Less than a month after signature of the Strategic Partnering Agreement and just days after prime contractor Naval Group Australia and ASC signed the Framework Agreement, the first substantive contract inked under the SPA – the Submarine Design Contract – was signed on 5 March.
“The detailed architecture for the hull, including the placement of main systems, will be developed under this key contract,” stated Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne. Twelve of the submarines – based on the Naval Group Shortfin BARRACUDA Block 1A design – will be procured, with the first boat, HMAS ATTACK, joining the fleet in the 2030s. The overall level of investment for the ATTACK-class the government committed to in the 2016 Integrated Investment Programme amounts to A$50 billion – and the programme is expected to generate an annual average of some 2,800 jobs.
“The timeframe for the Submarine Design Contract takes into account the detailed design work required, ensuring we have a mature design which avoids costly rework,” commented Minister for the Defence Industry, Linda Reynolds. “This will help deliver a sovereign, regionally superior submarine capability, which will be built, operated and sustained in Australia,” she said, adding that the contract is worth $605 million and will see design work progress through to 2021.