15th November 2017
SubSTEC4 gets off to a flying start
Opening Reception (Monday, 13 November)
Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) President, Mark Sander welcomed more than 250 delegates at the Opening Reception of the 4th Submarine Science, Technology and Engineering Conference 2017 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.
The Opening Reception also saw the announcement of the SIA Award for Engineering Excellence 2017, which went to Lieutenant Wesley Karl North, RAN, a Marine Engineering Officer on Collins-class submarine HMAS Waller.
Lieutenant North, who was unable to attend the conference, has demonstrated noteworthy skill as a leader among engineers. He is dedicated to training of both officers and sailors, and is an example to others.
Ahead of the Opening Reception, tours of defence industry facilities in the greater Adelaide area took place, including a visit to Flinders University’s Tonsley site which enabled delegates to see first-hand the institution’s research and teaching in maritime engineering, control and imaging technologies.
Other tour sites included the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, Defence Science and Technology Group and submarine industry companies, including ASC.
First day of plenary sessions – Day 2 (Tuesday, 14 November)
The Opening Address of SubSTEC4 was delivered by Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, Hon Christopher Pyne MP, who provided an update on the progress of the design of the new future submarines.
Naval Group Australia (formerly DCNS), in conjunction with its French parent company, is the design partner of the future submarines.
Minister Pyne said: “The next phase of design, the feasibility studies, has commenced.
“We are positioning more Australians in France to gain knowledge and expertise that can be brought back to Australia.
“This will contribute to our sovereign capacity to build, operate and sustain our future submarine fleet in decades to come.”
In reference to the conference theme of “The Australian Submarine Capability – Consolidating Emerging Technologies and Developing the Submarine Workforce”, Minister Pyne said: “Many young Australians who are currently finishing high school will be the apprentices laying foundations for where these large submarines will be built.
“They will construct the halls where the submarine sections will be joined.
“They will certify the berth from which this future fleet will sail.
“Given our commitment to the continuous build of submarines and ships, young Australians in school today can look forward to exciting and varied career opportunities across the national naval enterprise we are building.
“Engineering, technical roles, program management, commercial roles, procurement and other opportunities will provide career paths for young Australians.
“They will make a vital contribution to our nation’s national security.”
Earlier, the Premier of South Australia, Hon Jay Weatherill MP, welcomed delegates to the state’s capital city, Adelaide.
“I’m pleased that workforce development is one of the themes of this conference,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The South Australian economy is in transition and these major defence projects will account for 5200 jobs.
“At our most recent State Budget, we established a $200 million Future Jobs Fund.”
Premier Weatherill also spoke about co-operation between the South Australian and Federal Governments which has been taking place on defence matters.
“The task of workforce development needs to be a concerted, collaborative effort,” he said.
“On this, the South Australian and Federal Governments are as one.
“Christopher Pyne and I talk regularly, and we are working closely together.”
An informative presentation was provided by Rear Admiral Stephen Johnson USN (retired), General Manager Submarines, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), Department of Defence.
Rear Admiral Johnson re-stated the Government’s commitment to build all 12 future submarines in Australia and updated delegates on key dates in the program.
“Construction of the first future submarine will ramp up in 2023,” he said.
There will be a three-year gap between the construction of the first, second and third future submarines respectively.
Rear Admiral Johnson also discussed the issue of sovereignty.
“Submarines are the most complex item that man makes,” he said.
“The sovereignty of the supply chain gets developed over time.
“Our goal is to have a sovereign supply chain which is healthy from the beginning of the program to the construction of the last future submarine.”
Lockheed Martin Australia is a gold sponsor of SubSTEC4 and its Chief Executive, Australia/New Zealand, Mr Vince Di Pietro AM, CSC, spoke about the importance of workforce development in his speech.
“What we don’t have great control over in industry is supply,” Mr Di Pietro said.
“How deeply are we penetrating into schools and tertiary institutions?
“We need to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) wherever possible.”