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Australian Collins-class subs getting sonar upgrades

Collins-class submarines
Australian defense ministry file photo

Royal Australian Navy Collins-class submarines will be receiving upgraded sonar systems delivered by Thales Australia under two contracts worth A23.7 million (approx. US$18 million).

The two contracts are for the design and implementation of the mine and obstacle avoidance system (MOAS) and the high frequency intercept array for the submarine fleet.

Defense minister Linda Reynolds said both the Herron MOAS and the high frequency intercept array are important parts of the upgrades to the Collins sonar system.

The Herron system provides enhanced detection, coupled with a low false alarm rate, against dangers ranging from small mine-like objects to reefs, shoals, and hazardous objects like displaced shipping containers.

“With more than 20 years of investment in Australia by Thales and defense, these upgrades will complement broader improvements to the sonar capability of the Collins-class, ensuring the regional superiority of the fleet into the future,” Linda Reynolds said.

“Because of this government’s action, we have a Collins-class submarine that is now exceeding the Royal Australian Navy’s availability requirement.”

Australia is currently in the process of completing the mid-life overhaul of its Collins-class fleet. The submarines in the class had initially been expected to start retiring in 2025, but they will have to remain active for a longer period due to the delays in the Attack-class program. HMAS Attack, the first of 12 diesel-electric boats being built under the AU$50 billion program is scheduled for delivery in the early 2030s.