01 Mei 2009

Last Collins-class Submarine Joins Royal Australian Navy

31 Mei 2003
Collins class submarine of the Royal Australian Navy (photo : Janes)

The sixth and final unit of Australia's Collins-class submarines has been commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy. The HMAS Rankin (SSK 78) was commissioned at the HMAS Stirling Fleet Base on 29 March 2003, ending the nation's first indigenous submarine program and probably the most complex shipbuilding project in the nation's history.

Built by the Australia Submarine Corporation (ASC), all six Collinsclass submarines were delivered at a final cost of approximately $3.4 billion, in essence more than $500 million per unit, considerably higher than the cost of the average diesel-electric submarine available on the international market. Most of the additional costs are associated with infrastructure improvements at ASC and training for submarine construction, as well as repairs and upgrades that are usually associated with a country that attempts to build a complex system for the first time.

Unfortunately for Australia, ASC will no longer have any new program to sustain its work force now that the Collins class is complete. ASC, like every other shipyard in Australia, is facing severe over-capacity as many of the naval programs of the 1980s and 1990s are now complete with no significant orders for many years. Although considered extremely effective by allied navies that have operated with it, the Collins class was wrought with problems that delayed the final deliveries by two years and resulted in program cost overruns of as much as $700 million.

(Navy League)

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