Australia signs mega submarine deal with France

KUALA LUMPUR, Australia formally signed on Monday a USD-35.5-billion contract with France to build 12 state-of-the-art submarines.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the “very audacious plan” at a ceremony in Canberra as “part of Australia’s biggest ever peace-time investment in defense.” The contract is for building 12 attack-class submarines, signed with France’s Naval Group, which operates in the field of military industries and energy equipment, formerly known as DCNS.

The first submarine is expected to be finished in early 2030s, starting with sea trials around the first quarter of 2031 and operational testing in late 2032.

On her part, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said “it took a lot of confidence for Australia to bet on France and a lot of confidence for France to share with Australia the capability that is so close to the core of our sovereignty and strategic autonomy and a result of immense investment over decades”.

Parly hailed the agreement as a long-term partnership with Australia, dismissing some “whining about the lengths of the negotiations.” In 2016, Australia selected a bid by France’s Naval Group over other offers from Japanese and German companies to build a new fleet of submarines, which is the focus of Australia’s plan to increase its armed forces to protect its strategic and commercial interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to building the submarines, the French company, mostly owned by the French Government, is building the shipyard in Adelaide, South Australia.

Source: Kuwait News Agency