Canberra May Reportedly Use Ageing Fleet Until 2050 as New Submarines Delivery Date Not Fixed
11:47 GMT 15.10.2021 (Updated: 13:46 GMT 06.08.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Australia does not exclude keeping some of the ageing homegrown Collins-class submarines in service until 2050, as the exact schedule for obtaining new nuclear-propelled submarines is yet to be fixed, The Guardian reported on Friday.
Under the AUKUS strategic partnership announced last month, Australia intends to acquire at least eight nuclear-propelled submarines. The country, however, is not likely to receive the first vehicle until the late 2030s.
To bridge the "capability gap" until Austalia waits for the new submarines, the government plans to extend the life of six Collins-class submarines by 10 years. Navy chief Vice Admiral Michael Noonan said at a shipbuilding committee hearing that these submarines could have been refitted to stay in service, the newspaper reported.
Given that Australia commissioned the first Collins-class submarines in the late 1990s, their refitting could see them used until they are about 50 years old, The Guardian said, noting that the extensive refitting work can cost up to $6 billion.
The work to upgrade the first submarine is expected to begin between 2026 and 2028.
Under the now-defunct submarine deal with France, Australia would have been able to commission the first vehicle in 2034-2035, the newspaper noted.