New submarine weapons systems contract for Babcock

French submarine builder Naval Group has signed a major supplier subcontract with Babcock to supply the Weapon Discharge System (WDS) for the Attack class submarines it is building in Adelaide.

The deal is good news for local manufacturers who form Babcock’s existing supply chains in Australia and are likely to be involved in engineering and manufacturing the system.

Babcock manufactured the WDS for the Collins class submarines in Australia and provides engineering and through life support for the boats from bases in Osborne in South Australia and Henderson in Western Australia.

Babcock also supplied the Mk32Mod9 torpedo tubes for Australia’s three Hobart class destroyers which were recently completed in Adelaide.

The new subcontract will cover the crucial control system for the submarines weaponry.

Naval Group said in a statement that Babcock had a dedicated team of highly skilled engineers, project managers and technicians serving the Royal Australian Navy submarines.

Naval Group CEO John Davis said: “Naval Group has worked closely with Babcock to develop an Australian Industry Capability Plan that maximises opportunities for Australian industry and enables the transfer of technology and knowledge to Australia for the WDS.

“Babcock’s investment in local infrastructure and intellectual capital will be critical to the success of the programme and will ensure we create and sustain a sovereign submarine capability now and into the future.”

Preliminary design work on the WDS will get underway in Bristol, United Kingdom, manned partly with Australian staff seconded to the UK to prepare for technology transfer to Adelaide.

Chief Engineer for Babcock Australia’s Defence Programmes Shane Eckert is already working in Bristol.

He said: “While there is a lot to learn and achieve, having on the ground involvement and exposure to an international team is incredible.

“Knowing I am contributing to something much larger, something that will last beyond my own career is hugely rewarding.”

Babcock will also manage the involvement of local suppliers to manufacture critical components including mechanical, electrical and hydraulic components, assembly and testing.

Babcock will add to its established local supply-chain, which has been supporting the Collins WDS for more than 20 years with new suppliers that have already registered interest on the ICN Gateway.

More stories on the Attack submarine here.

Picture: Naval Group

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