Onboarding Australian industry to deliver Attack class submarine outboard flank array

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Minister for Defence

Media contacts

Ben Martin (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 447 219 902
Nicky Hamer (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 437 989 927

Release content

3 December 2020

The Morrison Government’s Future Submarine Program continues to progress with the contract signing for the design of the primary underwater sensor of the submarine.

The contract has been signed with Thales UK Ltd, through Lockheed Martin Australia, for the design of the outboard flank array and partnering arrangements with Australian industry.

The outboard flank array forms part of the Sonar Subsystem, which is used when the submarine is submerged.

This vital piece of equipment acts as the submarine’s eyes and ears, providing situational awareness for the crew.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the design of the outboard flank array is vital to the operational effectiveness of the Attack class submarine and its regional superiority.

“Thales is a global leader in underwater systems and the world’s top exporter of sonars and related systems for naval forces. This contract builds on the work Defence already has with Thales to upgrade the sonar suite of the Collins fleet,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Following a competitive tendering process, Thales is committed to establishing the Australian industrial capability needed to support the sovereign build, operation and sustainment of the Attack class submarine.

“This is a significant step in the right direction to build up Australian capability for the Future Submarine Program. By bringing together the best underwater sensing technology with local industry, it will ensure we deliver a sovereign regionally superior submarine.”

Thales will support and promote Australian Industry Capability by:

  • Conducting a proportion of the design phase in Australia by engaging one of three Australian‑based companies, Thales Australia, Babcock Australia, and BMT Group, through a competitive process;
  • Leveraging existing in-country capabilities that support other Australian Defence Force assets, including the Collins class submarine, for the assembly, integration and sustainment phases;
  • An industry development package for the transfer of industrial capability to Australia to enable the provision of critical sub-assemblies and line replaceable units for both initial supply and sustainment.

Following the successful completion of the design phase, further work will be contracted for the manufacture of the subsystem from 2023.

Other related releases