Enhancing technological maturity in maritime supply chains

The Naval Shipbuilding Plan released by Government in 2017 set an ambitious agenda of establishing a continuous naval shipbuilding and sustainment program for Australia.

With the Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels and Guardian Class Patrol Boat build programs now in full swing and design efforts ramping up for the Hunter Class Frigate and Attack Class Submarine programs, attention is turning to how Australian Industry Capability can be enhanced to maximise Australian industry participation in current and future programs.

The Naval Shipbuilding Plan (work is underway on a substantial revision to the Plan which will be known as the Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Plan) provides both an appetite, and the necessary lead-time, for Australia’s industrial capacity and capability to be built up so that Australian industry is well-positioned to take full advantage of supply chain opportunities in shipbuilding and sustainment.

DMTC is central to this mission, providing industrial innovation leadership alongside the science and technology strategy led by DSTG. DMTC and DSTG’s efforts are coordinated, complementary and designed to evolve as shipbuilding programs progress. This has seen DMTC work with Navy, CASG and DSTG on how themes of work from different Defence programs can be managed under one umbrella.

An example is DMTC’s work in the development of piezoelectric materials for sonar applications that aligns directly with DSTG’s STaR Shots mission focused on Remote Undersea Surveillance. The creation of an Advanced Piezoelectric Materials and Applications Program will establish a strategic national capability in advanced piezoelectric materials.

Such an innovation pipeline from investment in strategic sovereign scientific capabilities through to the development of specific Defence applications would not be possible if programs operated in isolation. This model has the potential to be applied in other areas of the Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.