Australian DoD scheduled construction of first shortfin Barracuda-class submarine from 2023 onward

The head of Australia’s AUD50 billion (USD32.2 billion) Sea 1000 programme has confirmed that construction of the pressure hull for the first of 12 Attack-class conventionally powered submarines is scheduled to begin in 2024 said Greg Sammut, general manager, submarines, in the Department of Defence’s (DoD’s) Capability and Sustainment Group (CASG) in an interview with British magazine Janes.

This will follow the construction in 2023 of a hull qualification section to prove procedures, equipment, and skills at the submarine construction facility now being built at Osborne North near Adelaide by government-owned Australian Naval Infrastructure to the functional requirements of Sea 1000’s French-owned designer and build partner Naval Group.

“We may choose to sign a contract that combines detailed design, which is scheduled to start in May 2023, and construction of the first boat. This would enable Naval Group and [combat systems integrator] Lockheed Martin Australia to get into detailed design, produce the work instructions and have a seamless transition into construction,” said Sammut.

Work on the pressure hull could begin before the completion of the detailed design.

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While the number of submarines to be included in the first construction contract is still being decided, “it will certainly not be for 12”, said Sammut.

“We would want to make sure that we’ve got the opportunity to look at updates to technology over the life of the programme. We will also be considering the different pricing models that would apply to different stages of the programme as we get more familiar with the build process,” he added.

“You’re retiring risk as you build more boats and that means we might want different pricing models for subsequent boats.”

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