Babcock Canada, a player in submarine support, and Hanwha Ocean, a provider of submarine maintenance and construction services, are teaming up for a series of international submarine in-service support symposiums. 

These collaborative efforts are to share best practices in submarine sustainment, ultimately bolstering the support of assets vital to Canada’s national defence.

Strengthening submarine sustainment

Babcock Canada, a Canadian submarine sustainment provider and a key member of Team Victoria-Class, has been entrusted with providing in-service support to the Royal Canadian Navy’s Victoria Class submarines since 2008.

Hanwha Ocean, formerly DSME, is a South Korean submarine industry player offering third-line maintenance, repair, and overhaul services for the Republic of Korea’s diesel-electric submarines. Their experience spans multiple third-line dockings at the Geoje Shipyard’s Naval Ship Area.

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An international exchange of knowledge

The inaugural symposium, held in early September 2023, brought together a team of Babcock submarine sustainment specialists led by Keith Cunnane, VP of marine and mission systems. The gathering provided a platform for these marine organisations to exchange experiences and best practices in submarine sustainment.

“At Babcock, we are committed to delivering the best possible support to our customers. This commitment includes drawing upon international expertise and experience to improve the through-life support of critical assets that are vital to Canada’s sovereignty and national defence, noted Keith Cunnane, Babcock’s VP of marine and mission systems.

He continued, “The bilateral submarine sustainment symposiums we are conducting with Hanwha Ocean will promote the sharing of sustainment best practices between both organisations and further reinforce our commitment to supporting the Royal Canadian Navy’s current and future submarine programs.”

According to GlobalData’s “The Global Submarine Market 2023-2033” report, Canada currently has no ongoing submarine procurement programme but is likely to initiate the replacement of its Victoria-class submarines over the forecast period. The replacement is also expected to be a Diesel AIP Submarine (SSP). 

Sungkyun Jeong, Hanwha Ocean’s SEVP of naval ship international business, expressed their dedication to the collaboration, stating, “Hanwha Ocean, as the absolute leading company in the South Korean submarine industry, will share with Babcock our experience, knowledge, infrastructure, and ecosystem in the submarine industry, not only in MRO but also in new building. 

Building on a solid partnership

The symposiums build upon the long-standing relationship between Babcock and Hanwha Ocean, with both organisations recently signing a technical cooperation agreement.

Babcock has signed previous Canadian submarine programme agreements with South Korean industry. In June this year, Babcock Canada signed two technical cooperation agreements with South Korea’s Hanwha Ocean and HD Hyundai Heavy Industries to collaborate on the Canadian Patrol Submarine Project. 

The agreement follows an MoU signed between Babcock and Hanwha Ocean in 2022 to collaborate on systems integration programmes for future vessels.

Additional engagements to share best practices for submarine sustainment are on the horizon for the coming months. This collaborative effort strengthens submarine support capabilities and shows the value of international cooperation in maintaining and enhancing naval assets critical to national defence.