Australia signs $50b submarine project

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne

The Australian government has signed an agreement with French Naval Group to build 12 attack class submarines worth 50 billion Australian dollars ($35.5 billion) for the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian defense minister said on Monday.

Up until now, Naval Group has been working under a $361 million 2016 design and mobilization contract while SPA negotiations were ongoing. "This agreement will create around 2,800 jobs for Australians, while helping to protect our country and keep Australians safe", Christopher Pyne said on Twitter.

"The attack class submarines will give Australian Navy the capability and regional superiority that an island nation like Australia relies upon", said the statement.

Australia selected the French builder as its preferred bidder for the fleet of submarines in 2016 ahead of other offers from Japan and Germany.

Speaking at the agreement-signing in Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the Attack class submarines as the "cornerstone" of a $90 billion National Shipbuilding Plan which will see 54 new naval vessels built in Australia.

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It will see the delivery of 12 regionally superior submarines to Australia, and the delivery of new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities to Australia - introducing the next phase of Australian sovereignty as a submarine nation. "The formalization of the [SPA] represents the contractual basis for the program".

The Feasibility Study phase of the Future Submarine design contract being undertaken in France with the support of Australian engineers has been completed.

According to Naval Group, suppliers of the top five pieces of equipment - the main motor, diesel generators, switchboards, batteries and weapons discharge systems - have been reviewed and will be announced this year.

- Conducted numerous engagement activities in France and Australia to connect potential European and Australian suppliers.

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