Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR MAY 2016 Contents 5
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 20 | MAY 2016
In what would appear to be a win for
capability over geopolitical and strategic
regional alliances, the Australian Govern-
ment has selected France’s DCNS (Di-
rection des Constructions Navales Ser-
vices) shipyard as the preferred partner
for design of the 12 Future Submarines
under Sea 1000.
The 26 April announcement follows
protracted and at times colourful public
exchanges between bidders, but in the
end “the decision was driven by DCNS’s
ability to best meet all of our unique ca-
pability requirements. These included
superior sensor performance and stealth
characteristics, as well as range and
endurance similar to the Collins-class
submarine,” a joint statement by Prime
Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence
Minister Marise Payne said.
For ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems
and the Japanese Government-led bid
proposing a modified Soryu-class, the
defeat must be a bitter pill. The Germans
were seen as a safe pair of hands, while
the Japanese appeared to have technical
strength as well as ticking more alliance
and trade par tner boxes.
The apparent preference for the DCNS
bid for predominantly best meeting the
Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) capability
requirements is a major positive for the
Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP)
and a sound pointer to the future for this
AUD$50 billion program.
Other factors in the Government’s
considerations included cost, schedule,
program execution, through-life support
and Australian industry involvement.
Despite being long derided both within
and outside Defence, the CEP seems to
have provided the detail and clarity nec-
essary to make a clear call that DCNS
was best placed to develop a regionally
superior diesel-electric submarine to
meet the RAN’s unique and exceptionally
demanding performance requirements.
The CEP was led by Head of the Fu-
ture Submarine Program, Rear Admiral
(RADM) Greg Sammut, and General
Manager Submarines, RADM Stephen
Johnson US Navy (retired), who was
previously in charge of the program to
replace the US Navy’s (USN) Ohio-class
ballistic missile submarines.
The process itself was further over-
seen by an independent Exper t Advisor y
Panel, chaired by former Secretary of the
USN, Professor Donald Winter. It was
peer reviewed by Vice Admiral Paul Sul-
livan USN (retired) and RADM Thomas
Eccles USN (retired).
The involvement of so many high-rank-
ing ex-USN submarine subject matter
experts is perhaps testament to the
independence, non-partisanship and
balance with which the CEP was con-
ducted. There is no sense of a decision
being made that might favour an alleged
preference in Washington for the Japa-
nese solution based on the Soryu-class.
With the US personnel involved and
their professional backgrounds one
might also reasonably conclude that the
repor tedly sensitive issue of intellectual
property sharing between the French
and Americans over integration of a US
combat system has been problem-solved.
Put on the shelf in a box marked ‘sorted’.
A BIG DEAL
Even by international standards the Sea
1000 program is massive. Massive finan-
cially, technically and politically.
It is big for DCNS and France as well,
and will see a government-to-govern-
ment and commercial relationship with
the RAN and Australia that will span
the next two generations out to 2060.
No defence equipment procurement
program in Australia has ever attempted
this depth or length of engagement with
an overseas prime contractor. Few pro-
grams around the world have either.
“This success has been made possible
thanks to the strong teamwork between
the French authorities, DCNS and our
industrial partners,” said DCNS chairman
and chief executive officer, Hervé Guillou
in a release the day of the announcement.
“France and Australia have been allies
for more than 100 years and we look for-
ward to further strengthening this time
honoured relationship and honouring the
trust the Australian Commonwealth Gov-
ernment is placing in us for this ground
breaking project,” Mr Guillou said.
As the DCNS Future Submarine ex-
ecutive summary puts it, in selecting
France, Australia enters into a strategic
relationship with a ‘complete’ submarine
power and one with national policies to
remain so, in this case out to 2080 and
beyond. A complete submarine power is
one that can safely design, build, operate
and sustain any class of submarine on an
Uniquely, the French connection for
Sea 1000 provides Australia with access
to enduring and leading-edge capabil-
ities in stealth; sonar and other sensor
technology derived from nuclear ballistic
missile and nuclear attack submarines;
the return on experience from long-
range patrols; nuclear safety standards;
technology development pathways; and
a complete array of research and devel-
opment and test facilities.
The French Government has indicated
a preference to build all 12 submarines
in Australia, which is further solidification
of the Government’s sustainable naval
shipbuilding plan set in stone last month
with First Pass Approval for the Offshore
Patrol Vessel and Future Frigate projects
and the selection of Austal as preferred
tenderer to build up to 21 replacement
Pacific Patrol Boats.
The DCNS Shortfin Barracuda Block
1A is a 4,500 tonne, 97m derivative of
the Barracuda-class nuclear-powered
attack submarine currently under con-
struction for the French Navy, and will
incorporate France’s most sensitive and
protected submarine technology to be
the most lethal conventional submarine
French snare Sea 1000
The selection of DCNS as the preferred Future Submarine design
partner “was the absolutely unambiguous recommendation from the
Department of Defence that came through the Competitive Evaluation
Process,” Prime Minister Turnbull told a journalist on 26 April when
asked if the choice was that recommended by the RAN.
Pump jet propulsion means the Short-
fin Barracuda can move more quietly
than submarines with propeller tech-
nology. In a confrontation between two
otherwise identical submarines, the one
with pump jet propulsion always has the
tactical advantage, cites DCNS in its ex-
The sonar suite is to be supplied by
Thales and will be the “best available
ever for a submarine this size”.
DTR will be sure to provide further
coverage of Sea 1000 and the Shortfin
Barracuda design in coming issues.
Note: For those non-French speakers among
us, our main coverline this issue translates as
‘French reel in the big one’.
– Ian Bostock
STATE OF THE ART SIGNATURE
QUICK ACCESS TECH INSERT
HATCHES ALLOW UPGRADES
TO BE MADE EASILY
THE MOST POWERFUL SONAR
EVER PRODUCED FOR A
TO REDUCE DRAG AND NOISE
PUMP JET PROPULSION
Shor tfin Bar racuda Bloc k 1A
Pump jet propulsion is a stand-out feature of the Shortfin Barracuda
Black 1A design. Subject to discussions with the Commonwealth on
commercial matters, the design of the Future Submarine with DCNS
will begin this year, according to the company. Images: DCNS
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