Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced over 100 Australian companies have applied to Naval Group to manufacture 23 specialised items of submarine equipment for the Australian government’s Attack Class Submarine Program.
Naval Group last month called for expressions of interest from local companies to make more than 20 separate items of equipment for the program, including the steering gear system, weapons handling system and the main shaft line.
This follows the call for expressions of interest from Australian industry for hundreds of millions of dollars in work packages for the program.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the work packages will support hundreds of Australian jobs and create new opportunities for Australian businesses.
“These Australian companies will compete for work that has been assessed by Naval Group as being worth up to $900 million. They have formally lodged interest to become part of the Attack Class Submarine Program as tier one suppliers for equipment, ranging from the submarine’s main shaft line to the weapons handling system,” Minister Reynolds explained.
“Already, almost 2,000 Australian businesses have registered their interest in broader supply chain opportunities through the Industry Capability Network portal.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the level of interest expressed by Australian businesses confirmed Australian industry was ready to play a vital role in the delivery of Australia’s world class submarines.
“Australian industry is ready to be part of the Attack Class program and the Morrison government is looking for more opportunities right across the program to maximise industry involvement,” Minister Price said.
“We are securing opportunities for Australian companies to manufacture equipment designed by Naval Group which is generally manufactured overseas.”
Minister Price added, “As design of the Attack Class submarine progresses, there will be more opportunities for Australian industry to register interest for the supply of major equipment throughout the program.
“We will continue to see opportunities for Australian industry to be involved in the delivery of this core capability, which underpins the Morrison government’s goal of a truly sovereign defence industry.”
Naval Group Australia chief executive John Davis said there had been an impressive response from Australian businesses seeking to become part of the Attack Class Submarine Program.
“Our local manufacturing package sent a clear message to Australian industry that we mean business. Australian manufacturers have shown in this response that they stand ready to step up and play their part in building submarines that will be critical for Australia’s defence,” Davis said.
Jean-Michel Billig, Naval Group EVP Australia Future Submarine Program, explained, “We will continue working closely with local industry on the significant work that is required to deliver this specialised equipment. We will help by transferring the skills and expertise which have been gathered over 100 years of submarine construction in France to our Australian partners.
“These partnerships will also deliver the transfer of cutting-edge technology and skills from France to Australia, while increasing domestic manufacturing capability at a time when a premium has been placed on sovereign capability and self-reliance.”
Naval Group Australia already employs almost 300 people in South Australia and the company expects that to grow to about 1,700 direct jobs by 2028 with hundreds more jobs created through the supply chain.
The Attack Class submarines will be delivered as part of the $50 billion SEA 1000 Future Submarine program. Naval Group will build 12 regionally-superior submarines to the Royal Australian Navy.
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, SA. 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.