French company DCNS will commence with submarine construction on 12 new vessels in Adelaide for the Australian navy.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the commitment to an Australian build will create a sustainable Australian naval shipbuilding industry and provide the certainty that industry requires to invest in innovation and technology and grow its workforce.
“This $50 billion investment will directly sustain around 1100 Australian jobs and a further 1700 Australian jobs through the supply chain,” he said.
Christopher Skinner from the Submarine Institute of Australia said DCNS is building a nuclear submarine called the Barracuda class and what Australia would be purchasing was a conventionally powered derivative of that, but with a longer range than most other conventionally powered submarines.
He felt the French bid was successful over its German and Japanese rivals because of its focus on innovation.
“You can’t build what worked for yesterday or today when you’re trying to be ready for the future in 15 to 20 years’ time. You’ve got to move with where the technology is taking us,” Skinner said.
Engineers Australia Defence spokesperson Greg Walters said many Australian businesses have been tracking this opportunity and are well positioned to be involved.
“Opportunities in the supply chain for Australian businesses include providing locally designed and made equipment; integration activities, including integration of the combat system; and involvement in the sustainment phase which supports operations, maintenance and upgrades,” Walters said.
Submarine Fact File
Name: DCNS Shortfin Barracuda
Length: 97 m
Displacement: 4500 t
Features: Stealth technologies