South Australia-based submarine battery specialist PMB has completed the acquisition of selected plant, machinery, tooling, stock, and intellectual property related to the submarine battery business of the EnerSys group of companies as the company prepares to compete for the Attack Class submarine batteries.
Following revelations from mid-March 2020 that Naval Group, the prime contractor responsible for delivering the Royal Australian Navy's future Attack Class submarines, had 'awarded' subcontracts to SA-based PMB and Greek battery company Sunlight Systems for the "design of the Main Storage Batteries Stages 1 and 2", the SA company has announced the acquisition of key capabilities from EnerSys.
As part of this, PMB will use the new state-of-the art production, research and development and engineering facilities situated adjacent to the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide, South Australia to manufacture battery systems for several foreign military customers.
PMB Defence chief executive Stephen Faulkner said, "The acquisition further supports our strategic intention to be the world’s most credible designer and supplier of submarine battery systems."
This acquisition will further transform PMB from one historically focused on a single market to a company with multi geographical customers and the capability to supply battery systems to various submarine classes around the world.
Over the medium term, PMB expects that production volumes will more than double as a result of this acquisition.
As part of the subcontract with Naval Group, both organisations will provide Naval Group with the data necessary to select one as the preferred MSB design for the Attack Class program in 2022.
The MSBs are responsible for supplying power to the propulsion system of the submarine and to other equipment on-board the ship. They directly impact the safety of the submarine when diving, making them a critical piece of equipment for the platform.
PMB Defence, since its establishment in 1988 as Pacific Marine Batteries, has been a successful and an important supplier to the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins Class submarines supplying main storage batteries and associated services.
It should also be noted that Sunlight is also responsible for providing the battery systems for a range of German and Swedish-designed submarines including the Type 206, 212 and 214 submarines, along with the French, Indian, Dutch, Danish and Italian Scorpene, Agosta, Sauro, Kobben Class submarines.
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Perhaps most concerningly, the company is also responsible for supplying the Romeo, Foxtrot and new generation of Russian designed and built Kilo Class submarines operated by the Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian navies.
In more recent years, PMB has been contracted to design multiple advanced technology submarine batteries for international customers.
EnerSys is a global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications. EnerSys and its predecessor companies have been manufacturers of industrial batteries for over 100 years.
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.
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 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.