Australia inks US$50 billion French deal for 12 subs

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne met with French Defense Minister Florence Parly in Canberra on Monday to sign the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) to guide the project, nearly three years after Naval Group, formerly known as DCNS, was selected to build the submarines.

The first Attack-class submarine will be named HMAS Attack and it will be delivered in early 2030s, the newspaper quoted a joint statement by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne.

The formal signing of the Agreement is a defining moment for the country.

The Australian government signed on Monday a long-awaited contract for the nation's new fleet of submarines to be built by French state-owned shipbuilder Naval Group.

"Other activities required to deliver this major program, including the development of the submarine construction yard at Osborne in South Australia, are continuing".

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Since being selected as Australia's partner for the Attack class Submarine Program in April 2016, a lot has been achieved. This involves working closely with the Commonwealth to ensure the Future Submarine meets functionality, scheduling and cost requirements. Initial design work for the new submarine class is now taking place in Adelaide and Naval Group's headquarters in Cherbourg, France.

The transfer of technology commenced with the relocation of the first group of Australian engineers to France to learn how to carry out the detailed design of the Future Submarines. The next group of engineers will depart for France in March 2019.

Defence and Naval Group officials have been locked in negotiations for several years to produce the 12 submarines. 169 Australian suppliers have been pre-qualified for the program with Naval Group Australia.

Australia and France will now move on to swiftly conclude the design contract.

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