Thales Australia wins $100m contract to upgrade Australia’s Collins class submarine sonar systems

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Thales Australia has been awarded a $100 million pre-production contract to design a major sonar system upgrade for Collins class submarines.

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In announcing the contract award, Minister Pyne said Thales Australia will engage other Australian-based companies including Sonartech Atlas and L3 Oceania, as well as suppliers from the UK and France to design the Collins sonar system upgrade.

“The sonar system upgrade will install improved sonar sensor arrays aboard each of the Collins submarines, as well as improved signal processing systems,” the Minister said.

According to him, the Australian industry component of the contract is worth approximately $50 million and will support around 50 Australian jobs in Sydney and Perth.

“This is a clear example of our commitment to building and harnessing the innovation potential of Australia’s defence industry, as outlined in the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement,” Mr Pyne remarked.

Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales in Australia said the company will build on its local and international expertise to prepare for upgrades to the submarines’ cylindrical array, flank array, and on-board processing to maintain Royal Australian Navy superiority in the region.

He said Thales will utilise some of the latest developments in underwater sensing to replace the Collins arrays, which have not been upgraded since first entering service in the mid-1990s.

“The Collins class sonars have proven very effective over many years, and now we are preparing for the upgrade to ensure they remain at the forefront of sensing performance,” Mr Jenkins concluded.