Australian Business Defence Industry (ABDI) has welcomed the additional clarity
provided today by the Minister for Defence’s statement regarding the process for the
competitive evaluation process to be employed for the Future Submarine Project but notes that key questions remain unanswered.
Submarines are a critical component of the national defence capability and a competitive,
transparent process is required to ensure that Australia best addresses strategic risks.
The way in which respondents address questions associated with intellectual property
and access to technical data are critical aspects of sovereignty and should be
fundamental in the ensuing evaluation.
The involvement of Australian industry from the earliest stages of the project are
essential to ensure that Australia develops the design and technical skills that will be
required over the life of the project. Indigenous experience with the Collins class has
resulted in a local industry capable of submarine build and sustainment, but many of
these lessons will need to be relearned for a new class of submarine.
The Ministerial statement that “The Government expects that significant work will be
undertaken in Australia during the build phase of the future submarine including combat
system integration, design assurance and land based testing” implies that construction is
more likely to occur offshore, and raises some interesting and potentially risky hybrid
The Minister’s announcement of an expert advisory panel is a positive step, but ABDI
would prefer that the nation-building aspects of the project be recognised through the
establishment of a Submarine Construction Authority independent of the Department of