Naval Group has signed an agreement with composites manufacturer Airspeed to collaborate to submit a joint proposal for the masts of the Royal Australian Navy’s future Attack-class submarines.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in response to a design competition announced by Lockheed Martin Australia.

Naval Group has developed a new carbon composite mast incorporating advanced technologies to meet the requirements of the navy.

The solution is expected to deliver improved operational efficiency and resistance. The mast will also provide weight benefits and support easier integration into the Attack-class ships.

If their solution is selected, Naval Group and Airspeed will work on the design and production of the masts locally.

Naval Group Pacific CEO François Romanet said: “Naval Group has developed a solution that will meet all operational requirements of the Royal Australian Navy.

“Airspeed has impressive capabilities when it comes to composites manufacturing. If successful in the competition, we have decided to start working together as soon as the design phase to ensure these masts will be produced and maintained in South Australia.”

Airspeed is also working on a research project with Naval Group and Australian universities to enable advancements in additive manufacturing and composites.

Lockheed Martin is the combat system integrator for the Attack-class submarine programme. The company was awarded a contract in January last year to design, build and integrate the combat system.

In October, Lockheed contracted Safran to provide initial designs for the combat system’s components, including the navigation radar, optronics search and attack mast, and navigation data distribution.