A New Collins Mixer (Dec 2002)

(c) K.B. Sherman

Raytheon Australia recently announced that the Royal Australian Navy has selected the Raytheon CCS MK II tactical command and control system to replace the combat system currently aboard Australia’s Collins Class submarines. The CCS Mk II is currently being fitted aboard many of the US Navy’s submarines. Raytheon Australia (Canberra) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Raytheon Company (Lexington, MA). The CCS upgrade is to be part of an overall upgrade of the class is to be done at the Port Adelaide shipyard in Australia.

Ms. Jane Wencland, Business Development Manager for Raytheon Submarine and Underseas Systems spoke about this development. “The Collins Class combat system has been troublesome for the RAN for some time,” she said. “Several years ago the MOD issued a call for a replacement, with STN entered the competition.” According to Wencland, the RAN subsequently announced competition was cancelled and they were going to partner with USN for new system. Then, in late September, the MOD announced they were going to use the Raytheon CCS Mk II Combat System as the replacement system. “STN will remain involved as a contractor of the submarine class’ provider of sonar systems.”

The CCS Mk II Combat Control System is the latest upgrade and has been installed aboard USS Sturgeon (SSN-637)- and Los Angeles (SSN-688 and 688I)-class submarines with an upgraded shallow water variant of the Mk 48 ADCAP torpedo. Additional capabilities are Tomahawk Block III, an interface to Acoustics Rapid COTS (A-RCI) upgrades, and an interface to the Global Command and Control System- Maritime (GCCS-M), formerly called the Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS).

The 3,050-ton, 770-foot diesel-electric Collins class submarine is highly capable and extremely quiet, and can carry the McDonnell Douglas Sub Harpoon with a range of 70 nautical miles at mach 0.9. It also carries the Mk 48 Mod 4 wire-guided torpedo with a range of 27 NM at 55 knots, or mines in lieu of torpedoes.

For self-defense, the Collins class carries two Strachan and Henshaw (UK) submerged signal and decoy ejectors welded to the hull, plus an Argo AR-740 electronic support measures unit. The Argo AR-740 operates in the 2-18GHz radar band for coarse and fine monopulse direction finding and uses a superheterodyne/IFM receiver and high-speed pulse signal processor for detection and identification. There is also a Kelvin Hughes (Essex, UK) Type 1007 I-band navigation radar, Thales (Bath, UK) CK043 search periscope, and an CK093 attack periscope, both of which incorporate a suite of thermal imagers, image intensifiers and low light television sensors. The CCS upgrades are tentatively scheduled for 2005-2006.

Teams from the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corp. will oversee the upgrade under an initial $20 million, three-year contract. Part of the contract includes helping the RAN become more self-sufficient in maintaining their submarine fleet. All this work is part of the plan to privatize maintenance of Australia’s submarine resources. According to Prime Minister John Howard, the Collins upgrades may be worth as much as $ 420 million (Australian) over the next six years, and as much as $ 1 billion over the next 25 years.