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Canberra December 8, 2003 - The Commonwealth and the Australian Submarine Corporation have today signed a contract worth up to $3.5 billion over 25 years to refit the Collins class submarines.
The contract was signed at a special ceremony in Adelaide attended by Defence Minister Robert Hill and the Minister for Finance and Administration, Nick Minchin.
The contract will build on the remarkable achievements made by Australian industry during the construction of the Collins Class, which are widely regarded as the most capable conventional submarines of their kind in the world.
Under the contract ASC will integrate capability enhancements, such as a new combat system and a heavyweight torpedo, to ensure that the technical capabilities of the submarines are maintained.
Senator Hill and Senator Minchin said Australia had joined a small elite group of countries with the technical and industrial capability to build, maintain and support future design of submarines.
Our ability to develop such a complicated piece of military equipment means that the Navy has submarines with the features it wants: long endurance, very quiet, shock resistant and stealthy.
The Collins class has become a key element of Australia's defence force, both as a surveillance and intelligence gathering-platform during peacetime and as a forceful opponent and expeditionary force during times of war.
No other conventional submarine in the world is capable of challenging the technical capabilities of the Collins class submarines. In the water they are practically invisible.
The Collins class has an extremely high level of technical complexity. Each submarine comprises more than 500 000 assembled parts and requires in excess of 2.5 million person-hours to assemble.
Senator Hill and Senator Minchin said the contract signing fulfilled the Howard Government's 2001 election commitment that ASC would perform all submarine full-cycle dockings at its Osborne facility in South Australia.
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