Naval Group Australia has signed a contract with Australian steel manufacturers Bisalloy and BlueScope to produce up to 250 tonnes of specialised steel as part of a trial for the Royal Australian Navy’s Future Submarine Project (SEA 1000).
According to the Naval Group’s announcement, the unique grade of steel will be tested to determine whether it meets the specification for the pressure hull of the new submarines, which is an essential safety requirement.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said over the past 12 months, French shipbuilding major Naval Group has been working with Bisalloy and BlueScope to develop and qualify Australian steel to meet the demanding specification required for the submarines.
“This will be the first time Australian industry has attempted to make this particular type of steel, demonstrating the ongoing opportunities for local industry within the Future Submarine Program,” Pyne said.
“It’s great news for local workers and shows the confidence we have in Australian companies to contribute to this massive $50 billion dollar program.”
In December 2016, Australia and France formally sealed a $50 billion agreement under which Naval Group will build a new fleet of diesel-electric submarines based on its nuclear Barracuda-class submarines. The variant was named Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A.
The submarine was selected as the winner of the Future Submarine Program (SEA 1000) competition, a program undertaken by the Royal Australian Navy to replace its fleet of Collins-class conventionally-powered attack submarines.
The construction of the 12 submarines will be done in a new, dedicated Submarine Construction Yard at the ASC shipyard in Osborne, Adelaide, South Australia. The workforce of 2800 people will be needed for the construction.
The construction is expected to begin in 2022-23 and will extend into the late 2040s. The first submarine is likely to enter service in the early 2030s.