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Nobody wins unless everybody wins: The Coles review into the sustainment of Australia’s Collins-class submarines

By Andrew Davies

In 2003, Australia became the proud owner of the last of six new-build Collins-class submarines. Less than a decade later, the fleet was in a poor state of repair, and at times only one or two of the boats were available to the Royal Australian Navy. This account by Andrew Davies explains how the situation was remediated by bringing in a team of highly experienced naval professionals to take an uncompromising look at the arrangements in place to manage a vital national defence asset.

Despite a public perception that the submarines were inherently defective, the problems were in fact almost entirely due to dysfunctional and often rancorous organisational dynamics between the key players. In the space of just a few years, and with remarkably little required in the way of additional funding, the situation took a dramatic turn for the better.

As with earlier ASPI case studies on defence projects, Nobody wins unless everybody wins is designed to help those in Defence, industry and parliament and other interested observers to better understand the complexities of the business, all with the aim of improving how Australia equips and sustains its defence force.

Other monographs in this series: