Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has used a sod-turning ceremony at the Osborne Shipyard in Adelaide to announce the government’s National Security Committee of Cabinet has ratified the terms of the Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) with Naval Group and the French government for the SEA 1000 future submarine program.
While announcing that the contract to build the new Osborne North Submarine Precinct had been awarded to Laing-O’Rourke, Mr Pyne said the SPA would be signed in February.
“Both Australia, France, Naval Group, the Australian taxpayer represented by the Department of Defence, have all done well out of the negotiations,” he said. “The negotiations have been conducted in a very harmonious spirit and I’m pleased to say that all issues are resolved.”
The Minister wouldn’t elaborate on what issues needed resolution, saying only that “it’s a commercial agreement so I won’t be going into the intricacies of the negotiations.” The SPA negotiations have reported been drawn out due to intellectual property transfer issues and design delays.
Also at the ceremony, Chief of Navy VADM Mike Noonan announced that the Shortfin Barracuda future subs would be known as the Attack class after the leading vessel of the class, despite that first vessel being at least 15 years (and five Chiefs of Navy!) away from entering service. “The Attack class will meet the Navy’s capability needs and help protect our security and prosperity for decades to come,” he said, adding it would provide Australia with a regionally superior submarine.
Minister Pyne congratulated Laing O’Rourke being named as Managing Contractor for the shipyard development. “Overseen by managing contractor Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction, these jobs will see the construction, refurbishment and modernisation of purpose-built facilities specifically designed to enable the most effective build of Australia’s Future Submarine fleet,” he said
“The design and construction activities for the new Submarine Construction Yard will be incredibly important and complex.”