Naval Group has officially launched its first ‘Local Manufacturing Package’ expression of interest (EOI) to Australian industry – part of a package expected to be worth almost $900 million, with the company also opening its office at Port Adelaide.
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In the first of many local packages to be offered throughout the life of the 50-year program, these specialised pieces of equipment include the steering gear system, weapons handling system and main shaft line, and will support hundreds of Australian jobs.
In contrast to previous submarine builds that have involved manufacturing similar equipment overseas, this announcement will deliver increased capability, technology and capacity in Australia.
Jean-Michel Billig, Naval Group executive vice-president Australian Future Submarine, said that this significant package of work demonstrated Naval Group’s real action to maximise Australian capability and involvement as well as benefit local manufacturing and jobs.
"Ever since Naval Group has been chosen as strategic partner for the Attack Class submarine program, we have had a strong focus on ensuring that significant benefits are delivered to Australians and local industry through the 50-year program. This package, the first of many, demonstrates our clear commitment to Australian industry and will lead to increased manufacturing capability in Australia and local jobs," Billig explained.
Naval Group Australia chief executive John Davis said that Naval Group was sending a clear message to Australian industry that Naval Group means business.
"The release of the EOI marks the start of a competitive selection process for Australian capability partners to deliver specialised submarine equipment to the Attack Class Program. Our team has been working closely with local industry to prepare for the significant work that is required to deliver these submarines and the selection of our capability partners will mark another significant milestone achievement for Australian industry and the program," Davis added.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the Morrison government’s Future Submarine Program will deliver Australia a regionally-superior, sovereign submarine capability.
"This commitment by Naval Group demonstrates the significant benefits to Australian industry that will flow from the Attack Class Submarine Program. As we approach the next design phase in January 2021, this is a critical phase of the program where we are in the process of designing and selecting more than a million submarine parts that need to work perfectly together," Minister Reynolds explained.
"The skills and knowledge to manufacture this equipment and others will progressively be transferred to Australian industry as work packages are released to industry as part of the government’s sovereignty objectives."
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price explained manufacturing such essential pieces of equipment in Australia supported Australian jobs and built confidence in the Australian defence industry.
"I have said from the outset that our government will have the backs of Aussie workers. The decision to manufacture these essential pieces of equipment in Australia demonstrates our commitment to create new opportunities and jobs for Australian businesses," Minister Price said.
Businesses are also encouraged to work with industry groups, associations and Naval Group to prepare themselves to become a supplier ahead of the roll out of Attack Class submarine work.
Minister Price added, "This is a significant step in the right direction to build up Australian capability in the Morrison government’s Future Submarine Program."
Minister Reynolds and senator for South Australia and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham also opened Naval Group Australia’s new office at Port Adelaide. The new office will host its 250 strong workforce, with the capacity to accommodate up to 350 employees.
"The new dedicated office, close to where the Attack Class fleet will be built at the Osborne North Submarine Construction Yard, demonstrates Naval Group’s commitment to deliver the regionally-superior Attack Class submarines," Minister Reynolds said.
Minister Birmingham said Naval Group Australia’s commitment was a testament to South Australia’s capability as a powerhouse for naval sub and shipbuilding: "This commitment reinforces South Australia as the home of our nation’s rapidly growing defence industry, which is delivering thousands of cutting-edge jobs locally.
"Naval Group Australia’s announcement builds on the Morrison government’s plan of maximising the development of our defence industry through key partnerships, encouraging business capability for advanced technology development and job creation."
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.
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.
The EOI process will run until 16 November with businesses encouraged to apply to be a partner or sign up to the Industry Capability Network (ICN) to receive regular updates.