Australia could be a powerhouse in exporting submarines within the next 30 years, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has said.
Speaking at the fourth Submarine Science, Technology and Engineering Conference (SubSTEC), Minister Pyne said while Australia's Future Submarines – the French-designed Shortfin Barracuda – would not be on the table for export, he would like to see Australia develop a new submarine for export in the next two to three decades.
"Strategically we want to have the regionally superior submarine, that means the submarine made for the Australian Navy will be a unique product," Minister Pyne said.
"We don’t want any other country in our region to have the same level of capability.
"Over the decades to come, a submarine export capability can be developed with a different kind of submarine."
The minister said that he is confident Australia is on its way to becoming an exporter in shipbuilding like patrol vessels and is hopeful submarines will be the next step.
"I have a very broad vision about shipbuilding and submarine building," the minister said.
"I am certain we will become a export nation for shipbuilding and if we can become an export nation for submarines, that’s something we can explore.
"I do think there are possibilities for that and I don’t think we should be limited in our thinking."
Australia is building up its naval capability with $89 billion to be spent on the 12 Future Submarines, 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and nine Future Frigates.
Naval Group was selected to design and build the submarines last year, while decisions on the OPVs and Future Frigates are yet to be announced.