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NAVAL GROUP CEO, BRENT CLARK
Naval Group in Australia (formally DCNS Australia)
was established a little over two years ago but it draws
on a French naval construction pedigree dating back
Our parent, Naval Group, employs 12,500 people
globally, boasts turnover of 3.4 billion euro and not only
builds and maintains the fleet for French Navy but is a
proven exporter and joint venture partner on submarine
and warship programs around the globe.
Naval Group’s mission in Australia is to deliver a
regionally superior submarine by bringing international
experience and technology together with local
capabilities to upskill Australia and help Australia
become an independent submarine nation.
We already have a head start because the
French Navy’s Barracuda class submarines will be
the reference point for the design of Australia’s
future submarines and will incorporate the best in
There is no doubt that exciting times are ahead
for those in the naval construction sector with the
Turnbull Government committing to $90 billion in
spending over the decades ahead, through the
National Shipbuilding Plan.
The Future Submarine Program is no less than
a nation-building program that will assist in the
creation of a sustainable maritime industry, create
thousands of jobs and boost the economy for
decades to come.
The Future Submarine Program aims to deliver
Australia a regionally superior submarine capability.
The Future Submarine fleet will be constructed
in Australia and will be operated and sustained
The program must ensure that the Australian
industrial capability necessary to build the Future
Submarine and support its operations and sustainment
This will involve maximising the involvement of
Australian industry in all phases of the program, without
unduly compromising capability, cost or schedule.
We at Naval Group have to transfer everything to
Australia that can be transferred to Australia and find
companies that can do it.
This is a complex task but one that is vital to the
creation of a sovereign submarine sustainment capability.
The Future Submarine Program must be seen
in the context of a continuous build program that
embraces not only submarines, but the Future Frigate
and Offshore Patrol Vessel programs as part of the
National Shipbuilding Plan.
That plan includes a welcome commitment
from the Commonwealth to the development of a
modern submarine construction facility at Osborne
North in Adelaide.
With the Commonwealth we are currently working
on a costed detailed design for infrastructure to build
the submarines with shipyard construction expected to
begin from 2018.
A commitment to a “rolling acquisition program’’
for submarines also creates certainty not only for
Naval Group but for the many hundreds of potential
Australian suppliers who will be involved in the
program in planning for their future investment and
In terms of the challenge of building a workforce we
do not underestimate the task ahead.
Naval Group estimates that 2,800 jobs will be
created through the Future Submarine Program
involving about 1,100 direct shipbuilding jobs and a
further 1,700 supply chain jobs.
Getting the right people will be crucial to the
success of the project.
Much effort will be devoted to partnering with
education and training providers before construction
of the submarines to ensure we have the necessary
expertise in place and ensure those people get
appropriate on the job training.
We will take the best we can get and we will
train the best.
A shipyard is as diverse an employer as any
you can imagine. We will need everyone from
general labourers through to welders, technicians,
engineers, supply chain, technology transfer,
procurement specialists, cleaners, administrators,
security guards and canteen staff to name just a few
of the roles we will need to employ.
The Federal government’s decision to establish the
$25 million Naval Shipbuilding College in Adelaide will
also assist Naval Group in recruiting talented workers
to take on the program.
I want to say a bit more about the capacity of the
Australian industry because Naval Group has spent
considerable time scoping out the capabilities of
Australian industry is highly capable and I wouldn’t
want anybody to think that Australian industry can’t be
involved in all aspects of the submarine program.
It is our experience that Australian firms are keen to
We will choose the firms that meet the requirements,
offer value for money and provide quality, wherever
they come from across the nation in order to build a
sustainable industrial capability.
Australian industry involvement therefore needs
to be considered methodically to ensure sovereign
outcomes are assured.
Let me turn to the theme of innovation that is another
area where government has taken the lead.
For Naval Group the purpose of innovation is
to ensure the Royal Australian Navy gets a
regionally superior submarine fleet delivered from a
comprehensive industrial base of know-how, science
and technology and the means of production.
As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has suggested
in launching the government’s National Innovation and
Science Agenda last year “companies that embrace
innovation, that are agile and prepared to change
confidently and with a sense of optimism are more
competitive, more able to grow market share and likely
to increase their employment’’.
And with government having a keen eye on the
bottom line, innovation also leads to a reduction in the
cost over ownership to the customer over time.
In France alone Naval Group spent A$150 million
on innovation and research and development in
2015 and that is expected to grow to A$180
million this year.
Naval Group CEO, Brent Clark
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