Page 50 - Australian Defence Magazine - July 2018
P. 50

Australia is in the early stages of preparation for the largest, most complex (not to mention expensive) program it has ever undertaken as a nation in the Future Submarine. ADM Managing Editor Katherine Ziesing spoke to Mark Sander about what role the Submarine Institute of Australia plays in this space.
Mark Sander
President of the
Submarine Institute of Australia
Joined Royal Australian Naval College
Graduated UNSW with BSc Joined submarines
Passed Submarine Command Course (Perisher)
Assumed Command of HMAS OVENS
Assumed Command of HMAS ONSLOW
Assumed Command of HMAS OTAMA
Submarine Program Manager, New Submarine program
Captain Submarines
Director General Future Submarine Program
Maritime Program Director, Safran Electronics & Defense Australasia
ADM: What does the SIA hope to con- tribute to the Defence community? SANDER: The aim of the SIA is to pro- mote informed discussion and research into submarine matters and their associated fields – operations, engineering and general underwater warfare. I suppose more broad- ly speaking, and it is a very timely question, the SIA was very active in the Defence White Paper for 2009 and 2016 in pursuing the argument for future submarines. The government has mandated 12 submarines, so the question after that point was what role do we perceive the SIA to perform?
With this in mind, I spoke to Jane Mad- den, a former DFAT senior official and asked her to conduct an independent study for the SIA by engaging our key stakehold- ers and asking them what role do they see the SIA performing.
We received a lot of interesting feedback; some of the things that she reported on we are already doing and there are some things that we need to do more of and do better.
We do have a vast source of operational and technical knowledge among our mem- bers and that’s not only submariners but its members of industry who are part of the SIA. We offer non-partisan, non-political support. We’re here to promote subma- rines, not necessarily to pursue a specific political agenda.
In addition to this role we have provided
financial support to the Find AE1 Founda- tion, and we were a key player in the 50th anniversary of HMAS Platypus and cel- ebrations for the birth of the modern sub- marine era in Australia.
Those activities are there to support our motto; inform the public, inform govern- ment and sometimes inform defence about submarine matters.
ADM: What role does the SIA play in the ongoing development of Sea 1000? SANDER: The SIA was active in the de- velopment of the two most recent White Papers but we can’t rest on our laurels. There are other areas now that we can contribute to through the expertise in the SIA. We can assist in bringing valuable lessons learnt from our members who have been involved in previous ship and submarine programs, in previous submarine operations and, of course, the breadth of industry.
We would like to think that we can better inform the public, the media and, at times, parliamentary members who, through cer- tainly no fault of their own, have not had much access or experience in submarine op- erations and submarine building.
It is an important activity and we would like to think that we could help in that de- bate and inform the public about the need for submarines. I think that activity will al- ways be an ongoing one. It’s not something you do once and then just leave behind.
ADM: Thinking back to the early stages of the Collins design and build program, what lessons learned from that process need to be applied to the Future Submarine? SANDER: I was fortunate enough to be involved in Oberons at their later stages and then in the transition to Collins. I don’t think we excelled in that transition from the Oberons to Collins. We learned a lot of lessons about how we could do that in a much more seamless manner.
In setting the new requirements for the Future Submarine, we need to understand what the risks and impacts are and think- ing what the solution is and what trade-offs are required. Sometimes the operators will require a certain capability which technol- ogy is not yet able to meet, but on the other hand, we need to be aggressive in pushing the capability envelope.
It is a challenge to get that balance right. We want a very capable submarine and you don’t do that without pushing the technical envelope.
2004 2010
Continued on page 46
50 | July 2018 |

   48   49   50   51   52