• HMAS Waller leaves Diamantina Pier, HMAS Stirling, to take part in Exercise AUSINDEX 2017 off the west coast of Australia. Credit: Defence
    HMAS Waller leaves Diamantina Pier, HMAS Stirling, to take part in Exercise AUSINDEX 2017 off the west coast of Australia. Credit: Defence

Patrick Durrant | Pacific 2017, Sydney

Approvals on two projects to sustain the capability superiority of the Collins submarine fleet until its replacement by the future submarine were announced today at Pacific 2017.

The first project addresses obsolescence in the control system, known as the Integrated Ship Control Management and Monitoring System (ISCMMS) to allow safe operation of the submarines, while the second provides improved submarine communications capability.

The first stage of the ISCMMS upgrade was awarded to Saab in November 2013, with work commencing on one of the Collins Class boats. The first stage work was valued at around $65 million. Defence had planned for the second stage of the project to update the system in the remaining five Collins Class submarines once installation and testing in the first submarine had been completed. 

Second pass approval has now been given for the second stage. The first stage was due for completion in 2016 but according to Minister Pyne it will now be completed in 2018.  

Minister Pyne said the expertise and experience of Raytheon Australia, in the role of Collins Combat Systems Integrator, will be leveraged to coordinate the communications upgrade.

ADM understands this forms part of Sea 1439 Phase 5B Stage 2 (Collins Communications and Electronic Warfare Improvement Program) which was slated for Second Pass in 2016-17. This follows on from Stage 1, under which the first replacement communication and EW suites are in the final stages of delivery by Raytheon. Stage 2 will provide additonal capabilities including wideband satellite communications. 

“The first stage of this project provides an obsolescence update for the external communications system, with the first installation to complete in December 2017,” Minister Pyne said.

“The next stage will install improved communications capabilities, with the first installation to be completed in 2020. This will include enhancements to both the satellite communications and on-board Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capabilities. These capabilities are essential for our submarines to effectively conduct their principal roles and will provide the ability to rapidly share large quantities of information in high threat environments.”

The suite of satellite communications upgrades include the Super High Frequency and Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications platforms.

“The Super High Frequency band satellite communications will increase information exchange and support core Defence business functions, while the Advanced Extremely High Frequency component will provide satellite communications and supporting capabilities to further enhance operational information,” Minister Pyne said.

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