Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that a new facility for testing submarine systems, including propulsion, energy and integration technology, would be based in Adelaide.
In November last year, the Government commissioned a feasibility study into the establishment of a Submarine Propulsion, Energy, Support and Integration Facility, generally referred to as a Land Based Test Site.
The study was undertaken for the Future Submarine Program by Babcock Pty Ltd with input from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). The study identified four functions that could be considered in a facility of this type:
- research and development;
- system integration testing;
- pre-build and assembly testing; and
Babcock Pty Ltd has now delivered its report. The key finding is that a Land Based Test Site is essential and that it should be located where these functions could be undertaken most efficiently and cost-effectively.
While specific details of the scope of the facility are still under consideration, the Government has decided that the Land Based Test Site will be based in Adelaide, South Australia, where the Future Submarines will be assembled.
The propulsion, energy and drive-train system is a key part of any submarine. The Land Based Test Site will enable this system to be integrated, tested and proved before it is installed into a submarine.
Elements of the facility will also be located in Western Australia (where Navy will have easy access for training purposes) and Victoria (where DSTO maritime specialists are based).
The establishment of a Land Based Test Site is a significant step towards understanding propulsion systems for Australia’s Future Submarines.
The Future Submarine Program will be the largest and most complex Defence project ever undertaken by Australia and with this complexity comes risk.
Regardless of the submarine design option that is ultimately chosen, the establishment of the Land Based Test Site will significantly reduce the risk of delay and cost overruns, poor availability and increased operating and sustainment costs, loss of capability and most importantly, the risk of a catastrophic accident caused by a failure of the power and energy systems.
The Land Based Test Facility will also help ensure that challenges encountered from the maintenance of the Collins Class fleet are addressed.
Further decisions on the form and function of the Land Based Test Site will be announced next year.
Minister Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton 0467 784 528
Minister Clare’s Office: Annie Williams 0428 040 522