The first of the Collins class submarines has returned to service after a boost to capability was implemented by one of Defence’s key industry partners.
ASC – formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation - conducted planned maintenance onboard the Collins class in Osborne, South Australia as part of a full-cycle docking and enterprise restructure of submarine maintenance. For her crew, reassuming material control (MATCON) and responsibility for the platform represented an important milestone in her return to service.
HMAS Collins’ Marine Engineering Officer, Lieutenant James Ferrari said it was a significant undertaking.
“A Collins class submarine is an extremely complex platform made up of a multitude of interconnected and interdependent systems.
“After a long period in dock, the task of ensuring that all of those systems function not only individually but also in concert presents significant challenges.
“My team has worked closely with ASC to ensure command is fully informed as to the state of the boat in advance of the transfer of MATCON and that we were well positioned to step in and take over responsibility for the boat as soon as the transfer occurred,” Lieutenant Ferrari said.
The transfer of MATCON between the RAN and ASC during different stages of the lifecycle of Collins class submarines is a key feature of the longstanding and successful partnership between Defence and industry partners.
Leading Seaman Marine Technician Submariner David Costello said working with ASC contractors was a positive experience.
“There are a lot of processes in place to ensure that work on the boat is carried out correctly but what it really comes down to is that the ship’s company have to be confident that contractors working on the boat take her technical integrity as seriously as we do.
“It’s been a great experience to work alongside the ASC contractors and see their level of professionalism first-hand,” Leading Seaman Costello said.
Commanding Officer HMAS Collins, Commander Christopher Ellis was thankful to both ASC and his crew.
“Bringing a boat back into service after a prolonged maintenance period presents a myriad of challenges, which the crew have met with admirable enthusiasm and professionalism,” he said.
“This important milestone of accepting the platform back into the Navy could not have been accomplished without ASC’s hard work and dedication to provide quality workmanship.
“As a result of commendable cooperation between my ship’s company, the larger submarine community, and ASC contractors, I am confident we are on track to return to sea this year with a safe and very capable platform,” Commander Ellis said.
Having now taken MATCON, the crew will oversee the final stages of her maintenance period to include harbour acceptance trials, while working towards readying her, and themselves to go to sea later this year.