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Collins Class Submarine Program

ASC workers on a submarine in the water

ASC exceeded the RAN’s maintenance performance targets, delivering submarine availability at historically high levels.

As a trusted partner within Australia’s Submarine Enterprise, ASC supports the nation’s submarine capability by delivering platform system integration services, design, engineering, maintenance, supply chain services, training and submarine lifecycle support.

Together with the RAN, CASG, and industry partners, ASC continues to exceed world’s best performance benchmarks for submarine availability and efficiency.

In 2019/20, ASC completed the third and final year of its In-Service Support Contract (ISSC) for CCSM Performance Period Three (PP3) which commenced on 1 July 2017. During 2019/20, ASC exceeded the RAN’s maintenance performance targets, delivering submarine availability at historically high levels with increased submarine reliability and deployed submarine support, including crucial support to a number of international deployments.

Collins Class Submarine Maintenance

ASC completed its third, two-year FCD at ASC North in Osborne, SA, when HMAS Waller was handed back to the RAN in May 2020. This FCD included initiatives which generated efficiencies including the reduction of diesel engine refurbishment time by 40 percent and main motor refurbishment time by 32 percent.

HMAS Waller was the first of the Collins fleet to receive a sonar system upgrade, ensuring the CCSM remains a dominant and potent class of submarine into the future.

In June 2020, HMAS Dechaineux became the fourth CCSM to commence a two-year FCD at ASC North. This FCD will build upon the efficiencies introduced during the FCD on HMAS Waller.

HMAS Rankin completed its 12-month MCD in December 2019, the second completed at ASC West.

The ongoing development of the required skills within ASC’s workforce increased our capability in both long term maintenance and integration activities during the MCD.

HMAS Collins and Farncomb undertook three month Intermediate Maintenance Periods (IMP) from July to October 2019 and HMAS Sheean completed a six month ID in June 2020.

ASC West’s operational tempo remained at an all-time high with MCDs, IDs, IMPs all being conducted at Henderson, along with five, three week Supported Maintenance Periods and 11 short notice operational support international deployments throughout the year. As the home of international support coordination for the CCSM fleet, ASC West carried out five international deployments, including, concurrent deployment of three operational submarines.

The Impact of COVID 19

Ensuring Australia maintained a potent submarine capability remained a critical strategic requirement of Government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Submarine sustainment work continued at ASC’s sites under new routines and protocols, aligned with the relevant state and federal government policies for COVID-19 management. Changes to ASC’s operations included variations to site and submarine access and density, scheduling practices, workpack processes, meeting protocols, training, and the cessation of non-essential travel.

ASC’s workforce demonstrated its adaptability and commitment to ensure the delivery of major projects to our customer and remained on schedule during the reporting period.

Customer Focus

ASC is committed to delivering improved submarine reliability and cost performance outcomes for our primary customer, the Australian Government.

Consistently striving for improvement, ASC has strengthened the lessons-learned process to identify, assess and action changes through improved analysis of root cause identification and issues raised. ASC continued to work closely with our key supplier partners and the Submarine Enterprise to deliver these outcomes in 2019/20.

The Future

ASC’s vision is to be an enduring and integral part of Australia’s maritime strategy and national security.

ASC’s primary focus remains on the sustainment of the CCSM fleet, working with our Enterprise Partners to ensure its regional superiority and availability. ASC and CASG are working collaboratively towards agreeing upon the future performance period, PP4 ISSC, which will apply from 2020 to 2024.

The CCSM fleet will remain Australia’s frontline submarine until the mid-2030s, requiring maintenance and upgrade, and eventually LOTE. ASC is developing the requirements in consultation with the RAN and CASG, to support CCSM LOTE as the RAN transitions towards a multi-class fleet.

ASC is Australia’s only established sovereign submarine industrial capability.

Australia requires a doubling of its industrial capacity as it transitions to a two-class submarine fleet. The challenge of meeting this demand continues and ASC, along with its partners in the Submarine Enterprise, is managing competing mandates for skilled and experienced workers to ensure that CCSM availability is not adversely impacted.

Performance Targets

During the reporting period, ASC aligned performance targets with its Submarine Enterprise partners to increase availability, reliability and manage cost. The agreed improvements include:

  • Increased Materiel Ready Days to international benchmark levels.
  • Increased focus on implementing submarine capability.
  • Increased focus on implementing submarine reliability and addressing obsolescence issues.
  • Delivery of maintenance activities to schedule and budget, whilst conducting in service support activities and support of operational submarines.

Business Improvements

With the CCSM expected to be operational for the next 15 to 20 years, it is essential ASC’s systems and processes continue to be upgraded to ensure it continues to deliver benchmark performance for the life of the class. In order to achieve this, ASC has embarked on a feasibility study for a Digital Transformation Program (DTP) to ‘future proof’ the CCSM sustainment support system.

The delivery of a ‘requirements phase’ of the DTP included the resolution of critical path scheduling challenges for maintenance activities, a partnership with relevant teams to optimise the maintenance of major submarine systems, and radio frequency identification for improved materiel tracking.

In addition to discrete projects, the improvement team continued to focus on building a culture of continuous improvement across the CCSM program.

The Submarine Enterprise

HMAS Waller being undocked

The Submarine Enterprise Board is the management and governance body for the Submarine Program. Its mandate is to optimise the conditions for achieving Submarine Enterprise performance targets, through collaboration and continuous improvement.

During 2019/20 ASC worked within the Submarine Enterprise to deliver the Australian Government’s capability requirements including:

  • Ongoing upkeep, update and upgrade activities to ensure consistent delivery of capable submarines to the Fleet Commander.
  • Transition from an availability-based model to a deployed-based model to measure and report capability.
  • Consistent efficiency and effectiveness improvements to move beyond benchmark performance.
  • The development and implementation of LOTE plans.
  • Ongoing support for the growth of Australia’s sovereign submarine capability.

Submarine Training and Systems Centre

ASC has delivered training at the Submarine Training and Systems Centre at HMAS Stirling Garden Island naval base since 1992.

The current five year training service contract commenced in July 2018. This contract expanded ASC’s delivery of courses into the Warfare Department and also increased the number of Training Developers.

During 2019/20 ASC:

  • Exceeded all contractual key performance indicators for the period.
  • Delivered 246 training courses.
  • Trained 106 new entry submariners and provided advanced training to 162 submariners.
  • Supported operational submarines with training and certification.
  • Provided training to CASG, CCSM staff and ACSM personnel.
  • Provided specialised training to ASC staff in SA and WA.
  • Further developed the virtual reality suite of training aids to supplement the training of standard operating procedures away from the motion simulator.

ASC continues to invest in growing the capability and capacity of its dedicated training team through recruitment, training and engagement with the Submarine Enterprise.

In 2019/20 COVID-19 requirements increased the use of virtual reality, computer aided instruction and ‘Boat 7’ (virtual submarine) capabilities to continue training while maintaining physical distancing.

The dedication and flexibility of the team ensured ASC delivered all required training courses and assisted the RAN in finding innovative and flexible training delivery solutions.