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Saab Global

Next Gen submarine engineers

2 min read

Through the SUBS in Schools education program, Saab Australia graduates are helping high school students build a one metre long working model submarine.


Using modern design, manufacturing and virtual reality technologies, teams of year 10-12 students are working alongside local technology companies to design and manufacture the best performing submarine in a national challenge.

Successful submarines must be able to dive, manoeuvre, complete specific tasks within a given time and meet design limitations set by the rules.

Last year, Saab Australia teamed with Re-Engineering Australia, ASC, the Australian Maritime College, and the South Australian Government Department for Education and Child Development to develop and pilot the active learning program with six schools across Australia.

Andrew McCauley, Subs In Schools Project Manager, led the Saab team that created the manual which teaches students how to build a submarine step-by-step.

With a full parts inventory, complete building instructions and theoretical descriptions explaining how the submarine actually works, the build manual is now a rich learning resource for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

“It explains buoyancy, mechanics and electronics through mathematical formulas which are supported by easy-to-follow 3D CAD diagrams,” said Mr McCauley.

This year, 30 teams are competing in the SUBS in Schools national challenge with Saab supporting the Heights School at Modbury and St Peters Girls High School with graduate engineers George Somolos and Scott Merchant as mentors.

“Our graduate engineers also grow from the experience — they’re developing leadership skills, building confidence in group communication and extending their engineering capacity to problem solve”, said Mr McCauley.

Graduate engineers Ben Turner and Clifford Shum mentored a team through last year’s pilot program.

“It was a really rewarding experience where we actually got to understand the real differences between teaching and mentoring.”

Competing teams must document the complete design and manufacturing process and create promotional material which will be exhibited and judged with their submarine’s performance at the Royal Adelaide Show in September.

“This is a great program that exposes students to the real world challenges an engineering team might encounter and poses scientific and construction challenges to stimulate creativity and innovation,” said Mr McCauley.

The ultimate aim of the program is to align with national curriculum where the technical portfolio and submarine scale models students produce, contribute to their final year 12 assessments in design and technology subjects.