Confined space 90-tonne engine hoisting in-situ maintenance solution

A world first for the Collins Class.

The Collins Class submarine HMAS Farncomb was undergoing its Full Cycle Docking at ASC’s Osborne base with the work including repairs to the 90-tonne electric main motor. 

It is customary for these repairs to be conducted by cutting off the submarine’s aft section and freeing the motor to be worked upon on the shed floor. To avoid the significant expense and potential time extension to the FCD, ASC decided to repair the motor in-situ – a first for the Collins Class fleet.

The tight confines and awkward internal structure of the submarine meant an innovative lifting solution was required to hoist the motor and enable the repairs to be conducted. ASC turned to Nobles, who were already a trusted supplier of wire ropes and lashings. 

Standard chain blocks with hooks, measuring just 150mm in length, were discounted for taking up too much space. Instead, Nobles’ in-house team of engineers devised a solution that included reverse engineering the chain block fittings and machining specific end shackles to fit each of the specially sourced 16-tonne chain blocks. These shackles were attached at multiple positions along the sides and front of the motor.

From the initial briefing to implementing the solution took less than three months. As testament to the success and innovation of the in-situ motor repairs, the project received an Engineers Australia Excellence Award.

The expertise of Nobles’ in-house engineering team, familiar with all kinds of lifting and rigging equipment (ropes, chains, hoists) meant they could rapidly formulate, assess and narrow down options to provide a feasible solution. With machining, assembly and testing also taking place in-house, Nobles provided a comprehensive end-to-end solution, reducing downtime and ensuring the chain of security.

For a discussion on your specific lifting & rigging custom design and engineering requirements speak to your local account manager or call us on 1300 711 559 or email us at