Report

Study into the business of sustaining Australia’s strategic Collins Class submarine capability

30 Nov 2012
Description

This study provides an insight into past lessons learnt and solutions provided to ensure the Collins Class fleet of submarines are better sustained and more readily available to be deployed at sea when required.

The study provides an insight into past lessons learnt and solutions provided to ensure the Collins Class fleet of submarines are better sustained and more readily available to be deployed at sea when required.

A key point that was highlighted is that Defence has already implemented into its submarine sustainment and planning policies a number of the study’s recommendations, prior to the final review being released in December 2012.

The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance), ASC Pty Ltd and the Australian Government fully support the implementation of the recommendations.

The study's scope:

The Study was a highly technical examination of commercial, operational, sustainment and management issues around Collins Class sustainment. In essence, the Study set out to answer the following questions:

  1. What is wrong now with the Collins fleet sustainment performance?
  2. What caused the current problems with sustainment performance?
  3. Will improvement initiatives address these issues?
  4. What are the recommendations to resolve the remaining issues?

To complete the work the study team reviewed over 2,500 documents and interviewed over 200 people across the Collins Class Sustainment Program.

Key findings:

The Study found that the Collins Class submarines are capable submarines which are competently designed and operated by the Royal Australian Navy, however, many of the problems with the Collins fleet stemmed from a failure to put in adequate sustainment arrangements on entry into service (from 1996), and subsequently to adopt adequate processes for reliability. This has lead to maintenance backlogs, inefficient practices and reduced submarine availability.

Effective sustainment of the Collins Submarine fleet is vital to Australia’s national security. The need to improve sustainment of the Collins Class submarines, and ensure their availability is a long-standing and well-known issue. To better address these issues, the Study into Collins Class sustainment was initiated.

The Study concludes that the availability and reliability of the Collins fleet can be restored to international benchmarks in about three years. Doing so will mean that the Collins Class Program will be able to meet the Navy requirement of two deployable submarines consistency available. 

The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance), ASC Pty Ltd and the Australian Government fully support the implementation of the recommendations.

A significant move forward for Defence and an example of it taking on board Coles’ recommendations is the introduction of a new five-year performance-based contracting system. The In Service Support Contract (ISSC) aims to ensure work being undertaken on the Collins submarines is quality and delivered on time. The new contract offers DMO options to be exercised subject to satisfactory or unsatisfactory performance.

The new contract was signed in June 2012 and formally began on July 1, 2012.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2012
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