Page 62 - Australian Defence Magazine Aug 2019
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Continued from page 66
ADM: To be very clear, there is Naval Group money leaving the door to Austra- lian industry right now?
ADM: You mentioned the workforce is- sue. What is the profile of the workforce that you will need between Australia and France over the coming years?
DAVIS: At the moment for the main de- sign activities, about 500 people are working on the program in France and about 100 in Australia. Naval Group Australia will double in size this calendar year and will continue to double in size over the short term and then we’ll get onto a progressive climb from there. In terms of the core work, you’ll see more and more of it being prosecuted in Australia.
ADM: What skill sets are you looking for in the short term as you ramp up? DAVIS: Procurement, program manage- ment, construction of the yard, design en- gineers, technologists, the usual program management support activities. But our main thrusts are really in procurement and engineering.
ADM: How does the relationship with Lockheed Martin as the Combat Systems Integrator (CSI) work in a practical day- to-day sense? What role will they play as part of the design authority and as the program comes together?
DAVIS: Well I guess there’s two parts to that. There’s the formal part, which is
enshrined in contract and then there’s the practical part of it. Within the framework between Lockheed Martin Australia, the Commonwealth, and ourselves, there are formal agreements in place which define the work and how we work together and indeed the responsibilities of each of the parties within that framework. It’s pretty well codified.
Practically, we have dedicated teams supporting combat system activities both within the CSI organisation and within the prime systems integration organisa- tion. Those two teams work very closely and collaboratively together. Both Lock- heed Martin and Naval Group are very ex- perienced practitioners in this field. Naval Group designs and builds submarines, and Lockheed Martin as a CSI has a wealth of experience, principally drawn from the US but further afield as well.
When it comes to talking about the de- sign authority the CSI will have its own de- sign delegations within the CSI framework as well, and then across the teams we will work together to provide the integrated de- sign authority for the whole platform, and that’s fairly standard; I don’t think there’s any surprises to that.
That was how it was always envisaged and that’s how it’s working. Ultimately what it means for Naval Group Austra- lia is that we will operate a platform de- sign authority team which is going to be at least 100 strong, which will have the necessary delegations to support the de- tailed design and build activity for the submarine.
Lessons learned from the Suffren will be applied to the Future Submarine program where applicable.
ADM: The program of refer- ence is the Barracuda program in France. Can you give us an update as to how that is going?
DAVIS: The first of class Barra- cuda, the Suffren, was launched on 12 July and has commenced systems commissioning and trials activi- ties. In terms of the timing of that program, it pretty well runs ideal for Australia. We’re picking up the lessons learnt from the design and build and that’s given us the op- portunity, one, to ensure we un- derstand the inherent risks we may have within Future Submarine for
those pieces from Barracuda, and two, it gives us another contemporary frame of ref- erence for cost and schedule considerations.
So for example, looking at things like procurement activities, we know what mar- ket prices are for equipment and that means in terms of our forecasting for the Com- monwealth, we can be more accurate.
ADM: Suffren suffered a three-year de- lay; those lessons learned will be applied to Future Submarine?
DAVIS: Yes, though some of the issues around Suffren were associated with the nu- clear component of the submarine. There are some lessons which we can draw from this pro- gram but not necessarily all, because not all of them are relevant to the Australian program.
ADM: Given the raft of maritime pro- grams that Australia has on the horizon, do you think we’re setting up the envi- ronment to have the skills and the people that we need to meet that demand? DAVIS: That’s a very broad question. What I’d say is when you have a look at the overall numbers which are forecast to be re- quired within a shipbuilding enterprise, it’s over 5,000 plus supply chain and sustain- ment which will probably be double that. That environment will also see growth in adjacent markets as well.
And what’s quite interesting now, when you look at oil and gas and mining, many of the skills which they’re seeking are the same skills which we would traditionally draw from for shipbuilding and engineer- ing. The mining industry, for example, are
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