124 companies apply for $900 million submarine work package

One-hundred and twenty-four Australian companies have applied to be tier one partners and 1,964 have made expressions of interest to be a part of the broader supply chain for the $90 billion Attack Class submarine program.

The 124 companies — as the count stood on Friday — will compete for work “ranging from the submarine’s main shaft line to the weapons handling system” the federal government said.

These 23 new pieces of equipment were sourced offshore for the Collins Class submarine fleet, which the new submarines will replace.

In addition, almost 2000 Australian businesses have also registered their interest with the Naval Group Australia Industry Capability Network (ICN) portal.

The news comes as the French company continues to face criticism for the level of work it plans to do in France and with its existing French contractors.

Today independent senator Rex Patrick, a former submariner said: “Contracts for future submarine equipment are being awarded to foreign companies without competition or Australian content requirements.”

Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles told the National Press Club in August it was wrong to choose Naval Group without a guarantee from the company of local content requirements.

However Naval Group Australia Chief Executive Officer John Davis said there had been an impressive response from Australian businesses to the call for expressions of interest.

Davis said: “Australian manufacturers have shown in this response that they stand ready to step up and play their part in building submarines that will be critical for Australia’s defence.

“The potential benefits for the nation from this program are immense and will last a generation.”

Jean-Michel Billig, Naval Group EVP Australia said the company would work closely with local industry.

“We will help by transferring the skills and expertise which have been gathered over 100 years of submarine construction in France to our Australian partners.

“These partnerships will also deliver the transfer of cutting-edge technology and skills from France to Australia, while increasing domestic manufacturing capability at a time when a premium has been placed on sovereign capability and self-reliance.”

Naval Group Australia employs almost 300 people in South Australia.

Meanwhile, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the federal opposition will call on the Auditor-General to investigate the rising cost of the submarine acquisition, which was announced five years ago as costing $50 billion while secretly budgeted by defence at $80 billion.

Picture: navy.gov.au

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