ASC Pty Ltd

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The ASC construction facility on the Port River

ASC Pty Ltd, formerly the Australian Submarine Corporation, is an Australian government business enterprise involved with Australian naval shipbuilding, headquartered at Osborne in Adelaide, South Australia.


The Australian Submarine Corporation was created when Kockums (designer of the Collins class submarine) became part of a joint venture with the Australian branch of Chicago Bridge & Iron, Wormald International, and the Australian Industry Development Corporation to construct the six vessels.[1]

The ASC construction facility was established on previously undeveloped land on the bank of the Port River, at Osborne, South Australia.[2] Work on the site began on 29 June 1987, and it was opened in November 1989.[2][3] South Australia had been selected as the site of the construction facility based on the proposed location of the facility and promises by the State Government to help minimise any problems caused by workers unions.[4]

By the end of 1990, Chicago Bridge & Iron and Wormald International had both sold their shares in ASC.[5] The shares were bought up by Kockums and the Australian Industry Development Corporation, with some of Kockums' shares then sold to James Hardie Industries to maintain an Australian majority ownership of the company.[5] On 5 April 2000, the shares in ASC held by Kockums were bought out and the company was nationalised, despite a trend by John Howard's Coalition government towards privatisation of government-owned companies.[6]

The company’s name was changed from the Australian Submarine Corporation Pty Limited to ASC Pty Ltd on 1 October 2004 in order to position it as a supplier of naval combat vessels in addition to being a specialist submarine supplier and maintainer. The name ASC was specifically selected to recognise the company’s “heritage and achievements.”[7]


ASC rose to prominence in 1987 when it was contracted by the Australian Government to design and manufacture a fleet of six Collins class submarines for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)[8] in what was the largest defence contract ever signed in Australia. Although the submarine project was marred with difficulties throughout the 1990s, upon completion the Collins class were hailed as the most advanced diesel-electric submarines in the world. The difficulties continued, however, and the very expensive Collins class submarines have been plagued with troubles and controversy ever since.[9][10][11] ASC maintains the six Collins class submarines for their operational lifespans under a A$3.5 billion contract with RAN.[12] To date, no other navy has expressed interest in buying a Collins class submarine.

In 2005, the company was selected by the Australian Government, ahead of two other bidders, as the preferred shipbuilder for three new AEGIS-based Australian air warfare destroyers (AWD) under the Sea 4000 project. The AWDs are scheduled to begin service in 2013.[13] It is expected that ASC will also build the submarines which are being planned to replace the Collins class, when they reach their expected retirement in 2025.[14]

Possible privatisation[edit]

In February 2014, the National Commission of Audit recommended in its Phase One Report that the Commonwealth sell its interest in ASC.[15]


  1. ^ Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, pp. 76-80
  2. ^ a b Jones, in The Royal Australian Navy, p. 244
  3. ^ Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, p. 127
  4. ^ Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, pgs 87-8, 128
  5. ^ a b Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, pp. 181-4
  6. ^ Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, p. 312
  7. ^ 'Chairman's Report,' in ASC Pty Ltd Annual Report 2004, page 2 at, retrieved 17/07/2012.
  8. ^ "ASC". Department of Trade and Economic Development. August 2007. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  9. ^ "AM - UK expert to head submarine review 20/07/2011". 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  10. ^ "Ares Homepage". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  11. ^ "Engine problems cripple Collins-class submarines". The Australian. 21 October 2009. 
  12. ^ Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, p. 315
  13. ^ "Australian Submarine Corporation wins navy ship tender". The Advertiser (News Corporation). 30 May 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-03. [dead link]
  14. ^ Stewart, Cameron (29 December 2007). "Defence to reach new depths". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  15. ^ National Commission of Audit website


External links[edit]