Australia’s Future Underwater Warfare Capability – Project SM 2020
The Future Maritime Environment
Australia is an island – it is dependent on the sea for transportation of key imports, for example, energy and technology. Our economic well being is heavily dependent on exports carried in ships.
Countries in our region are investing heavily in warships and surveillance systems to support their national maritime interests. For example, by 2020 at least ten nations will be operating over 100 submarines in our region.
The maritime environment will therefore grow in importance for our security and prosperity; it will be more difficult and challenging to operate in.
How Is The Capability To Be Achieved?
Australia’s submarines require long range, the ability to cover the long distances quickly and remain on task for several weeks – this is a product of our geography.
Australia’s Collins class submarines have been developed specifically to meet these needs.
The lesson is clear: we should build on the key ingredients of our success in Collins to evolve and develop the replacement design for the future underwater warfare capability.
What Needs To Be Done Now?
The Collins class will reach end of life starting in 2025.
For a Future Submarine to be in service in 2025, a construction contract must be in place by 2016. In order to place this contract with acceptable risk, investment is required now to:
Continue to develop the technology in the Collins class;
Develop Australia's submarine science, engineering and design capability;
Prototype solutions to identify and address the high risk areas;
Engage technology partners to accomplish these preparations;
Support the SEA 1000 Future Submarine Project teams within the Defence Materiel Organisation and the Capability Development Group to manage this complex development project;
Recover and grow the RAN's Submarine Arm manpower to man the project.
Click here to download a copy of the SIA submission to the 2009 Defence White Paper (PDF 1.3MB).
What are the key issues facing acquisition of a New Submarine? Download a 2-page brief here (PDF 915 KB).
A brief on the arguments underpinning the requirement for the future submarine capability and method of acquiring it can be downloaded here. (PDF 288 KB)
Download SIA paper 'SM2020 - Australia's Strategic Sting' here (PDF 132 KB)
Download presentation given to 'Seapower 2008' by Peter Briggs on 30 January 2008 here (PDF 388 KB)
Download a brochure answering Frequently Asked Questions about the Future Submarine. (PDF 389 KB)