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Reproduced couresty of Australia Post

Australia Post envelope for the launch of the Collins Class submarine

Date: 1993
Dimensions:
Overall: 110 x 220 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Copyright Australia Post
Object Name: Envelope
Object No: 00051365
Related Place:Sverige,

User Terms

    Description
    Australia Post envelope celebrating the launch of the Collins Class submarine, the first Australian built submarines.

    Based on the Swedish Vastergotland class, it was a diesel-electric submarine designed uniquely for Australian conditions and location. They were a controversial project subject to intense media scrutiny due to perceived bias in the tender process, the final cost of the project, and the mechanical and technical problems encountered.

    All six vessels were named after Australian naval officers that had served with distinction during World War II, half of which lost their lives during service. They are COLLINS, FARNCOMB, WALLER, DECHAINEUX, SHEEAN and RANKIN. The first if these submarines came into service from 2000.
    SignificanceThis envelope celebrates the launch of the first Australian built submarine and the RAN's most controversial purchase, the Collins Class. At the time of the launch in 1993 the first of this class was launched while still incomplete due to severe delays in the production schedule.
    HistoryIn the early 1980s the Oberon class submarines of the RAN were coming to the end of their service life and replacements were required. In an effort to boost Australia's ailing economy and industry, particularly the shipbuilding industry, it was decided that the submarines should be manufactured in Australia with 70% of the expenditure to return into the national economy. This was to be the first time Australia manufactured any submarine. Whilst it was based on the Swedish Vastergotland class, it was designed uniquely for Australian conditions and geographic location. This included a need to travel long distances, operate in a variety of environments, and have progressive weapons systems as well as performing regular submarine activities. Nuclear technology was rejected in favour of diesel-electric due to the lack of infrastructure in Australia to support nuclear power.

    A consortium of Australian and international companies won the tender to design and manufacture six submarines, starting work in 1987. The consortium was named Australian Submarine Corporation and the main companies involved were: Kockums, a Swedish submarine designer and manufacturer; Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI), originally an American company with an Australian wing that would manage the project and fabricate the hull; Wormald, and Australian company responsible for manufacturing the mechanical and defence equipment; and Australian Industry Development Corporation (AIDC) which was a financial partner in the project. The combat data system was procured separately. The submarines were labelled the Collins Class and the first vessel was laid down in 1990.

    Three years later the first of the six submarines was launched 28 August 1993 at Adelaide's Port River. At the time the vessel was still incomplete, delivering to the RAN in 1996 and approved fit for operations in 2000. The last submarine was delivered to the RAN in 2003. Each one was named after an Australian naval officer that had served with distinction during World War II, half of which lost their lives during service. They are COLLINS, FARNCOMB, WALLER, DECHAINEUX, SHEEAN and RANKIN. HMAS SHEEAN is the only Australian naval vessel to be named after a sailor rather than a commanding officer after he showed extreme bravery during an attack on the HMAS ARMIDALE, injured he strapped himself to the aft of the Oerlikon Gun to continue firing at the Japanese aircraft as the vessel sank.

    The project to build the six submarines was under considerable media scrutiny and controversy. This was due to perceived bias in the tender process, the final cost of the project which was approximately $6 billion, and some of the mechanical and technical problems encountered during their production. The biggest problems were the propulsion and combat systems and the submarine producing excessive noise. However, as one of the biggest supporters of the project, Kim Beazley, had moved into the position of Leader of the Opposition in Federal politics, there were also political motivations for the negative media coverage. In 2011 not all submarines are operational due to insufficient numbers of submariners in the RAN. However, discussions have begun regarding an upgrade with the current class to be phased out from 2025.

    The image of the submarine on the front of the commemorative envelope was painted by Australian marine artist John Ford.

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