Lockheed Martin Corp. (IW 500/25), the biggest U.S. defense contractor, has won a bid to design and build the combat system for Australia’s planned A$50 billion (US$38.4 billion) new submarine fleet, beating Raytheon Co.
“By partnering with an Australian-based company with strong links to the United States, we will ensure that we get the best Australian and U.S. technology while ensuring that our sensitive technology is protected," Defense Minister Marise Payne said in a statement released Friday. The value of the contract wasn’t disclosed.
Australia, an ally of the U.S., in April selected France’s DCNS Group to lead the building of 12 diesel-electric powered submarines. DCNS beat bids from Japan and Germany. The fleet, which will replace Australia’s aging Collins Class vessels, is likely to enter service in the early 2030s.
During the tender process, Australia emphasized its preference for the submarines to be built domestically as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government seeks to prop up manufacturing and employment in the South Australian state capital Adelaide, where the new fleet will be constructed.
“Australian industry will be directly involved in the highly technical work of designing and integrating the combat system for the future submarine, further developing our own capability in this specialized area," Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said in the statement.
Lockheed’s involvement will create about 200 of the 2,800 jobs associated with the submarine program, Payne said. The government and DCNS have formally signed a contract to commence the design phase of the program, she said in a separate statement.
By Jason Scott