Australia and Naval Group have reached a settlement to bring a conclusion to the Attack-class submarine program
Australian Government press release
The former government made the decision to terminate the contract on the basis of advice about capability requirements for the Australian Defence Force—advice that was accepted by Labor in Opposition.
We have reached a fair and equitable settlement of €555 million (around $830 million) with Naval Group.
Now that the matter is resolved we can move forward with the relationship with France.
Australia and France share deep historical ties of friendship, forged in common sacrifice in war.
We are both vibrant democracies, committed to upholding human rights and fundamental values.
We deeply respect France’s role and active engagement in the Indo-Pacific.
Given the gravity of the challenges that we face both in the region and globally, it is essential that Australia and France once again unite to defend our shared principles and interests: the primacy of international law; respect for sovereignty; the rejection of all forms of coercion; and taking resolute action on climate change.
I look forward to taking up President Macron’s invitation to visit Paris at an early opportunity, and to continuing to work closely with him as we deepen the strategic partnership between our nations.
Naval Group press release
Naval Group and the CoA have reached a fair and equitable settlement to bring a conclusion to the Future Submarine Program.
Naval Group and the Commonwealth of Australia have reached a fair and equitable settlement to bring a conclusion to the Future Submarine Program.
Naval Group has worked closely with and assisted its partners and subcontractors in Australia and France.
Naval Group pays tribute to all individuals, teams, and its partners who have
worked and delivered on this program for more than five years. Naval Group also
recognises the important work of those who contributed to the discussions
leading to this agreement.
Naval News comments:
For the record, the Australian Government selected Naval Group (then known as DCNS) as its preferred international partner for the design of 12 Future submarines for the Royal Australian Navy on April 26 2016. In the SEA1000 project, DCNS was competing with the Shortfin Barracuda design against Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) Type 216 and Japan’s Soryu-class designs. Based on the new Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) of the French Navy, Australia’s Attack-class submarine would have been 97 meters in length and 8.8 meters in diameter.
The Attack-class design was based on a conventional version of the Barracuda SSN (Suffren-class) featuring a sloped-front sail, bow diving planes, and a pump-jet propulsor (instead of a propeller) with an X-rudder. Lockheed Martin was announced as the Future Submarine Combat System Integrator in September 2016 and the Design Build and Integration Contract was signed 12 January 2018. The Attack-class sensors and processing systems were supposed to be superior in every way to the Collins-class: The AN/BYG-1 combat system with the armament consisting of eight x 533 mm (21-inch) torpedo tubes with an inventory of 28 torpedoes being Mark 48 MOD 7 heavyweight torpedo, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, or Mk III Stonefish mines.
Construction on the first ship-in-class (the future HMAS Attack) was set to start in 2023 and its delivery would have taken place in the early 2030ies. The next units were supposed to follow with a cadence of one submarine every two years.
However on 16 September 2021, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States of America, announced an enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the UK and the US known as AUKUS. The first major initiative under AUKUS is Australia’s acquisition of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines. The move sparked a diplomatic row between Australia and France.
Nine months later, which SSN Australia will get and when (that is IF such submarines are ever delivered) is still not clear. The project is in a preliminary study phase, with an outcome expected in early 2023. Meanwhile Australia is looking at extending the life of (and upgrading) the in-service Collins-class submarine. Several local media reports highlight the fact that nuclear-powered submarine won’t be available until the 2040s at best, meaning a pressing need for an interim solution, as our colleague Kym Bergmann from APDR recently reported.