Ai Group issues statement on local shipbuilding capacity

Photo: Naval Group

The Ai Group has issued a statement suggesting a review of the Australian Industry Capability (AIC) program, in light of Naval Group’s announcement that it was investigating Australian industry capabilities for the manufacture of the Attack Class submarine fleet.

Ai Group’s chief executive, Innes Willox, on Friday said that “while the foundations are sound, the AIC program requires a time-critical review to effectively meet the requirements of Defence projects.”

According to Willox, the Australian Industry Group’s submission to the current Senate inquiry on Shipbuilding, recommended an immediate strengthening of the AIC program across major Defence projects by:

  • Improving the AIC program’s ability to identify capability, measure and enforce AIC plans in contracts.
  • Applying a methodology to capture the long-term value of AIC, including whole-of-life costs and a sovereign industrial base.

“We also commend the proposed Government review of the Centre for Defence Industry Capability to help ensure effective implementation and delivery of services,” Willox said.

“The naval shipbuilding plan represents an unprecedented opportunity for the Australian defence industry. We need to embrace the tremendous national opportunities presented by the program to build Australia’s advanced technology sector through a strong and trusted partnership between Defence and industry.

“Defence’s shipbuilding program represents the most significant investment in Australia’s naval capability since the Second World War. To be successfully delivered, it requires extraordinary levels of effort, resources and capability building, as well as a strong partnership between Defence and local and international industry.

“We welcome the statement by the Department of Defence and Naval Group on 13 February 2020 that ‘Sovereign control over the Attack Class Submarine fleet and maximising Australian industry involvement throughout all phases of the Attack Class Submarine Program are contracted objectives in the Strategic Partnering Agreement between Defence and Naval Group’.

“Delivering these outcomes will require time, concerted effort and diligence to continue to develop the required business capabilities and workforce skills,” Willox said.