Submarine escape, rescue and abandonment system contract termination

January 21, 2021 – In April 2018, following an open tender process, Phoenix International Australia was selected to deliver a deployable submarine rescue system for use with both the Collins and Attack class submarine fleets.

Following a series of delays in 2019 and 2020, the Department of Defence initiated an independent review of the project in August 2020.

The Government has considered the outcomes and recommendations of the review and has agreed to terminate the contract with Phoenix International Australia by mutual agreement.

The Government has directed the Department of Defence and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to conduct a comprehensive investigation to inform lessons learnt into procurement practices and relevant accountabilities which is underway.

The Department of Defence will now work with Phoenix to reach settlement, which will include addressing arrangements with Phoenix and its subcontractors.

The Royal Australian Navy retains a suitable submarine rescue system supporting the Collins class submarines under an existing contract with James Fisher Defence Australia. This system can be sustained into the late 2020s, affording the Government time to consider the acquisition of a replacement system, which will be required to support the larger crew size of the Attack class submarine.

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