French company DCNS has been selected as the preferred international partner for the design of the Future Submarine, beating bids from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) of Germany and the Japanese government, with 12 conventionally powered Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A submarines set to be constructed at Osborne, northwest of Adelaide.
“This success has been made possible thanks to the strong teamwork between the French authorities, DCNS and our industrial partners,” said DCNS chairman and chief executive officer Hervé Guillou. “France and Australia have been allies for more than 100 years, and we look forward to further strengthening this time-honoured relationship and honouring the trust the Australian Commonwealth government is placing in us for this ground-breaking project.”
As he made the announcement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stated that the selection of France was the “absolutely unambiguous recommendation” from Defence resulting from the 15-month Future Submarine program Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP), adding that negotiations to finalise a contract for the design partnership will start immediately.
“This decision was driven by DCNS’s ability to best meet all of our unique capability requirements,” the Prime Minister said in a statement. “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, program execution, through-life support and Australian industry involvement. Subject to discussions on commercial matters, the design of the Future Submarine with DCNS will begin this year.”
ASC welcomed the completion of the CEP, and stated that the decision to build the 12 submarines in Australia is recognition of its skilled workforce and recent improvements in productivity.
“ASC is committed to working collaboratively with DCNS from the earliest stages and sharing our unique understanding of Australian submarine requirements and conditions to ensure we build on Australia’s sovereign submarine capability to meet future needs,” said interim chief executive officer Stuart Whiley.
Although the Japanese bid has been overlooked, Turnbull emphasised that Australia remains committed to the “special strategic partnership” with Japan.
At this stage, it is not yet known whether Lockheed Martin Australia or Raytheon Australia will be named as the combat system integrator that will work with DCNS to integrate the BYG-1 combat system into the Shortfin Barracuda.