The Univeristy of Tasmania (UTAS) has secured a crucial role in the $50 billion Future Submarine Program – the largest defence procurement program in Australian history.
The fleet will be built in Adelaide, however the Australian Maritime College (AMC) in Launceston will provide teaching and research to the manufacturers that will build 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines. These submarines will replace the six Australian-built Collins Class submarines that have been in service since 1996.
UTAS has signed a memorandum of understanding with four French defence and maritime technology institutions: ENSTA ParisTech, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, CentraleSupelec and Ecole Polytechnique.
The institutions will work together with French shipbuilder DCNS on the project, with programs due to commence in September next year.
According to DCNS, the Shortfin Barracuda uses pump-jet propulsion instead of a traditional propeller, which significantly adds to the vessel’s stealth capabilities. The sub also utilises retracting hydroplanes in order to reduce drag and noise.
“This agreement has come about because of our university’s capacity for interdisciplinary research and our highly-regarded pedigree in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said UTAS deputy vice-chancellor Professor Monique Skidmore.
“Arrangements such as this provide a platform upon which we can expand our existing strengths, along with the development of completely new economic sectors for the region and the state.”