Naval Group Australia has signed a contract with Australian steel manufacturers Bisalloy and BlueScope to produce up to 250 tonnes of specialised steel.
According to the contract, Bisalloy has teamed up with BlueScope to produce the unique grade of steel required for the Royal Australian Navy’s Future Submarines. The steel produced will be tested to determine whether it meets the specification for the pressure hull of our new Future Submarines, which is an essential safety requirement.
Over the past 12 months, French shipbuilding major Naval Group (earlier called DCNS) has been working with Bisalloy and BlueScope to develop and qualify Australian steel to meet the demanding specification required for our submarines.
“This will be the first time Australian industry has attempted to make this particular type of steel, demonstrating the ongoing opportunities for local industry within the Future Submarine Program,” said Christopher Pyne, Australian Minister for Defence Industry. “It’s great news for local workers and shows the confidence we have in Australian companies to contribute to this massive $50 billion dollar program.”
In December 2016, Australia and France formally sealed a $50 billion agreement under which Naval Group will build a new fleet of diesel-electric submarines based on its nuclear Barracuda-class submarines. The variant was named Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A.
The submarine was selected as the winner of the Future Submarine Program (SEA 1000) competition, a program undertaken by Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to replace its fleet of Collins-class conventionally-powered attack submarines.
According to RAN, the Shortfin Barracuda will displace 4,500 tons (surfaced), measure 97 metres in length, have an 8.8-metre beam, utilise pump-jet propulsion, have a range of 18,000 nautical miles, a top speed of greater than 20 knots, an endurance of 80 days and a crew of 60.
The construction of the 12 submarines will be done in a new, dedicated Submarine Construction Yard at the ASC shipyard in Osborne, Adelaide, South Australia. The massive assembly hall to be constructed allows for one submarine on the finishing line and another on the assembly line. The workforce of 2800 people will be needed for the construction.
The construction is expected to begin in 2022-23 and will extend into the late 2040s. The first submarine is likely to enter service in the early 2030s.