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On 8 October Lockheed Martin Australia and the Department of Defence announced the award of a A$37 million (€22.7 million) contract to Safran Electronics & Defense Australasia for the design of three major combat systems components for the Royal Australian Navy’s future submarine programme.

The contract, which will be in force until May 2023, will see Safran deliver the preliminary and detailed designs for the combat system's optronics search and attack mast, navigation radar and navigation data distribution components.

The contract scope will also include delivery of prototypes and interface simulators to enable Lockheed Martin Australia, as the combat systems integrator, to conduct further test activities and validate the integrated performance of the combat system in its Adelaide-based Combat System Architecture Laboratory (CSAL).

While the contract represents the initial phase of development activities (including the development of design up to and including the component-level critical design reviews), it will also see Safran establish sovereign capabilities at its new facility in Botany, NSW, for the build, integration and ongoing sustainment of these components.

As part of its delivery of this work, Safran will subcontract two Australian companies, Acacia Systems and Thomas Global Systems, for the design and development of software and hardware, respectively. The contract will result in over 11 full-time positions being created and sustained locally across Safran and its partners.

"Lockheed Martin Australia, in concert with the Department of Defence, is committed to maximising opportunities for Australian industry involvement through all phases of the Future Submarine Program […] Safran represents the international benchmark in submarine optronics and navigation systems, and we are honoured to welcome the company and its partners to our Australian combat system team," commented Lockheed Martin Australia & New Zealand Chief Executive, Joe North.

"The contract with Lockheed Martin Australia and the Department of Defence will allow us to meet our shared objective of supporting local employment and developing Australian expertise at our Botany facility and through our local partners […] We are pleased to be working with Lockheed Martin Australia and the Commonwealth to deliver a superior submarine fleet for the region," added Safran Electronics & Defence Australasia CEO, Alexis de Pelleport.

Safran will design three component systems for the Australian Future Submarine programme. (Image: Australian National Audit Office)

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