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UDT Asia: Aussie Future Submarine progresses

11th January 2017 - 12:00 by Nigel Pittaway in Melbourne

UDT Asia: Aussie Future Submarine progresses

Australia’s $50 billion Future Submarine programme remains on track to deliver the first boat to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for operational test and evaluation in 2030-31.

This follows the signing of a design and mobilisation contract with DCNS of France last September.

Over the next three years the $500 million phase of the programme will conduct early design work on a conventionally powered Shortfin Barracuda 1A submarine based on the French Navy’s Barracuda. 

Lockheed Martin Australia is the preferred combat system integrator.

Australia is buying 12 submarines, which will be constructed in South Australia under Project Sea 1000, to replace its fleet of six Collins-class boats. 

Following the initial phase, preliminary design work will continue, with a view to begin fabrication of the first hull sections early next decade. On 20 December, Australia and France signed the Future Submarine Intergovernmental Agreement that established a framework for development of the submarine.

‘The intergovernmental agreement will underpin the cooperation between our two nations on this project. The Future Submarine programme is the largest defence procurement programme in Australia’s history, and it is one of, if not the most, complex,’ Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne commented.

She continued, ‘This is a critical milestone in delivering a regionally superior fleet of submarines, and provides significant opportunities to deepen our already very strong bilateral defence relationship. It’s a decision which also highlights the increasingly close defence relationship between Australia and France more widely.’

Payne said a range of activities are now under way, including the establishment of facilities in France to train Australian shipyard workers.

‘I expect the high tempo of activity to increase further this year, and remain confident in the partnership of DCNS and defence, along with Lockheed Martin Australia, to work together to deliver the first of the Future Submarines ready for operations by the early 2030s,’ Payne said.

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