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ESTIMATES COMMITTEE B - 16/04/1991 - DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE - Program 8-SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - Subprogram 8.3-Materials research

SENATOR VALLENTINE -My question relates to the air independent propulsion project. Has research been developed to such a stage that AIP may be included on some or all of the Kockums Collins class submarines now under construction?

MR ALLISON -I would have to refer that question.

VICE-ADM. BEAUMONT -The answer to your question is no and nor has a decision yet been made on that. We will continue to monitor that progress both in the air independent propulsion and fuel technology cells.

SENATOR VALLENTINE -How much has been spent on this project in each financial year since its inception?

VICE-ADM. BEAUMONT -I do not have those figures.

SENATOR VALLENTINE -Would it be possible to get them?

VICE-ADM. BEAUMONT -Yes.

SENATOR VALLENTINE -When is this project expected to conclude?

MR ALLISON -It is a research and development project which is currently in its very early stages. I cannot give you an estimate. I think the Materials Research Laboratory is in the process of developing a task plan to cover the R and D phase. A ballpark figure might be five years.

SENATOR VALLENTINE -So there is no total budget laid down for the project?

MR ALLISON -It will be in the process of developing the task plan. The task plan provides very precise estimates of the resources that will be allocated to that particular project and so at the time of approval of the task plan, that information would be available.

SENATOR VALLENTINE -Against what performance indicators is it regularly assessed and by whom?

MR ALLISON -You are talking about tasks in general?

SENATOR VALLENTINE -This particular project.

MR ALLISON -In future what will happen is that that task will be part of a component within the materials research subprogram. As a task it will have a task manager who will be accountable to the chief of the division in the Materials Research Laboratory, which has responsibility for that component. He will be required to review the task annually. Over and above that, in the DSTO we hold annual subprogram reviews under the program management and budgeting process in which the director of MRL, as the subprogram manager, will account to the chief defence scientist and his board on the progress of that aspect on an annual basis.

SENATOR VALLENTINE -Thank you.