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Sea Platforms

Key equipment for Australia's Future Submarine programme to be agreed by early 2018

20 February 2017
Contracts for the five main sub-components of Australia's future submarines are expected to be placed by early 2018, according to the head of the project in the Royal Australian Navy. Source: DCNS

Suppliers for the five main sub-components for Australia's Future Submarine requirement are expected to be under contract by early 2018, programme head Rear Admiral Greg Sammut disclosed on 16 February.

Speaking at an industry day in Sydney, Rear Adm Sammut listed the top five items as being the main motor, diesel generators, DC switchboard, batteries, and weapon discharge system.

With construction in South Australia expected to start in 2023 with the aim of having the first of the 12 Future Submarines in service "in the early 2030s", work on the infrastructure necessary to ensure a fully qualified workforce was in place would begin in 2018, he said.

Meanwhile, concept design work and sensor selection studies were under way, detailed planning was proceeding on land-based build, test, and integration facilities, and an integrated master schedule was in development, Rear Adm Sammut.

The government announced in April 2016 that French shipbuilder DCNS, with its proposal for the Shortfin Barracuda 1A, a 4,700-tonne diesel-electric derivative of the company's 5,300-tonne Barracuda nuclear attack submarine, had defeated Japanese and German bids to replace the six-strong Collins-class fleet at an anticipated cost of AUD50 billion (USD37.5 billion).

A three-year AUD500 million design and mobilisation contract signed with DCNS in September 2016 covered early design work, moving into the preliminary design area towards the end of that period.

Rear Adm Sammut said that between 30 to 50 Australian personnel would be posted this year to the Future Submarine project office in Cherbourg, where the bulk of early design would be undertaken.

The combat system specification should be completed by the second half of 2018, at which time critical element design contracts for the combat system would be put out to tender, Rear Adm Sammut said.

Emphasising the importance of sovereign capability in both operations and life-of-type sustainment, Rear Adm Sammut said identification of the technology and training necessary to achieve this was already being pursued "as we go into a rhythm of what needs to delivered throughout design and construction".

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