Naval Group has subcontracted 137 Australian companies towards the Attack Class Submarine fleet build so far, according to the French shipbuilding company, and design of the Attack Class is intended to transition to Australia during the detailed design phase.
Meanwhile, preliminary design phase of the Attack Class is progressing with Naval Group’s design team in France as well as Lockheed Martin Australia’s design team in Adelaide.
The build of a hull qualification section will commence in Adelaide in 2023, to certify the Australian workers and construction yard equipment ahead of the construction of the first Attack Class Submarine. Naval Group will then “systematically” approach Australian industry to identify suitable suppliers of the vast array of equipment, ranging from hydraulic systems to galley equipment, to be fitted to the submarine.
Providing Australian industry with opportunities to become involved during design of the submarine offers Naval Group the opportunity to develop capability and build the enduring industrial base they will need for the sovereign sustainment of the Attack Class fleet.
The company is currently focused on understanding the capabilities in Australian industry for the manufacture of submarine equipment, which it says differs from the capabilities required to sustain existing equipment for the Collins submarine fleet.
The company intends to gain an understanding of how Australian industry, including the existing Collins Class Submarine supply chain, can be best prepared to participate in the Attack Class Submarine Program as the manufacture of equipment and construction of the submarines ramps up in the mid-2020s.
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.
Both the Department of Defence and Naval Group say they are committed to the achievement of these objectives. Defence has published a list of the Australian companies thus far involved.