The Collins Class submarines will increase their operational effectiveness in hazardous, shallow waters through the delivery of sovereign Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar (MOAS) and High Frequency Intercept Array (HFIA) systems.
In an announcement made in late December, Thales Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) said they have signed a $23.7M contract to deliver these next generation systems.
The Heron MOAS is an Australian designed and developed system and the result of more than 20 years of investment in Australia by Thales, the RAN and Defence Science and Technology to develop sonar systems tailored to Navy’s unique operating requirements.
Mine and obstacle avoidance capability is critical to sustain naval operations due to the rapidly evolving threat of mines, as well as other navigational hazards in the shallow, poorly charted waters that are prevalent throughout Australia's maritime region.
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.
The High Frequency Intercept Array (HFIA) will enhance the submarine’s ability to detect high frequency emissions like sonars, and emerging undersea threats.
“These advanced systems are designed, developed, integrated and sustained in Australia. Enhancing our world leading sovereign industrial capability in sonar systems," Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said. “Together, these contracts will support approximately 30 jobs at our Rydalmere site in western Sydney and additional jobs with our supply chain partners."