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Thursday, 10 May 2007
Page: 176

Mr Fitzgibbon asked the Minister for Defence, in writing, on 28 February 2007:

What is the average operational sailing time for the Collins class submarine (a) for 2005, (b) for 2006 and (c) forecast for 2007, and to what extent has any change in this average been driven by the availability of skilled crews.

Dr Nelson (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The Collins class submarine force has achieved the following days at sea:

(a)   In 2005, the submarine force achieved a total of 490 days at sea with an average of 113 days per available submarine.

(b)   In 2006, the submarine force achieved a total of 459 days at sea with an average 106 days per available submarine.

(c)   In 2007, the submarine force is forecast to achieve a total of 397 days at sea with an average of 88 days per available submarine.

The availability of submarines historically has been governed by two factors; those being the maintenance schedule and Navy-instituted constraints which aim to reduce the impact of prolonged submarine sea service on Navy personnel

Submariners are being recruited into the RAN through:

Direct Recruitment - Members of the public can now be recruited directly into Submarine service, without first gaining qualifications in surface ships.

Lateral Recruitment - Navy is focussing on internally marketing to attract existing recruits who are best placed to transition quickly into submarine service.

More Recruitment Resources - A new Submarine Careers Team has been created.

Training submarine - Navy will use HMAS COLLINS while it is berthed alongside HMAS STIRLING, for training additional submariners.