February 6, 2020

Why didn't Australia choose Saab for "Son of Collins" Submarines?

At ASPI Strategist is an excellent article by Marcus Hellyer "The compounding risk in Australia’s transition to new submarines" of  February 6, 2020. 

Hellyer raises many interesting questions including: why Australia didn't build a "Son of Collins" and why Saab (which acquired Collins builder Kockums) wasn’t invited to participate in the 2015-2016 competitive evaluation process (CEP). Here is a small part of Hellyer's article:

"...[Australia's Department of] Defence has also started to reveal the scope of the life-of-type extension (LOTE) program in the 2020s] see here (page 31) and here (pages 17–22). In addition to all the usual maintenance and obsolescence management of a full-cycle docking, Defence wants to replace the Collins’ main motor, diesel generators, and electrical conversion and distribution system with new hardware made by the suppliers for the future submarine.
Interestingly, Defence has also said that these are three of the five most important systems on the future submarine. It is also looking at mast and sensor updates (for example, replacing periscopes with modern digital optronics masts) as well as combat system updates.
In short, the LOTE concept is starting to look a lot like a son of Collins—which Defence told the Senate in 2015 wasn’t worth the cost and risk involved. This poses serious questions about Defence’s risk-mitigation strategy for the submarine transition...."
See Marcus Hellyer's full, excellent article HERE.

Pete Comment
See my March 2016 articles here and here on the Collins midlife upgrade/extension issues. In addition to new hardware for the combat systems, new lead-acid batteries, more extensive than usual derusting and new sonars, adding new diesels, motors and electricals could mean more than A$1.5 Billion for each Collins. 

This price is high because these are none standard upgrades to a unique submarine type. There are no standard upgrades packages (enjoying economies of scale) that apply to TKMS Type 209s, 214s, Naval Group Scorpenes and Russian built Kilo submarines.

1 comment:

Lee McCurtayne said...

The more I read, it confirms a natural evolution of the Collins, change of what obviously needs to up upgraded, possible length changes, possible AIP, VSL, Kawasaki diesels, so much to evolve the Collins with, the possibilities are insurmountable. This would be exactly what other countries do to “evolve” their brand, gradual, mature approach to be a “Mature” submarine builder. “And the price would not be $80 billion.