Safran Awards Australian Companies Subcontract for Critical Subsystems Design On Future Submarines

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By: Adlinna Abdul Alim

CANBERRA: Two Australian companies have signed subcontracts with French firm, Safran for the design of key subsystems for Australia’s Attack-class submarine programme.

The Australian Department of Defence on May 14 said, Safran Electronics subcontracted Adelaide-based Acacia Systems and Western-Sydney based Thomas Global Systems for the design of the Optronics Search and Attack, Navigation Radar and Navigation Data Distribution systems.

“I am proud of this Government’s commitment to build 12 Attack-class submarines here in Australia, with Australian steel, by Australian workers,” said Minister of Defence, Linda Reynolds.

“The signing of these most recent subcontracts is a positive next step in growing Australian industry involvement in the program as we transition towards detailed design and the construction of the fleet.” 

“We remain firmly committed to maximising local industry involvement in this nationally significant programme which will deliver a regionally superior capability for our Navy.”

Under the subcontracts, Acacia Systems will deliver prototypes and interface simulators, enabling Lockheed Martin Australia to conduct test activities and validate the integrated performance of the combat system in its Adelaide-based Combat System Architecture Laboratory. Thomas Global Systems will carry out the design of processing hardware for the optronics masts, navigation radar and navigation data distribution systems.

Safran Electronics & Defense Australasia’s CEO, Alexis de Pelleport, said: “The subcontracts with Acacia Research and Thomas Global Systems will allow us to achieve our shared objective of actively transferring the design of key submarine technology to Australia and supporting local employment. The contracts represent Safran’s confidence in Australian companies to further develop Australia’s sovereign capabilities. They leverage expertise from two companies that have been supporting the Australian Defence Force for many years”.

“These contracts are building Australian industry capability while also involving Australian industries and their workers in the delivery of the Attack class submarine,” Minister Price said.  “Our $50 billion investment in this program will create 2,800 Australian jobs and ensure small businesses play an essential role in this programme for decades to come.”

The Attack-class submarine programme is meant to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) ageing Collins-class submarines under the SEA 1000 Future Submarine programme. Naval Group’s successful Shortfin Barracuda design, which serves as the basis for the new Attack Class, is a conventionally-powered variant of the nuclear-powered Barracuda-fast attack submarine currently under construction for the French Navy. The first phase for the design contract was signed in March last year, less than a month after the Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) was signed.   

The Australian government ordered 12 of the vessels which are scheduled to be delivered to the RAN by the 2030s.