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The Royal Australian Navy Submarine Force Element Group Headquarters, and all six of the Collins Class submarines, are based at HMAS Stirling located in Rockingham, Western Australia. The majority of the Navy's submarine support facilities are also located at HMAS Stirling, including the Submarine Escape Training Facility. The LR5 submersible, which is contracted to provide the RAN's submarine rescue capability, has been based at nearby Henderson, Western Australia since June 2009.

Under current Royal Australian Navy doctrine, the Submarine Service has the following responsibilities:
  • intelligence collection and surveillance;
  • maritime strike and interdiction;
  • barrier operations;
  • advanced force operations;
  • layered defence;
  • interdiction of shipping;
  • containment by distraction; and
  • support to operations on land
The Collins class submarines will begin to reach the end of their useful life from 2026. In order to meet the in-service date of 2026, advanced design work on the next generation of Australian submarines will begin by 2014–15. At this very early stage, it appears probable that the submarines will be Australian-built conventional submarines equipped with air independent propulsion and advanced combat and communications systems.

In December 2007 the Australian Government authorised the Navy to begin planning for the Collins class' replacement. The Navy will research options for the submarines and will report back to the government in 2011. The contract for the new boats is planned to be signed in 2014 or 2015 with the first new submarine entering service in 2025. It is expected that the submarines will be built by ASC in Adelaide.


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