Prime Minister, Minister for Defence, Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Media Release – Next stage of future submarine project announced

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the Government would provide $214 million for the next stage of the Future Submarine Project.

This funding will go towards further detailed studies and analysis to inform the Government’s decision on the design of Australia’s next submarine.

The 2009 White Paper outlined the Government’s commitment to acquire 12 new Future Submarines to be assembled in South Australia over the next three decades.

The Future Submarine project will be the largest and most complex Defence project ever undertaken byAustralia.

With this complexity comes risk.

That is why it is essential to continue to take a measured and careful approach to the early stages of planning and design. 

It is also essential to learn from experience with the Collins Class to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and minimise risks. This includes the maintenance and sustainment of the Future Submarines.

This is why the Government is conducting a Review into the Sustainment of Australia’s Collins Class submarines, led by Mr John Coles.

The Coles Review involves a detailed examination of complex engineering issues associated with submarine sustainment and support from international experts and companies in this field.

The Government is considering four broad options for the Future Submarines:

  • An existing submarine design available off-the-shelf, modified only to meet Australia’s regulatory requirements;
  • An existing off-the-shelf design modified to in corporate Australia’s specific requirements, including in relation to combat systems and weapons;
  • An evolved design that enhances the capabilities of existing off-the-shelf designs, including the Collins Class; and
  • An entirely new developmental submarine.

The Government has ruled out the option of a nuclear submarine.

Indicative Timeline for the Future Submarines

  • 2012: The Government will make a decision on design and test facilities including the Land Based Test Site and will receive the Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan.
  • 2013: The Government will receive the results of the work announced today and will make a decision on the combat systems, torpedos, sensors and other weapons systems.
  • 2013/2014: On current planning First Pass approval is scheduled for late 2013/early 2014.
  • 2017: On current planning Second Pass approval is scheduled for around 2017 with construction expected to begin following Second Pass. 

The funding announced today will inform the Government’s final decision on the design and workforce requirements for the Future Submarine, and identify and address risks in this complex project.

These studies are in addition to the Government’s announcement in December that it had approved the release of Requests for Information to three overseas submarine designers (DCNS, HDW and Navantia), and that Defence had entered into a contract with Babcock for a study into a land-based propulsion site.

The studies announced today will be conducted across three broad areas:

  • Design studies;
  • Scientific and technological studies; and
  • Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan.

These are important steps in ensuring that the Future Submarines are delivered.

Design studies

Options for the Future Submarine range from a proven fully Military Off The Shelf design through to a completely new submarine. 

All options are being considered, other than nuclear propulsion, which the Government has ruled out.

These studies will be undertaken across four areas:

1. Military off the shelf design studies

These studies will be undertaken with three European ship building companies:

  • DCNS (France), designer of the Scorpene
  • HDW (Germany), designer of the Type 212 and Type 214 submarines 
  • Navantia (Spain), designer of the S-80 submarine

These studies will help inform the Government on the viability of a military off the shelf design and what modifications would be required to meet specific Australian conditions.

2. Initial design studies for an updated Collins Class submarine

The Government will engage Swedish ship designer and builder Kockums to undertake initial design studies for an updated Collins Class submarine. 

The updated design will build on the high level of capabilities of the existing Collins Class submarine design, address challenges and obsolescence issues and provide capability enhancements.

Kockums is the original designer of the Collins Class submarine.

3. Analysis of options

An expert submarine design firm will be engaged to conduct cost and capability trade-off analysis of all options.

These studies will model the technical and performance characteristics of different submarine designs against capability and cost considerations.

4. Capability modelling by the United States

At the Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations in Melbourne in November 2010, Australia and the United States agreed that Australian-United States cooperation on submarine systems was strategically important for both countries. 

The high level of submarine interoperability between Australia and the United States and our technical cooperation will extend into Future Submarine acquisition program.

United States submarine companies Systems Performance and Analysis and Electric Boat will undertake capability modelling under a Foreign Military Sales case.

These companies will investigate the capability of an off the shelf option as well as an evolved Collins option.

Scientific and technological studies

In addition to these deign studies, scientific and technological studies will be conducted primarily by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

They will assist the development of requirements and provide technical advice to Government aimed at reducing risk in critical areas for the project.

These studies will cover areas including:

  • Propulsion and Energy Storage;
  • Signatures and stealth performance;
  • Combat systems; and
  • Hydrodynamics, propellers and pumpjets.

The scientific studies undertaken will deliver a range of reports and recommendations on the development of Future Submarine helping to provide better options to the Government for decision.

Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan

In December the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Defence Materiel announced that the Defence Materiel Organisation would develop a Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan.

Today, we are releasing details of how that work will be undertaken.

The Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan will identify what is required to build and sustain the skills required to successfully deliver Australia’s Future Submarine capability.

The plan will be developed by a team be led by the Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation, Mr Warren King.

It will be supported by an Expert Industry Panel headed by Mr David Mortimer, AO.

The Expert Industry Panel will include representatives of DMO, Navy, the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, Skills Australia, unions, the CEOs of the four principal Australian naval shipbuilding companies; ASC, Austal, BAE Systems and Forgacs Engineering and the CEOs of the principal naval systems integration companies: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Thales, Saab Systems and BAE Systems.

This group will consult widely with State Governments, Australian industry, industry associations, universities and other academic organisations to develop this plan.

Submarine Project Management

Given the central role of submarines in Australia’s national security, the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Duncan Lewis, has recommended that a senior Defence position be dedicated to focusing exclusively on the oversight of all existing and future materiel-related submarine activities in the Department of Defence.

The Government has agreed to this course of action and is announcing today the appointment by the Secretary of Mr David Gould as the General Manager of Submarines in the Department of Defence.

Mr Gould will work in the Defence Materiel Organisation and will take responsibility for all materiel-related aspects of submarine support across Defence. Mr Gould will report to Mr Warren King, Chief Executive Officer.

In addition to working closely with the Chief of Navy, Mr Gould will work across Government and industry as a project integrator to pull together the remediation and support of our existing submarine fleet and the project to replace our existing Collins Class submarines. 

As a result of Mr Gould’s appointment, and on advice from the Secretary, the previously announced position of Associate Secretary Capability will not be progressed.

 

Media Contacts: 

Press Office (02) 6277 7744

Minister Smith’s Office (02) 6277 7800

 


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