04 Juli 2014
ASC managing director Steve Ludlam in front of the tail of a Collins Class submarine at Techport in Adelaide. (photo : Adelaide Now)
PROBLEMS with the Collins submarine maintenance program run by ASC have been fixed, the Federal Government says.
Following the Coles review which identified the problems, the ASC “has done exceptionally well in recovering productivity levels”, Defence Minister David Johnston said.
“(John Coles) said to me that the transformation he has observed over the past two and a half years has been remarkable,” Senator Johnston told the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
“I want to say here in Adelaide that that is down to (ASC chief executive) Steve Ludlam and his team.
“We have recovered the situation with submarines.
“Save for the fire on HMAS Waller we would have three submarines in the water ready to be tasked.
“That is a massive, massive improvement for us.
“So the news on that side is actually very good.”
In February, a fire broke out on HMAS Waller while it was on the surface in the seas off WA. There were no casualties.
Earlier this year Senator Johnston said that in the period between October 2009 and February 2010, none of the six Collins boats were available for service.
The review by UK expert John Coles was commissioned in 2011 and reported in November 2012.
Senator Johnston said the air warfare destroyer building program needed to improve before he could take any future ship-building proposals to Cabinet.
He defended blocking Australian companies from bidding to build two supply ships, saying the ships were too large for Australian capability and that time was too short.
Only South Korean and Spanish shipyards have been invited to tender.
Australia had had to ask Spain and New Zealand to help with supply ships because of the lack of Royal Australian Navy vessels, he said.
This included the need to refuel and provision at sea naval vessels being used in the Sovereign Borders operation.
“This is unacceptable,” he said.
“We have a time constraint, we must get on with the job, we need two large replenishment ships as soon as possible.”
Originally published as Collins submarine problems fixed.