TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Australia signs massive sub deal with French firm

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Canberra, Australia   /   Mon, February 11, 2019   /   08:38 am
Australia signs massive sub deal with French firm French President Emmanuel Macron (2nd L) and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (C) stand on the deck of HMAS Waller, a Collins-class submarine operated by the Royal Australian Navy, at Garden Island in Sydney on May 2, 2018. Macron arrived in Australia on May 1 on a rare visit by a French president with the two sides expected to agree on greater cooperation in the Pacific to counter a rising China. (AFP/Brendan Esposito / Pool)

Australia formally signed a $50 billion contract with France to build 12 state of the art submarines Monday, a signal of the country's willingness to project power across the Pacific.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the "very audacious plan" at a ceremony in Canberra as "part of Australia's biggest ever peace-time investment in defence".

The contract for 12 attack-class submarines is with France's Naval Group, a consortium with state backing, and has been years in the making.

The first submarine is expected to be finished in the early 2030s.

Critics say that is too late: the waters to Australia's north and east are the scene of an intense struggle between the United States, China and regional powers, who are all vying for influence.

Beijing has made territorial claims to much of the South China Sea -- a marine thoroughfare that is vital to maintain the supply of ores, minerals and crude that fuel the Chinese economy.

Washington fears that China is becoming increasingly assertive over its territorial claims to display its dominance over smaller Asian nations and cement its role as the prime regional power.

Australian military analysts hope the subs will allow the country to maintain a credible deterrent against possible hostile actions.