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In the mid-2020s, the Royal Australian Navy plans to retire the oldest of its Collins-class submarines. Australia intends to acquire 12 new submarines to replace the Collins-class vessels. The Australian Department of Defence asked RAND to assess the domestic engineering and design skills that industry and the government will need to design the vessels, the skills that they currently possess, and ways to fill any gaps between the two. Although Australian industry has numerous technical draftsmen and engineers, few have experience in submarine design, and their availability may be limited due to demands on their time from other programs. The researchers concluded that (1) using this inexperienced domestic workforce instead of a fully experienced one to design the new submarine would lengthen the time it would take to complete the design by three to four years and would increase the costs by about 20 percent, (2) adding submarine-experienced personnel from abroad would shorten the schedule and lessen the cost increase, and (3) taking 20 years rather than 15 years to design the submarine would reduce the peak demand for designers and draftsmen.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Submarine Design Skills and Processes

  • Chapter Three

    Predictions of Future Demand: Estimates of Manpower Required to Design the Future Submarine

  • Chapter Four

    Government Demand: Estimates of Manpower Required to Oversee and Manage the Design of the Future Submarine

  • Chapter Five

    Facilities and Tools Required to Design a Modern Submarine

  • Chapter Six

    Measuring Supply: Survey Overview

  • Chapter Seven

    Design Personnel, Facilities, and Software Tools Available in Australian Industry

  • Chapter Eight

    Design Personnel, Facilities, and Software Tools Available Within the Australian Government

  • Chapter Nine

    Design Personnel, Facilities, and Software Tools Available in Australian Academic Institutions

  • Chapter Ten

    Specifying Australia's Submarine Design Resources Gap and Defining Options to Close It

  • Chapter Eleven

    Evaluating Options for Closing the Industry-Specific Skilled Design Personnel Gap

  • Chapter Twelve

    Evaluating Options for Closing the Government-Specific Personnel Gap

  • Chapter Thirteen

    Evaluating Options for Closing Skill Gaps That Exist Across Industry, Government, and Academia

  • Chapter Fourteen

    Conclusions and Policy Considerations

  • Appendix A

    Operational Safety Considerations

  • Appendix B

    Workload Profiles by Skill

  • Appendix C

    Implementing the Integrated Product and Process Development Approach

  • Appendix D

    Submarine Design Tools

  • Appendix E

    Domestic Submarine Design Capability Survey

The research described in this report was prepared for the Australian Department of Defence and was conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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