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Monday, 16 November 2009
Page: 11860

Mr Baldwin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence in writing, on 7 September 2009.

(1)   As at 7 September 2009, how many Collins Class submarines (a) were able to be deployed on operations, (b) could the Royal Australian Navy (Navy) crew, and (c) were undergoing maintenance.

(2)   On what date will the Collins Class submarines undergoing maintenance be operationally ready.

(3)   In the 12 months from 7 September 2009, how many Collins Class submarines will be (a) available for operations, and (b) required to undergo maintenance, and for what length of time.

(4)   What is the minimum number of personnel required to man a Collins Class submarine.

(5)   As at 7 September 2009, how many Navy personnel manned each Collins Class submarine and was this number of personnel sufficient; if not, how many extra personnel does the Navy require to adequately man the Collins Class fleet.

Mr Combet (Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science and Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change) —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:


(a)   The Government does not comment on certain aspects of submarine availability for security reasons. However, the Navy continues to meet operational requirements.

(b)   Three submarines are presently crewed and in various stages of their operating and maintenance cycles.

(c)   The remaining three are in or awaiting longer term maintenance cycles.

(2)   The Government has, for security reasons, a long standing policy of not commenting on the operational aspects or detailed capabilities of the Navy’s Submarine Force. Submarine availability and maintenance are carefully managed to ensure operational availability.


(a)   Due to security concerns, Defence does not comment on the specifics of submarine operational availability.

(b)   The force structure of six submarines is designed to allow submarines to undergo maintenance; this is known as force rotation. In a 12 month period, all submarines will undergo maintenance for varying lengths of time.

(4)   The minimum number of personnel required to safely take a Collins Class submarine to sea is 35, however this number does not enable sustained operations.

(5)   The three crewed Collins Class submarines are sufficiently manned with 155 qualified submariners.