Naval Group has signed the first phase of a design agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) in Canberra for the future Attack-class submarines.

The signing of the contract represents another key milestone in Australia’s A$50bn ($35.42bn) Future Submarine Programme.

The submarine design contract marks the first contract work scope to be fully executed under the Strategic Partnering Agreement signed between Naval Group and the Australian Government to build and deliver 12 Attack-class submarines for use by the Royal Australian Navy.

Naval Group Future Submarine Program executive vice-president Jean-Michel Billig said: “There is tremendous continuation and progress being made with the Future Submarine Programme.

“Through the execution of this programme, the Naval Group teams in both Australia and France will deliver a sovereign, regionally superior submarine capability to Australia.

“In doing so, we will also help build a stronger Australian industrial capability, which will be supported by a skilled and experienced Australian workforce, providing jobs and other economic benefits for decades to come.”

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“The Naval Group teams in both Australia and France will deliver a sovereign, regionally superior submarine capability to Australia.”

Valued at A$605m, the design contract will be valid until 2021.

Under the contract, the company will support the ongoing maturation of the Attack-class design into the next design phase known as the Definition phase.

Work includes the source selection of more than 100 critical and main equipment that will be part of the submarine design solution.

Naval Group will also perform work in preparation for the construction of the Attack-class submarines in the Osborne shipyard in South Australia.

The company will deliver support to the Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI) for the design and build of the submarine construction yard, as well as the information and communications technology (ICT) systems.

Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “The detailed architecture for the hull, including the placement of main systems, will be developed under this key contract.”

Meanwhile, the government has released expressions of interest for the supply and installation of 18 key items of equipment for the submarine construction yard in an effort to ensure greater participation of local businesses in the submarine programme.