Defence has announced that Naval Group has signed a subcontract with Babcock International Group for the design of the weapon discharge system for the Attack Class submarines.
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A critical component of Australia's Future Submarine, the weapon discharge system is responsible for the launch of submarine main weapons, including torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.
Babcock has previously been engaged with supporting systems already installed on the Collins Class submarine, as well as the Hobart Class guided missile destroyers.
“Naval Group has worked closely with Babcock to develop an Australian Industry Capability Plan that maximises opportunities for Australian industry and enables the transfer of technology and knowledge to Australia for the WDS,” said John Davis, chief executive of Naval Group Australia.
“Babcock’s investment in local infrastructure and intellectual capital will be critical to the success of the program and will ensure we create and sustain a sovereign submarine capability now and into the future."
Preliminary design for the weapon discharge system will originally begin in Bristol, UK, before transferring the skills and intellectual property (IP) to Australian engineers, who have already commenced secondments to the UK specifically for this project, with Babcock Australia acting as the engineering design authority.
This includes training, maintenance and managing the supply chain, creating around 170 new jobs for the build and sustainment of this system.
Already, 220 Australian companies have been identified with the potential to become involved in this work following completion of the design phase.
“Babcock is pre-eminent in the global submarine industry and the transfer of this class-leading IP, know-how and expertise – together with a significant investment in manufacturing, engineering and skills that will ensure the Attack weapons launch system is manufactured, built and sustained in Australia – is confirmation of Babcock Australia’s commitment to grow our national defence and export industry; and continue to play our part in the security of this nation,” said David Ruff, Babcock Australasia CEO.
“We are proud suppliers to a critical sovereign capability.”
Babcock confirmed it will add to its established local supply chain, which has been supporting the Collins WDS for more than 20 years with new suppliers that have already registered interest on the ICN Gateway and will release more expressions of interest on the ICN Gateway early in 2020.
“The WDS program is a great opportunity to work within an integrated design team comprising highly-skilled colleagues who have been designing, producing and supporting critical submarine systems for the Royal Navy for decades,” said Shane Eckert, chief engineer for Babcock Australia’s defence programs.
“While there is a lot to learn and achieve, having on the ground involvement and exposure to an international team is incredible. Knowing I am contributing to something much larger, something that will last beyond my own career is hugely rewarding.”