The Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) has called on the federal government to hold a tender process to build Australia’s future submarines.
“We urge the Prime Minister to consider such a tender process before formally deciding on the Government’s plans for Australia’s new submarines,” said Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox.
Mr Willox said the AiGroup recognises there are substantial risks associated with committing to acquire a submarine without knowing the full implications of doing so.
“The Project Definition Study should seek options for both local and off-shore build of the new submarines, and the availability of intellectual property to sustain the submarines through a 30-year life,” he said.
Mr Willox said the Ai Group Defence Council National Executive – which brings together Chief Executives from the major defence companies and their suppliers – which met in Canberra recently, believes time is not a barrier to holding a tender for the Future Submarine Program.
“The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, told a recent parliamentary committee hearing that the Royal Australian Navy will need a new submarine to be available in-service by no later than 2027 to progressively replace the current Collins-class submarines, Mr Willox said.
Australia’s foremost naval shipbuilder, Dr John White, advised the committee it would take 10-12 years to design and build a new submarine to meet Australia’s requirements and on a fixed-price basis.
“Based on Dr White’s advice and Admiral Barrett’s testimony, the Ai Group Defence Council National Executive is of the view that sufficient time is available to have a Project Definition Study of a number of options – European and Japanese – to meet our nation’s new submarine requirements,” Mr Willox said.
“There remains ample time for the Federal Government to hold a tender process to build Australia’s future submarines and Ai Group urges the Government to remain open to such an approach.”