Naval Group and South Australia-based Airspeed have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to respond to the design competition launched by Lockheed Martin Australia for the masts of the Attack Class submarines.
Thanks to its long history in building submarines for both French and export markets, Naval Group has developed a new carbon composite mast implementing the latest innovations in composites.
Naval Group’s solution offers outstanding performance in terms of weight, resistance and operational efficiency, but also in terms of integration with the Attack Class platform.
Recently, Steve Barlow, Airspeed managing director, was in France to visit Naval Group’s facilities located at Angoulême-Ruelle and Lorient.
"We are excited to be working on this composites project with Naval Group and believe the Naval Group technical solution is truly unique. If successful in the competition, the opportunity to work on the Future Submarine Program will be a defining step in the development of our company and our national sovereign capabilities and we look forward to be part of this defining national journey," Barlow explained.
Representatives from Airspeed also took part in a test for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC) hosted by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre at the University of New South Wales in November and will be closely involved in the research Naval Group is leading with Australian universities on composites and additive manufacturing.
François Romanet, Naval Group Pacific CEO, said, "Naval Group has developed a solution that will meet all operational requirements of the Royal Australian Navy. Airspeed has impressive capabilities when it comes to composites manufacturing."
The Attack Class submarines will be delivered as part of the $50 billion SEA 1000 Future Submarine program. Naval Group will deliver 12 regionally-superior submarines to the Royal Australian Navy.
"If successful in the competition, we have decided to start working together as soon as the design phase to ensure these masts will be produced and maintained in South Australia," Romanet added.
Naval Group's successful Shortfin Barracuda design, which serves as the basis for the new Attack Class, is a conventionally-powered variant of the nuclear-powered Barracuda fast attack submarine currently under construction for the French Navy.
Lockheed Martin will provide the AN/BYG-1 combat control system, which provides an open-architecture submarine combat control system for analysing and tracking submarine and surface-ship contacts, providing situational awareness as well as the capability to target and employ torpedoes and missiles.
The 12 vessels will be built by Naval Group at a specialist submarine shipyard at Osborne, South Australia. The Commonwealth government’s Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI) program will support the development of the future submarine shipyards.
The Commonwealth government formally signed the strategic partnering agreement (SPA) with Naval Group in February 2019 ahead of confirming the final design specifications and requirements for the Attack Class submarines.
The Attack Class will enter service with the Royal Australian Navy at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region