Director of strategy and communications for DCNS Australia Brent Clark has implored the industry to come forward to be involved in the Future Submarine Program.
Speaking at a public hearing held by the joint standing committee on treaties on the Framework Agreement for the Future Submarine Program, Clark expressed DCNS Australia’s disappointment at the lack of involvement by Australian industry in this particular program.
"We’re a little – both ourselves and I shouldn’t speak for the Department [of Defence] – but ourselves and the department are a little disappointed in the uptake of [becoming involved in] this with Australian companies," Clark said.
Clark said this is something they will be speaking about at their next industry briefing in Melbourne on March 23.
The briefings in Adelaide and Sydney drew an attendance of 450 and 350 firms, respectively.
389 potential suppliers have been identified and 167 requests of information have been sent to 159 companies, some of which have various subsidiaries.
Clark emphasised that, at the next industry briefing in Melbourne, DCNS Australia and the Department of Defence are hoping to understand why the involvement from the industry has been lacklustre.
"What we’ve tried to ascertain is to why. Part of that we believed to be the length of the program before we start needing some of the companies involved," Clark said.
Chair of the hearing and member for Fadden Stuart Robert stressed, "Please Australian companies, contact DCNS."
The contract for the design and construction of the Future Submarines was awarded to the French government-owned company DCNS in April 2016 and signed in September 2016.
The government confirmed in April 2016 that the submarine fleet will be constructed in Adelaide.
DCNS has stated that over 90 per cent of the build will occur in Australia.
The French company was selected by the Australian government for the contract over German TKMS and Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation offerings.
DCNS has stated that the Shortfin Barracuda pushes submarine stealth capabilities into a new realm, using pump-jet propulsion instead of the traditional propeller. To add to its stealth capabilities, hydroplanes on the submarine will retract to reduce drag and noise.