Naval Group (formerly DCNS) and Lockheed Martin Australia welcomed the official opening of Australia’s Future Programme Office in Cherbourg, France on 9 July.
The two companies will deliver a fleet of 12 submarines to Australia, in collaboration with the Department of Defence in Canberra. The SHORTFIN BARRACUDA 1A, a conventionally-powered variant of Naval Group’s nuclear-powered BARRACUDA-class submarines for the French Navy – was selected by the Australian government to replace the current COLLINS-class boats last year.
The Programme Office in Cherbourg is a tripartite secure facility which will house submarine designers, naval architects and engineers – including more than 50 Australians – working closely on the programme. The facility will be known as 'Hughes House', in recognition of Rear-Adm. Oscar Hughes, AO, RAN and his invaluable role in Australia's submarine history as Director of the COLLINS Submarine Project.
“Today marks an important and tangible milestone for the programme as the facility allows all three partners to work together in a modern and highly secure environment to further enhance and develop the already close partnership," Herve Guillou, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Naval Group, commented. “We are looking forward to establishing an Australian workforce in Cherbourg to develop the skills and understanding required to establish a regionally superior submarine and develop a sovereign Australian industrial capability.“
Although opening the office is a major milestone, design of the Future Submarine is already well under way, as is engagement with Australian industry, with an industry briefing programme reaching out to over 850 Australian companies.