Australia has selected French shipyard DCNS for the $39bn contract to build a new fleet of 12 submarines in Adelaide.
For Australia’s SEA1000 future submarine programme, DCNS competed with Germany’s Thyssenkrupp, and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
DCNS’s solution is claimed to be the world’s most advanced conventionally powered submarine, currently in its pre-concept design stage. It has been named after an indigenous species of the Barracuda, found in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The Shortfin Barracuda is a smaller version of the French Navy’s Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarine.
In a statement on the Australian defence website, the Turnbull Government said: "This decision was driven by DCNS’s ability to best meet all of our unique capability requirements. These included superior sensor performance and stealth characteristics, as well as range and endurance similar to the Collins Class submarine.
"The government’s considerations also included cost, schedule, programme execution, through-life support and Australian industry involvement."
Subject to discussions on commercial matters, work on designing the Future Submarine will commence this year.
This new submarine fleet is expected to fill a capability gap in the mid-2020s, when the Collins-class submarine is scheduled to retire from service.
The project is expected to generate 1,100 Australian jobs and a further 1,700 Australian jobs through the supply chain and play a key role in the Australian economy.
Meanwhile, Japan Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency head Hideaki Watanabe was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the decision was "extremely regrettable."
Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems Australia chairman John White was also quoted as saying: "We are naturally disappointed but we stand ready to provide support for Australia’s future submarines project with our unrivalled experience, leading technology and track record in building submarines in the customer’s own country."
Image: The Australian Navy’s Collins-class submarine will be replaced under future submarine programme. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James R. Evans.