Australia’s Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, and her French counterpart, Florence Parly, issued the following joint statement on 2 February 2020, following the first quarterly Australia-France defence ministers meeting:
We have held our first quarterly meeting to review the progress of the Future Submarine Program following our productive discussion in Munich in February 2020.
We reaffirmed our full commitment to the Australia‑France strategic defence partnership and agreed to continue to work together on regional matters of shared interest in the Indo‑Pacific.
We acknowledged the significant collaboration between our Governments, officials and defence industries on the Future Submarine Program. The Program remains on track to meet its next major milestone, the Systems Functional Review, in January 2021.
We agreed to continue to meet quarterly to progress this important work.
About Australia’s Attack-class Submarine
Construction on the first ship of the class (the future HMAS Attack) is expected to start in 2022 and its delivery should take place in the early 2030ies. The next units will follow with a cadence of one submarine every two years.
The Australian Government selected Naval Group (then known as DCNS) as its preferred international partner for the design of 12 Future submarines for the Royal Australian Navy on April 26 2016. In the SEA1000 project, DCNS was competing with the Shortfin Barracuda design against Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) Type 216 and Japan’s Soryu-class designs. Based on the new Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) of the French Navy (the first ship of the class started sea trials last week), Australia’s Attack-class submarine will be 97 meters in length and 8.8 meters in diameter.
In September 2016, Lockheed Martin was selected as the preferred combat system integrator and signed the contract for the Future Submarine Combat System Design, Build and Integration in January 2018.
Naval Group partnered with services provider KBR to support the design of a new construction yard at the Osborne Naval shipyard (South Australia) where 12 Attack-class submarines are expected to be built (with technology transfer from Naval Group).
The submarines are considered the backbone of the Australian government’s US$63.8 billion (A$90 billion) National Shipbuilding Plan. Unveiled in May 2017, the unprecedented plan calls for 54 new naval vessels to be built locally.
A number of contracts were awarded throughout 2019, including:
- Australia signed the Attack-class submarine Strategic Partnering Agreement with Naval Group in February 2019
- Naval Group signed the first phase of the Submarine Design Contract in March 2019
- In October 2019, MTU was selected for the design of the Diesel Generator Rectifier (DGR) of the Attack-class submarine
- Naval Group selected Schneider Electric for the procurement of the Main Direct Current (DC) Switchboards
- Lockheed Martin selected Safran to deliver optronics search and attack mast, navigation radar and navigation data distribution components.
- Lockheed Martin unveiled a conceptual Attack-class submarine Control Room
- Naval Group signed a subcontract with Jeumont Electric for the design of the Main Electric Propulsion Equipment
- Naval Group selected Babcock for the Attack-class submarine Weapon Discharge System
- In December 2019, the largest Attack-class contracts to date were signed with Australian companies