Philip Smart | Adelaide
Future Submarine provider Naval Group used the official opening of its new Australian headquarters in Adelaide this week to announce that three companies have been engaged to begin survey work for the design and build of the Future Submarine Construction yard at Osborne.
Federal Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Naval Group global chairman and CEO Herve Gillou opened the Keswick office yesterday, before signing deals totalling around $1 million with geotechnical firm Coffey Services Australia, surveying consultants Alexander Symonds and Precision Hydrographic Services.
I expect in a few weeks that the preliminary dimensions and so on will be completely fixed
“We are now actually seeing the bricks and mortar, the plans for the Osborne North submarine yard are now in hand and being worked on,” Minister Pyne told the Adelaide audience. “We turned the first sod just last week on Osborne South for the future frigates, the land around the Techport has been purchased by the Commonwealth, the common user facility has been purchased by the Commonwealth. The shed that Naval Group will build at Osborne North is actually larger than the Adelaide Oval stadium.”
Naval Group now has 43 employees in Australia, a number expected to rise to around 81 by October and to top 1500 at full strength by 2028. CEO Herve Gillou said the opening of the Adelaide office and the arrival this week of the first Australian personnel to form a mixed French/Australian team in Cherbourg in France will soon be followed by visible movement on the project.
“This practical work is now real,” Gillou said. “What is real is we are not only progressing with the design, but I expect in a few weeks that the preliminary dimensions and so on will be completely fixed.
“We have now engaged with five key contractors. We are now starting on the infrastructure site. So all this is about reality. It’s no longer about business capture, or business development. It’s about delivering.”
Both reiterated that all 12 submarines will be built in Adelaide, with the French/Australian mixed teams designed to transfer skills that would be used in the Osborne shipyard.
“For training first we are doing sections to test the machine tools, test the people, qualify and train and improve the quality,” Gillou said. “But as soon as that is done we are entering first of class and everything will be built here from the first.”
“Every single submarine will be built in Adelaide, from number one to number 12,” said Minister Pyne. “We’ve always said that local build is around 60 per cent. That is the accepted number for the definition of a local build in the world. The Air Warfare Destroyer has reached 62 per cent local build and the Collins class was at 82 per cent. Naval Group and the Australian Department of Defence will work to maximise the Australian industry content. That is one of the major priorities of the project.”