HMA Ships Anzac and Hobart perform a replenishment at sea off the east coast of Australia. Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.
As attention turns towards the upcoming LAND 400 Phase 2 decision, which will see Queensland or Victoria becoming a manufacturing hub for Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, Defence’s naval sector is in for another big year.
Speaking at the Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN) National Dinner, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said 2018 will deliver crucial policy and decisions in the maritime sector.
So far this year, a $700 million contract has been signed with Lockheed Martin Australia for the Future Submarine Combat System design, build and integration, which the government said will create 200 new jobs.
"It will see work commence on the Submarine Construction Yard at Osborne in South Australia," Minister Pyne said in his speech.
The minister is also anticipating the provisional acceptance of the second Air Warfare Destroyer, the launch of the first Pacific Patrol Boat and the commencement of construction on the first Offshore Patrol Vessel.
A decision on the SEA 5000 project is also expected before the second half of the year, with BAE Systems, Fincantieri and Navantia in the running to secure the $35 billion project that will see the winner design, build and sustain nine frigates to replace Australia's Anzac Class frigates.
Industry and government is also awaiting the release of the Defence Industrial Capability Plan, as well as the Australian Industry Capability Plan and an Australian Steel Development and Qualification for the Future Submarines project.
Lürssen and Austal will also be expected to reach an agreement for the SEA 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel project. Defence has confirmed Civmec will supply all the steel for the 12 vessels, 10 of which are to be built by Austal in Western Australia.
Invitations to register (ITR) recently closed for SEA 2400 Phase 1, the project that is set to replace and expand the Royal Australian Navy's hydrographic and oceanographic capability, also dubbed the Hydrographic Survey Capabilities.
The ITR called for information relating to designs already in-service, or a modified variant of an in-service design "along with complementary systems to provide a strategic military survey capability for the RAN."
Under the 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Program, Defence has allocated $1-2 billion in funds to the Hydrographic Data Collection Capability.