£30bn submarine deal signed by Australia and France
France has agreed to build a fleet of 12 submarines for Australia in a A$50bn (£29.5bn) deal.
French naval contractor DCNS will construct the fleet after Australia selected DCNS in April as its preferred bidder, ahead of other offers from Japan and Germany.
The deal, which was signed today, finalises one of the world’s most lucrative defence contracts.
“This is a critically important step in the development of our security, in the assurance of our government in delivering Australians the security and prosperity that they need,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said (pictured above, right).
Australia’s new fleet of submarines is the centrepiece of its defence strategy unveiled in February, which called for an increase in military spending of nearly A$30bn over the next 10 years to protect strategic and trade interests in the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia rejected offers from Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp AG when selecting DCNS.
Earlier this year, DCNS was left reeling after details from more than 22,000 pages of documents relating to submarines it is building for India were published in The Australian newspaper, leading to concerns about the company’s ability to protect sensitive data.
Australian government ministers said they were certain of maintaining the security of the new submarine fleet.
“We are continuing to invest in cyber security, which is a major part of warfare into the future,” Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said.