A $12.5 million submarine rescue facility to be built in Henderson will give Western Australia a central role in emergency rescues across the region; meanwhile a decision has still not been made on the best location for mid-life submarine maintenance docking.
The state government says a $12.5 million submarine rescue facility to be built in Henderson will give Western Australia a central role in emergency rescues across the region, and will boost the case for WA to host the navy's submarine operation and support centre.
Civmec will soon start construction of the facility in Henderson for Phoenix International, which won a $255 million contract last year for rescue services to the Australian submarine fleet.
The facility will begin operations in 2022 and act as a base for all submarine rescue operations in the region, and will be capable of serving other countries.
US-based Phoenix has selected a one-hectare site off Stuart Drive with a rapid recovery and launch system, hyperbaric treatment unit, deep poll and maintenance training infrastructure.
Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia said the facility would cement an opportunity for WA to be the operation and support centre for Australian submarines, the location of which was expected from the federal government last year.
“Today’s event is a very special one for me, the last job I had in the navy was the submarine escape and rescue service, it was an older technology,” he said.
“What we’re about to build and deploy from this location will be world class … light years ahead.”
Responding to questions from journalists, federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said a decision had not been made on a location for mid-life submarine maintenance.
Mid-life maintenance, also known as full-cycle docking, is currently undertaken in Adelaide at the Osborne shipyard, but the government was considering moving the work to Henderson.
That’s because most of the fleet is based here.
Most other maintenance work is already undertaken at Henderson.
The federal government had previously promised to make a decision before the end of 2019.
Ms Reynolds did not give an updated timeline for a decision.