16th November 2017
Change of pace at conference dinner followed by more high-quality plenary sessions
Conference Dinner (Tuesday, 13 November)
South Australia’s Minister for Defence and Space Industries, Hon Martin Hamilton-Smith MP, welcomed delegates to the SubSTEC4 Conference Dinner (which was sponsored by Defence SA).
In his address, the Minister commended the Federal Government, including the federal Minister for Defence Industry, Hon Christopher Pyne MP, for ensuring the future submarines will be built in Australia.
Mr Hamilton-Smith also posed a number of questions about the program, including how it will be managed and, in keeping with the theme of this year’s conference, the importance of workforce development.
The Minister reinforced the need for collaboration between all levels of government, industry and unions.
“I have no doubt we can do this (the future submarines project) – and do this well,” he said.
The keynote speaker at the conference dinner was Mr Nick Xenophon, who recently resigned from the federal Senate to stand for the state seat of Hartley at the next South Australian election, which is scheduled to be held in March 2018.
Mr Xenophon highlighted the work he did pushing for all 12 future submarines to be built in Australia and not Japan, as he initially thought they would.
“The reason why this project is so important is that as an island nation, Australia needs a strong Navy and submarine force,” he said.
No matter what his political future is, Mr Xenophon pledged to continue his campaign for more local content in the design and construction of the future submarines.
He also acknowledged his replacement in the Senate, former submariner, Rex Patrick, who has just been sworn in.
Second day of plenary sessions – Day 3 (Wednesday, 15 November)
Day three of SubSTEC4 commenced with a series of high-quality presentations which had a distinctly French flavour.
A presentation by Mr Pierre Purdon, Whole Warship Architect, Future Submarine, DGA (General Armament Directorate of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces) was titled “The French Experience”.
Mr Purdon told delegates: “We have to make sure submarines are safe and you have to demonstrate this.
“Consequences of innovation are not always easy to identify.
“Too many innovations at the same time or for the same system may be hazardous.
“Navy people are very innovative for doing things that were absolutely not taken into account in the initial design.”
Chief Technical Officer, Naval Group Australia, Mr Gerard Autret then provided some outstanding insights into the process of and the work that goes into designing Australia’s future submarines.
“The sustainment and life of the submarine need to be taken into account with the design,” he said.
“We have to transform the customer’s requirements into requirements which can be used.”
Mr Autret said critical systems are performance, displacement, schedule, cost and innovation, and that it is unlikely that Naval Group Australia, the design partner of the Australian Government for the future submarines, will not be able please everyone.
“The goal of pre-sizing is not to make everyone happy – it cannot be done!” he said.
“We have to find the best compromise between what the customer wants and the laws of physics.
“There is design review at the end of each design phase.”
From mid-morning onwards, SubSTEC4 delegates divided into streams for the presentation of technical papers.
Among the papers presented was one from someone who openly admitted he doesn’t have an engineering background, Mr Mitchell Bacon, Group Environment Advisor, ASC.
Also conceding he’s not a “typical greenie”, Mr Bacon posed numerous questions about the importance of sustainability to ASC – and the broader defence industry.
He said: “If you asked 20 people in this room what sustainability is, you would probably get 20 different answers.
“It’s about being an outstanding corporate citizen, both ethically and morally.
“We have to acknowledge we don’t operate in isolation to the rest of the world.
“Reducing energy, waste and cost can improve our business performance.”
ASC is providing comprehensive leadership in the development of environmental planning for the significant expansion of the submarine and shipbuilding precinct in north-western suburban Adelaide.