In keeping with the rolling industry brief series around the Attack class submarine, Naval Group Australia gathered hundreds of interested delegates at the Pacific expo this week to give them an update on the work so far.
Stuart Lindley, Naval Group’s General Manager - Industry Capability Development confirmed that while Naval Group Australia is the acquisition lead for the program, the process takes time – typically two years from initial Expression/Registration of Interest to contract.
The tiers of industry engagement were once again outlined:
2. Main and critical
3. Contractor designed equipment and common technology
4. Advanced manufacturing
5. COTS and MOTS
The program is on track for another system requirement review in Q4 this year with the design phases of concept, preliminary and detailed on track, according to the senior leaders in Defence, Naval Group Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia - RADM Greg Sammut, John Davis and Joe North respectively. The parties also confirmed that the system design review for the combat system was completed earlier this month.
A number of main systems were announced in the lead up to the show as well as at the show. In April this year, MTU and Penske were announced for work on the diesel motors, for both the Collins Life of Type Extension (LOTE) and Attack class. During the show it was announced that Safran has been selected for the design of the Optronics Search and Attack, Navigation Radar and Navigation Data Distribution subsystems under a contract from Lockheed Martin as the prime systems integrator. During the design phase, Safran will engage Australian suppliers Acacia Systems and Thomas Global Systems to provide design services.
ADM also understands that this contract opens the door for the company to start a conversation with ASC on using the technology or its elements as part of the Collins LOTE program, in a bid to de-risk the Attack class. This approach is being undertaken by all the companies listed above – Collins LOTE in the mid 2020s will be an important learning curve for Attack class build. At this point, Naval Group Australia and ASC have an MoU framework in place to look at a number of collaboration opportunities for both Collins and Attack class on areas like skilling, workforce, technology and testing.
Back in the submarine brief, Australian National Infrastructure (ANI) and Laing O’Rourke gave their first briefing on how the facilities side of the programs was progressing.
ANI’s project director Phil Cornish said that the $500 million program was being conducted in phases, and will need to be ‘flexible as the capability evolves and is built’.
His Laing O’Rourke counterpart Spiros Tsakanos confirmed that first phase of the build program will see the Lockheed Martin combat systems integration buildings and Naval Group Australia’s land-based propulsion test site go up first, with their work now underway.
ADM understands that government is due to make a decision on the location of full cycle dockings for the Collins class before the end of the year – both South and Western Australia are making their respective cases for the work with Defence confirming that they are putting all options to government for consideration, with workforce/space concerns front of mind in both scenarios.