Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Defense Minister Christopher Pyne and other Australian civil and military leaders with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly and officials from Naval Group after signing the Attack-class submarine agreement in Canberra. (NG photo)
A key plank of the Government’s plan to keep Australians safe has been locked in with the signing of the Attack class submarine Strategic Partnering Agreement with Naval Group.
The $50 billion Attack class program will see 12 regionally superior submarines designed and built in Australia for the Navy.
The formal signing of the Agreement is a defining moment for the country.
The submarines will help protect Australia’s security and prosperity for decades to come and also deepen the defence relationship between Australia and France.
Work on the submarines has taken place under the Design and Mobilisation Contract and this will continue uninterrupted under this Agreement.
Our Government is committed to maximising local industry involvement in the program to ensure Australians get the most out of this important national investment.
It’s estimated the program will generate an annual average of around 2,800 jobs, helping end the ‘valley of death’ in naval shipbuilding jobs we inherited from the Labor Party.
Work continues to deliver the first Attack class submarine, to be named HMAS Attack, in the early 2030s within budget.
The formalisation of this agreement represents the contractual basis for the program.
The decision to partner with Naval Group (formerly DCNS) was made in 2016, following a competitive evaluation process commenced by our Government after the Labor Party failed to commission even one single new ship for our Navy. During the negotiations, the Government focused on delivering an equitable and enduring agreement in the interests of our nation.
Other activities required to deliver this major program, including the development of the submarine construction yard at Osborne in South Australia, are continuing.
The Attack class submarines are a major pillar of our $90 billion National Shipbuilding Plan, which will see 54 naval vessels built in Australia, to meet the strategic requirements set out in our 2016 Defence White Paper and giving our Navy the edge it needs in an uncertain world.
PARIS --- A significant milestone has been achieved today with the signing of the Future Submarine Program Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) by the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) and Naval Group.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, The Hon. Christopher Pyne, Minister for Defence and Florence Parly, French Minister for the Armed Forces.
The agreement sets out the principles of cooperation between the two partners for the Attack class Submarine Program which will see:
-- the delivery of 12 regionally superior submarines to Australia with leading edge capabilities;
-- the delivery of new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities to Australia, introducing the next phase of Australian sovereignty as a submarine nation;
-- the creation of thousands of direct and indirect Australian jobs which will positively impact many generations of Australians; and
-- opportunities and long-term planning certainty for industry, allowing Australian companies involved in the submarine program to invest in the capabilities needed to support their involvement in construction and sustainment activities.
“Naval Group is known for building world-leading, technologically advanced submarines and has built 100 of them for nine different countries,” said Herve Guillou, Chairman and CEO, Naval Group.
“This agreement with Australia will see Naval Group transfer the “know-how” and “know-why” to Australia to become a sovereign submarine nation.
“We are very excited about the opportunities that lay ahead of us and are committed to delivering the Future Submarine Program for Australia.
“We are grateful to the teams from the Commonwealth of Australia and Naval Group who have worked hard to achieve this agreement,” said Mr Guillou.
Since being selected as Australia’s partner for the Attack class Submarine Program in April 2016, a lot has been achieved.
Click on the image to enlarge
-- Pre-sizing of the Future Submarine has been completed.
-- The Feasibility Study phase of the Future Submarine design contract being undertaken in France with the support of Australian engineers has been completed. This involves working closely with the Commonwealth to ensure the Future Submarine meets functionality, scheduling and cost requirements.
-- The first sod has been turned at the Future Submarine construction yard in Adelaide. Phase 1 of the onsite works will focus on site establishment, earth works and piling for the new facilities with the development to create at least 600 jobs.
-- The transfer of technology commenced with the relocation of the first group of Australian engineers to France to learn how to carry out the detailed design of the Future Submarines. The next group of engineers will depart for France in March 2019.
-- Officially opened the Future Submarine Program office in Cherbourg housing Naval Group personnel alongside their Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia colleagues.
-- Continued to work with education facilities, TAFEs and universities, having forged a collaborative engineering and research Memorandum of Understanding with the University of New South Wales.
-- Suppliers of the top five pieces of equipment including the main motor, diesel generators, switchboards, batteries and weapons discharge systems have been reviewed and will be announced in 2019.
-- Continue to maximise the opportunities for Australian Industry involvement in the program, through all phases, without compromising the Commonwealths requirements against capability, cost and schedule.
-- To date Naval Group has engaged with over 1,100 Australian suppliers through expression of interests, requests for information, supplier visits and industry events to develop a in depth understanding of Australia Industry capability.
-- 169 Australian suppliers have been pre-qualified for the program with Naval Group Australia.
-- Conducted numerous engagement activities in France and Australia to connect potential European and Australian suppliers.
-- Released Expressions of Interests and Requests for Information for major equipment and common technologies equipment for the Future Submarine.
-- Commenced efforts to procure capital equipment related to the Submarine Construction Yard including machining equipment, painting booths, a plate rolling machine, a plasma cutting machine, water jet cutting machine, rotating cradle and a milling machine.
-- Conducted nine Future Submarine industry briefings across the nation providing Australian companies information on how to become involved in the Future Submarine Program.
Naval Group Australia milestones
-- Established our headquarters in Keswick, Adelaide.
-- Expanded the Naval Group Australia team from 15 employees to over 100. By 2028-2029, when production is in full swing, we expect to employ 1,600 people.
-- Successfully became ISO 9001 certified.
Naval Group is a European leader in naval defence. As an international high-tech company, Naval Group uses its extraordinary know-how, unique industrial resources and capacity to arrange innovative strategic partnerships to meet its customers’ requirements. The group designs, builds and supports submarines and surface ships. It also supplies services to shipyards and naval bases. The group reports revenues of €3.7 billion and has a workforce of 13,429 (data for 2017).
Australian officials have pledged to buy 12 attack submarines from France's Naval Group in Canberra's biggest ever defense procurement project. Experts fear the subs will be too expensive and do "far too little."
Representatives of France and Australia signed off on a record-breaking submarine deal in Canberra on Monday after nearly two years of frustrating talks.
In the document, Australia commits to paying 50 billion Australian dollars ($35.5 billion €31.4 billion) to France's state-backed Naval Group for 12 new military submarines. The vessels are part of Australia's plan to boost its power in the Asia-Pacific region, where strategic interests of China, the US, and other nations collide.
"This means we are ensuring we are at the front of the pack when it comes to the latest naval vessels and firepower," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
The new Shortfin Barracuda submarines will be conventionally powered, using a combination of electric and diesel engines. Their design, however, will be based on Naval Group's nuclear Barracuda model.
Paris and Canberra agreed to have the vessels built in a new shipyard in South Australia.
The first ships are set to be delivered to the Australian navy in the early 2030s, and the project is set to be completed sometime in the 2050s.
Thinning out the Navy
Naval Group snatched the contract in 2016, beating the offers by Japan's Mitsubishi and Kawasaki, as well as Germany's ThyssenKrupp. But the project had been under fire in Australia for fear of exploding costs and delays.
In 2017, Australian consulting firm Insight Economics published a report slamming "extremely high" risks associated with the custom-designed fleet.
"We will pay far too much for a boat that will do far too little," Professor Hugh White from the Strategic and Defense Center at the Australian National University told reporters at the time.
The report also warns that, even if all deadlines are kept, the Australian Navy would have only one working submarine in 2034 and up to four by 2040.
Australia currently operates a fleet of six aging Collins class submarines, which were produced in Sweden and delivered to Australia between 1996 and 2003.