Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews has sought to clarify the government’s position on the acquisition strategy for the Future Submarine program, following his second visit to ASC since becoming defence minister.
“At ASC, I confirmed that decisions on Australia’s replacement submarines will be based on a competitive evaluation process managed by the Department of Defence,” he said in a statement. “This process will take into account Australia’s unique capability requirements, as well as considerations such as cost, schedule, technical risk and value for money. Any Australian company that can credibly meet these requirements will be considered on merit, as will potential international partners.”
Minister Andrews stated that Defence has a rigorous process for determining appropriate acquisition strategies.
“Notwithstanding much recent commentary, there are more effective and efficient ways to run a competitive evaluation process for complex capabilities such as submarines than just open tender,” he added. Minister Andrews cited the selection of the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval combat helicopter, which he said was made after a competitive evaluation of offers.
“The government will ensure that Australia obtains the most capable conventional submarines in the world, while avoiding a capability gap after the current Collins class submarines are retired from service,” he said in the statement. “The number of Future Submarines and other key capability requirements including range, endurance and combat system to be acquired is being considered through the Force Structure Review.”