France wins A$50bn Australia submarine contract

Discussion in 'East Asia & The Pacific' started by Vergennes, Apr 26, 2016.

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  1. Vergennes

    Vergennes Captain Staff Member Ret. Military International Mod

    Oct 10, 2015
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    DCNS make us so proud ! Congratz!

    France has won a A$50bn (€34bn; £27bn) contract to build 12 submarines for the Australian Navy, beating bids from Japan and Germany.

    The deal, announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, is Australia's largest-ever defence contract.

    The Shortfin Barracuda submarines will be built in Adelaide using Australian steel, creating 2,800 jobs, he said.

    Japan, which had been a frontrunner in the contest, said the decision was "deeply regrettable".

    Defence Minister Gen Nakatani said Japan would "ask Australia to explain why they didn't pick our design".

    Mr Turnbull said the decision, the result of a 15-month bidding process, was "securing the future of Australia's navy over decades to come".

    "Australian workers will be building Australian submarines with Australian steel."

    The government says the existing Collins Class submarine fleet is ageing and in need of replacement.

    A strong submarine capability is seen as vital for an island nation like Australia to conduct surveillance operations, counter growing military strength from countries like China and to support Australian allies.

    What submarines will DCNS be building?

    The Shortfin Barracuda is a 4,500-tonne conventionally powered submarine. It is closely related to the nuclear-powered Barracuda which weighs 4,700 tonnes.

    DCNS has said the full details are confidential, but the vessel is know to be more than 90m long and to feature an advanced pump-jet propulsion system that is supposed to be quieter than propeller propulsion systems.

    Mr Turnbull said the French bid "represented the capabilities best able to meet Australia's unique needs".

    What were the other bids

    The Japanese bid, with a consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, proposed a version of its 4,000-tonne Soryu-class submarine, lengthened by between 6-8m.

    Mitsubishi said it was "deeply regrettable that Japan's capabilities were not sufficiently conveyed".

    The German bid, from company TKMS, offered a 4,000-tonne version of an existing 2,000-tonne Type 214 class submarine.

    Relationship with Japan

    The French bid received unanimous support from the various experts in the government's competitive evaluation process, Defence Minister Marise Payne said.

    Japan was an early frontrunner to win the contract, thanks to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's close relationship with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe.

    But its bid is said to have foundered because of Japan's inexperience in building military equipment for export.

    The Japanese constitution was changed in 2014 to allow the export of military hardware. The lucrative submarine deal would have been its first such deal and a major victory for Mr Abe.

    The Japanese government was also reportedly keen to further deepen its military ties to Australia as a counter to China's rise. Shared military technology would increase interoperability between the Japanese and Australian fleets.

    The decision to reject the bid is seen as having ramifications for Australia-Japanese relations.

    Mr Turnbull said he had spoken to Mr Abe and they were both "thoroughly committed to the special strategic partnership between Australia and Japan which gets stronger all the time".
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  2. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

    Oct 8, 2015
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    Beyond the nuclear propulsion system, are there any other changes between the Barracuda and Shortfin Barracuda class submarines?


    For conventional attack submarines, which are tactically used as ambush hunters, rather then as hunter-killers like their larger nuke cousins, the pumpjet on the nuclear Barracuda seems out of place on the conventional design as pumpjets are less efficient at slow speeds. But from what I've seen the Shortfin Barracuda will have a pumpjet too.

    It's fire control and weapons systems will be American.

    Have any changes been confirm in the designs?
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
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  3. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

    Dec 17, 2015
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    This deal is pretty big and a major accomplishment for France. Germany usually cleans up in the sub market but in this case France won. It would have been interesting to have seen Japan win, afaik they just started arms exports very recently.



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  4. Cybermat47

    Cybermat47 2nd Lieutenant

    Feb 29, 2016
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    The Barracuda looks like an effective sub, though unless the RAN gets more people to volunteer for sub duty, then we mightn't be able to crew many.
  5. Sven

    Sven Teh Viking dood Industry Professional Ret. Military

    Oct 7, 2015
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    They'd have to be given Australia uses US weapons like ADCAP and Harpoon and has experience with US major and subsystems from its Collins class.

    Australia has stated it would prefer its new class to use the US AN/BYG-1 fire control system:


    This preference was reiterated in 2015 in the Australian Defense White Paper.

    Sub builder tend to be flexible enough to accommodate changes like these (Think Norway's requirements for its Ula-Class replacement, which DCNS is also participating in), assuming they can be supplied with the necessary parts and since this is Australia, a major US ally, it's more then reasonable to think France would be supplied with the system.

    The concern with Japan isn't political pressure, as many have been saying elsewhere on the internet - this being China of course - it's their experience with defense exports, for which they have none in designing weapons system for export markets, and their experience with after-sale support, which again, they don't have any.

    This tender is just too important for Japan's offer to have been taken seriously, it was too risky to rely on a nation with no experience in defense exports or maintenance and support. Compared with TKMS and DCNS, who've decades of experience with both exports and support.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
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