Monday, February 23, 2015

Saab restates its 100-year-old record of quality sub construction amid criticism by Australia

Philip Smart, Australian Defence Magazine, Feb. 23

Swedish defence company Saab has reiterated its submarine building credentials in the face of an Australian Government announcement that only Germany, France and Japan will be evaluated as potential sources of partners for Australia's Future Submarine, effectively excluding Saab from bidding as a prime contractor.
In a statement released Friday, Saab pointed to more than 100 years of submarine development history, which the company believes demonstrates capability and capacity to offer a low-risk competitive solution, built in Australia. 
Saab said Sweden is one of the few countries currently developing a next-generation submarine and has previously stated it could deliver Australia's first Future Submarine within 10 years of program start.
"Saab has delivered six submarines since 1996, the latest of which was commissioned in 2013," said Gunilla Fransson, Senior Vice President, Head of Saab Defense and Security.
"All involved significant numbers of design and production engineers with the same skills used in any new submarine build process. 
Saab is also currently approaching the end of a detailed design phase for Sweden's Next Generation Submarine and are about to enter into the production phase."
On Friday Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews announced France, Germany and Japan had been shortlisted for a 10-month "competitive evaluation", after which one nation's capability will be selected to partner on design and build of Australia's Future Submarine. 
The three were selected as having proven design and build capability and current submarine production. 
Australian industry, including the Australian Submarine Corporation, will need to work with the successful international partner to be involved in the program.
While disappointed with the Government's position, Saab executives would still join any evaluation should the Government's decision be reversed.
"If government policy on this matter changes we stand ready to offer our capabilities to Australia and move forward with a proposal," said Gunilla Fransson. 
"Saab is also a supplier of leading edge submarine and underwater subsystems and we are ready to engage in any discussion on these technologies."
Saab provides the Collins class submarine's Integrated Ship Control Management and Monitoring System (ISCMMS), and employs more than 200 naval systems engineers in Adelaide.

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