the Collins Class has suffered well documented periods of poor availability. Informed by the Coles Report of November 2012 into The Business of Sustaining Australia's Strategic Collins Class Submarine Capability, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) (in close collaboration with Navy and industry) transformed Collins sustainment to attain benchmark levels of availability from mid-2016. Mr Coles conducted a progress review in early 2014 from which he concluded that Collins availability had experienced "a remarkable turnaround", and in his final review in 2016, Mr Coles suggested Collins might now be considered an 'exemplar project', having achieved the Navy’s availability requirement (based on Coles’ international benchmark) in Financial Year 2016/17. The Submarine Enterprise continues to achieve above benchmark availability for Navy.

A 2012 Defence study into a Collins service life extension confirmed that the life of the Collins submarines could be extended by an additional operating cycle. The Submarine Enterprise (Navy, CASG and industry) completed initial Life of Type Extension (LOTE) studies in 2016/17 to identify the activities required to extend the Collins class. Defence and Industry studies are currently underway to plan these activities. This will ensure there is no capability gap before the Attack class submarines enter service in the early 2030s.

Scheduled upgrades, in particular to the combat, weapon, sonar and communications systems, maintain Collins' capability edge. Combat and weapon system upgrades were completed and the project closed in February 2019. Project SEA1439 Phases 5B1 and 5B2 deliver communications upgrades, while SEA1439 Phase 6 will deliver sonar upgrades.

Key industry partners for the Collins Class include:

  • ASC
  • Raytheon Australia
  • Thales
  • BAE Systems
  • Pacific Marine Batteries
  • James Fisher Australia (escape and rescue).

Read more about the submarines' specifications and history