On Friday 22 March, eleven Naval Group Australia engineers bid ‘au revoir” to Australia to join their Naval Group colleagues in France.
The engineers are relocating to Cherbourg, in the north-west of France, where they will gain the necessary knowledge to design and sustain Australia’s twelve Attack class submarines.
This is the second delegation of Australian engineers to travel to Naval Group in France to complete submarine design training. Over the next few years, a total of one hundred engineers will relocate to Cherbourg as part of the design phase of the Future Submarine Program.
“This is the biggest and most complex defence project Australia has ever undertaken, so to be a part of that, let alone one of the first engineers to go over to France means a lot to me and my career progression” said James Wilkes, Naval Architect.
Paul Willetts, General Arrangement Deputy Lead adds “being involved with a submarine project so early on and going over there as one of the first engineers is really exciting. It will be so valuable to learn from our French counterparts, and then bring that knowledge back to Australia.”
The departing engineers have been taking French classes for several months in the lead up to their departure. “I’m looking forward to learning the French language, learning the culture and learning from France’s experience building submarines” said Luke Cannata, Design Authority Engineer.
Alistair Wroe, Shock Leader is also looking forward to experiencing a different lifestyle. “I’m really excited about moving to a country that has such a different culture to ours; I’ve worked in Canada before, which has a similar culture to Australia, but this is going to be a very different experience for us all.”
As well as a life and cultural experience, it will also provide the group with the opportunity to learn from experts in the field. “It’s a great career opportunity to join at the start of the project, and to learn from the French engineers who have been doing these types of projects for many years,” said Siobhan Giles, Acoustics Engineer.
“One of the really exciting things will be seeing how we apply a very French way of working to an Australian workforce – it will be a fun challenge. It’s really exciting that we also get this amazing cultural experience at the same time as a really high level technical engineering experience,” said Georgia McLinden, Methods and Tools Engineer.
On their return to Australia the engineers will form part of the Design Authority for the Future Submarine Program, ensuring the Program is run with sovereignty.
Only two years into the fifty year program, Electrical Engineer, Terry Byrnes, is excited for the road ahead. “Being part of Australia’s leading defence project to build the best and most innovative submarine, is not only amazing for me, but it’s such a long spanning project that future generations will also be a part of.
“It’s incredible to think that my (future) kids could be working on the same Future Submarine Program I’m working on now.”