The Government of Australia has established the Expert Advisory Panel to oversee the competitive evaluation process for the country’s future submarine programme.
The new development comes after France, Germany, and Japan confirmed their participation as potential international partners in the programme.
The newly established panel will be responsible for making sure that the evaluation process remains sound, and is conducted in compliance with probity and accountability principles.
In addition, it will guarantee that the participants of the programme are treated fairly and equitably.
According to government reports this is the largest defence procurement programme in Australia, representing an investment of $50bn.
This new submarine fleet is expected to fill a capability gap in the mid-2020s, when the Collins-class submarine is scheduled to retire from service.
Australia is planning to build future submarines, which feature range and endurance similar to the Collins-class vessels, as well as superior sensor performance, and stealth characteristics.
The country will focus on key capabilities, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, strike, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, mine warfare, and support to both special forces and advance force operations.
The Australian Department of Defence will also seek proposals from potential partners for works including pre-concept designs, options for design and build overseas, a hybrid approach, a rough order of magnitude (ROM) costs, and schedule for each option, as well as positions on key commercial issues.
Under this programme, major work will be carried out in Australia during the build phase of the submarine, including combat systems integration, design assurance, and land based testing.
The government announced the acquisition strategy for the future submarine programme in February this year.