rss icon Subscribe
desktop mobile

France, Australia Downplay Tensions over Submarine Deal

The Future Submarine Program Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) is signed by the Commonwealth of Australia and Naval Group in February 2019 (Photo: Naval Group)

France and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to a A$50 billion ($34 billion) submarine deal on Friday, seeking to defuse tensions after French shipbuilder Naval Group raised concerns over the capability of Australian contractors.

Australia signed a production contract with Naval Group in February 2019 for a fleet of 12 attack-class submarines, ending a two-year wrangle over one of the world's most lucrative defense deals.

Australia had selected the French firm as its preferred bidder in 2016 ahead of other offers from Japan and Germany. However, final contracts were delayed amid reports of cost blowouts and production delays.

The project was again under scrutiny this week when Naval Group's Australia boss John Davis told The Australian newspaper he had concerns over the capability of local contractors, and suggested Australian businesses could fail to secure half of the value of the total contracts.

Those comments were met with anger by Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds, who said in a statement she would hold "Naval Group to account for the commitments they signed on for".

Reynolds met with France's Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday to discuss the spat.

The two said in a joint statement they had reaffirmed their full commitment towards the program, its calendar and the ramping up of Australian industrial capacity.

"We agreed on a follow-up process at our level for the implementation of the program on a quarterly basis this year with a meeting in France in April and another in Australia in mid-year," the two said.

Australia's 12 new submarines are at the center of its plan to significantly expand its military to protect strategic and trade interests in the Asia-Pacific region. The first of the new submarines is scheduled to be delivered in the early 2030s and the final vessel during the 2050s.

An official aware of the issue said the project was still in its early stages and it was strange to make an assessment on local firms.

"There is nothing to suggest Australian partners can't do this and work is being done to help them. Everything is being done so that the a large part of the engineering is done in Australia," the official said.


($1 = 1.4890 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Mark Potter)

Feb 14, 2020

 

Shipbuilding

Ingeteam Tech for Wallenius LNG Vessel

Image:  Ingeteam

Electric power conversion specialist Ingeteam has signed the contract with Yantai CIMC Raffles

SCHOTTEL Propulsion for Turkish-built Tug

Photo courtesy of SCHOTTEL

SCHOTTEL said it has secured a contract with Turkish shipbuilder Med Marine to provide propulsion

IHC Launches Dredger for NMDC

TSHD Ghasha is launched at IHC’s shipyard in Kinderdijk, The Netherlands (Photo: Royal IHC)

Dutch shipbuilder Royal IHC launched a new trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) for the United

Navy

US Warship Seizes Suspected Iranian Weapons

The guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) boarded a stateless dhow in the Arabian Sea and interdicted an illicit shipment of advanced weapons and weapon components intended for the Houthis in Yemen, February 9, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Michael H. Lehman)

A U.S. Navy warship seized weapons believed to be of Iranian “design and manufacture

Keel Laid for Nigerian Navy Landing Craft

Image: Damen Group

Dutch shipbuilding giant Damen Group said that its Damen Shipyards Sharjah (DSS) in the United

Titan Acquires HII's San Diego Shipyard

(U.S. Navy photo by Adam Ross)

One the United States' largest fleet service and ship repair sites is changing hands.

Maritime Apps