There are no off-the-shelf submarine options that meet Australia’s unique submarine capability requirements.
As consequence, the Australian Government has commenced a competitive evaluation process to select an international partner to design and build the next generation of submarines.
This process provides a pathway for Australian industry to maximise its involvement in the SEA1000 program, whilst not compromising capability, cost, program schedule or risk.
As part of this competitive evaluation process, the Department of Defence will seek proposals from potential partners for:
- Pre-concept designs based on meeting Australian capability criteria;
- Options for design and build overseas, in Australia, and/or a hybrid approach;
- Rough order of magnitude (ROM) costs and schedule for each option; and
- Positions on key commercial issues, for example intellectual property rights and the ability to use and disclose technical data.
In addition to this, the Government has endorsed a set of key strategic requirements for our future submarines:
- Range and endurance similar to the Collins Class submarine;
- Sensor performance and stealth characteristics that are superior to the Collins Class submarine; and
- The combat system and heavyweight torpedo jointly developed between the United States and Australia as the preferred combat system and main armament.
France, Germany, and Japan have been invited to participate in this process that will assess their ability to partner with Australia to develop the Future Submarine that meets our capability requirements. All three countries have proven submarine design and build capabilities and are currently producing submarines.
Responses to the competitive evaluation process will be provided by end November 2015, after which the Government will choose the international partner that will design and build the Future Submarine.
The selection process will employ a common evaluation framework that will help Government to balance important considerations including capability, cost, schedule and risks. Other important considerations will include Australian industry involvement and interoperability with our alliance partner, the United States.