First Batch Of Australia's Future Submarines Unlikely To Be Built In South Australia

By on
An anti-submarine rocket is set off from a Knox-class frigate during the Han Kuang military exercise held about 10 nautical miles eastern of the port of Hualien, eastern Taiwan, September 17, 2014. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang
IN PHOTO: An anti-submarine rocket is set off from a Knox-class frigate during the Han Kuang military exercise held about 10 nautical miles eastern of the port of Hualien, eastern Taiwan, September 17, 2014. Reuters/Pichi Chuang

South Australia may not be able to build the first batch of the country’s next generation submarines. Australia’s Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane believes the submarine work could be initially based offshore.

Macfarlane said he remains optimistic about the prospects of South Australia. The Opposition fears the government may have already decided on Japan as the winning bidder to build Australia’s submarines. It was also worried that locals would miss out on job opportunities.

The Abbott government said it wants both local and international firms to compete for the right to build the submarines. Macfarlane said the process is “very competitive.” He added that Australia may not build the first few submarines but he was not going to rule out the local ship building industry since there are many subs needed.

“I am still optimistic that Australia will have a substantial program in terms of providing jobs for submarines, but it all depends on us being able to produce a competitive tender,” said the industry minister. Macfarlane said there’s more work to be done such as producing components and putting them together. He remarked that some of Australia’s current defence building efforts had been a “shocker”, according to 9News.

In terms of cost, it will cost Australia three times more to build an Air Warfare Destroyer in the country compared to having it done in Spain. Macfarlane said if submarines should be built in the country, it has to produce a competitive tender.

Acting South Australia Premier Jack Snelling said the federal government was talking down the local industry. He believes South Australians want some clarity from the federal government since it promised to build 12 submarines in the state, reports ABC.

Meanwhile, foreign bidders have visited the ASC facilities in Adelaide. Macfarlane said the French, Germans and Japanese have placed their best bids. When asked if any submarine deal with Japan would rule out ASC, the minister could only say he is optimistic since he also takes great pride in the local manufacturing industry.

After the French company DCNS toured the shipyards in Adelaide, its director for strategy and communications Brent Clark said he did not see Japan as gaining a competitive advantage. He added that he is satisfied to see the government running a fair and open evaluation process.

(To report problems or leave feedback on this article, contact: r.su@ibtimes.com.au)

Join the Discussion