Australia’s Collins-class submarines will need a multibillion-dollar refit to keep them active for another decade due to the delayed rollout of the next-generation French submarines, which won’t be ready for operational service until the mid-2030s.
The refits, worth “greater than $3.5bn” — at least $583m per submarine — will replace the boats’ motors and diesel generators, and upgrade key systems.
The works will keep the six Collins-class submarines in the water for an additional 10 years beyond their scheduled retirement, guarding against a capability gap as French company Naval Group builds a $90bn fleet of new Attack-class submarines.
The life of the first of the 1980s-designed Collins subs will be extended until 2038, while the last of the refurbished boats will now retire as late as 2048.
The first of the nation’s 12 next-generation submarines — acquired under the deal with the French company — won’t be ready for operational service until at least 2034.
Defence revealed to a parliamentary committee that the minimum cost of the Collins-class “life-of-type extension” program was $3.5bn, but wouldn’t provide the exact budget for the program. (end of excerpt)
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