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Learning from Experience

Learning from Experience: Volume IV: Lessons from Australia's Collins Submarine Program

Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 86
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  • Book Info
    Learning from Experience
    Book Description:

    This volume presents a set of lessons learned from Australia’s Collins submarine program that could help inform future program managers. Collins was the first submarine built in Australia. RAND investigated how operational requirements were set for the Collins class; explored the acquisition, contracting, design, and build processes that the program employed; and assessed the activities surrounding integrated logistics support for the class.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7757-8
    Subjects: Technology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xxii)

    To design and construct conventional or nuclear-powered submarines, modern navies and shipbuilders need personnel and organizations that possess unique and specialized skills and expertise. Submarines are among the most complex systems that countries produce, and the technical personnel, designers, construction tradesmen, and program managers who work on them represent pools of knowledge that take years to develop and cannot be replicated easily or quickly.

    In years past, the pace of construction on replacement submarines was quick enough in most countries that key technical and management personnel in submarine programs were able both to work on a stream of successive submarines...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Lessons from past experiences are an important tool for preparing managers to conduct future programs successfully. This is especially true for the management of complex military programs governed by various rules, regulations, procedures, and relationships not typically found in commercial projects. In the past, frequent new programs would afford the opportunity for junior-level managers to gain experience, preparing them for more senior management roles in future programs. However, the longer operational lives of current naval platforms and the pressures of constrained defense budgets have resulted in longer gaps between the start of new programs in many countries. The managers of...

  9. CHAPTER TWO History of Australia’s Submarine Fleet
    (pp. 3-8)

    The genesis of the Australian submarine fleet was in May 1914, two months before the onset of World War I, when two British-built submarines—the AE1 and the AE2—were delivered to Australian authorities in Sydney by the Royal Navy. Later that year, the AE1 was part of an Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force sent to seize and destroy German wireless stations in New Guinea; it never returned from a patrol out of Rabaul.

    The AE2 met a similar fate in the Gallipoli Campaign. In April 1915, the AE2 successfully penetrated the narrows in the Dardanelles Strait and attacked...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Setting the Requirements: Evolutionary Versus Revolutionary Approach
    (pp. 9-14)

    This chapter describes how the operational requirements for the Collins class were set early in the program. Establishing the desired capabilities for a platform greatly impacts the technological risk involved in the program and affects the program’s overall conduct.

    The Australian submarine force fulfils a number of roles—maritime surveillance, maritime strike and interdiction, reconnaissance and intelligence collection, special forces operations, and protection of vital sea lanes. The RAN wanted the new class of submarines to be more capable in these roles than its existing fleet of Oberons, which were expected to begin retiring from service in the early 1990s....

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Contracting and Acquisition Strategy
    (pp. 15-20)

    When Australia started its search for a submarine designer in the 1980s, only nine companies worldwide designed and built diesel submarines. Seven of them were invited to provide proposals for the Collins project definition studies.¹

    The initial request for tender (RFT) specified that the selected design should be one that was then in service or would be in service by 1986. The purpose of this was to reduce the project risk. Respondents to the tender were also expected to have some experience building a submarine in the host nation and were asked to explain how they would promote Australian industry...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Designing and Building the Collins-Class Vessels
    (pp. 21-34)

    Because Kockums had been selected as the design contractor, the design team was in Mälmo, Sweden—separated by more than 15,000 km and over eight time zones from the hull construction site in Adelaide and the project office in Canberra. This separation presented communication and data-sharing challenges. A team of 18 Australian designers was sent to Mälmo to work with the Swedish designers, and the RAN sent a 20-person team to supervise the design and clarify requirements. Kockums was designated the design authority responsible for initial design, design review, and internal design approval of material systems, and for the design...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Lessons from the Collins Program
    (pp. 35-56)

    Any time a person, organization, or country undertakes a complex task for the first time with little relevant background experience, there are bound to be risks that are underestimated or unknown, leading to problems during the program. This is certainly true of the Collins experience, and there are numerous lessons to inform future programs and decisionmakers. The Collins was the first submarine built in Australia and supported solely by the RAN. Despite numerous troubles and missteps, the construction program could be categorized as a success, and most would agree that, when operational, the Collins-class submarines are among the best performing...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 57-60)