Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, informed this Thursday of the suspension of the program for the construction of the new fleet of conventional submarines with the French company Naval Group since these no longer adjust to “the operational needs in the next decades” of his country.
The decision was known hours after Australia announce next to United States and United Kingdom an ambitious defense pact aimed at standing up to China in the Indo-Pacific, including the development of nuclear submarines for the Australians.
“The pursuit of nuclear-powered submarine technology means Australia will no longer pursue the Attack-class conventional submarine program with the Naval Group.” Morrison said in a statement.
The president thanked Naval Group, to the Government of France and to Lockheed Martin Australia for their efforts, explaining that the decision to cancel the project with France is based on the fact that “accelerating changes in regional security make conventional submarines unsuitable for our operational needs for decades to come”.
The project for the construction of twelve submarines, which had suffered several delays, had been awarded to Naval Group in 2016, then known as DCNS, it was valued at around $65.997 billion.
At a press conference in Canberra, Morrison reported that he has already notified his decision to Naval Group and the French government, and insisted that “France remains an incredibly important partner in the Pacific”.
The suspension of the program has caused discomfort in the Government of France, which pointed out that it goes “against the spirit of cooperation” between the two countries, according to a statement from the Foreign Minister, Jean’Yves Le Drian, and that of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly.
In addition, Naval Group expressed in a statement its “disappointment” by the decision considering that it offered Australia “a conventional submarine superior to the regional level”, as well as “sovereign submarine capacity with unmatched commitments in terms of technology transfer, jobs and local content”.
After the cancellation of the project with France, Australia will seek to develop its program to build nuclear submarines, under the agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom, in the city of Adelaide, although details such as costs are still unknown.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.