The Collins Class submarine boasts a range of high-tech features including a high performance hull form that provides good stealth and high shock resistance. The submarine’s electrical and mechanical systems are controlled and monitored remotely from consoles, and its advanced weapons and sensors contribute to a wide range of roles including maritime warfare and intelligence collection.
Noise is one of a Submariner's biggest enemies. Some noises can be detected in the water at great distances. Collins Class submarines are designed to be quiet and incorporate advanced technology to achieve this.
The Collins Class submarine was developed from a Swedish Navy design and underwent significant modifications to meet Australia’s unique requirements.
Propulsion and power
The Collins Class submarine has three diesel engines connected to electric generators which charge a large bank of batteries. To run the diesel engines, the submarine must be on or just below the surface so that it can draw air into the submarine for the diesel engines. Once the batteries are charged, the submarine can operate at various depths.
Most of the time the submarine will operate on battery power as this provides great flexibility and minimises noise. The batteries (or the generators themselves) feed an advanced power conversion and distribution system that supplies all on board equipment, including the large electric motors that drive the propeller.
High-tech torpedoes and combat system
The Collins Class submarine operates the MK48 heavyweight torpedo and Harpoon anti-ship missiles which can be launched while the submarine remains submerged. The Collins Class submarine is also fitted with the AN/BYG-1 tactical and weapon control system. The torpedos and combat control system are both jointly developed with the United States Navy and incorporate the latest technology. The torpedos are capable of disabling a large ship with a single hit and are one of the most potent weapons in the Australian Defence Force inventory.
Collins Class submarines are sophisticated, deep diving vessels, capable of fulfilling a range of maritime military tasks. With their stealth, powerful sensors and the ability to loiter in an opponent's operating areas for extended periods, they are the most capable anti-submarine platform in the Australian Defence Force, with the ability to neutralise submarine and surface ship threats thousands of miles from any Australian base.
Work is now underway to design Australia’s Future Submarine. This will incorporate many state of the art features to ensure the Future Submarine capability is regionally superior. This will see a doubling in the number of Australian submarines, with the 6 Collins Class submarines being replaced with 12 Future Submarines. The Submarine workforce will need to increase significantly to support this and there are a wide range of opportunities in this area, in particular warfare, engineering and logistics.