A US submarine off Gladstone
A US submarine off Gladstone Cade Mooney

French to build $50 billion submarines in Adelaide

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced French company DCNS as the successful bidder in a tender to build 12 Australian submarines, in Adelaide. 

Speaking from Adelaide Mr Turnbull said the $50 billion deal - the largest single Defence contract in Australian history - would contribute to the country's future economic prosperity. 

"This is a momentous national endeavor," Mr Turnbull said. 

"The submarines of the future built by Australians, with Australian steel.

"We do this to secure Australia's future, to secure our island nation but we also do it to ensure the economy of the future.

"The submarine project alone will generate 2800 Australian jobs.

"It secures our successful transition to the economy of the 21st century and the jobs our children and grandchildren are entitled to expect. 

"This is a great day for the Australian economy and the economy of the future."


The submarines will be built in Adelaide in a new submarine yard at the Australian Submarine Corporation shipyard. 

The DCNS offer was to build a 4500 tonne conventionally powered version of a larger 4700 tonne nuclear powered submarine called the Barracuda.  

The other bids in the tender process came from the Japanese government and German company TKMS. 

Under the leadership of former PM Tony Abbott Japan had been widely expected to win the contract as the result of a captain's pick.

However that proposal was torpedoed by South Australian MPs who were fearful they would lose their seats if the struggling southern city did not receive an economic injection. 

A press release issued by the PM's office in the moments after the announcement said the tender process had enabled the government to pick the bid which best fit its requirements.

It also made a great effort to highlight the fact the decision had been made off the back of fair and transparent process.

"The competitive evaluation process has provided the Government with the detailed information required to select DCNS as the most suitable international partner to develop a regionally-superior future submarine to meet our unique national security requirements, as detailed in the 2016 Defence White Paper," the release read.

"This rigorous and independent process was led by Head of the Future Submarine Program, Rear Admiral Greg Sammut AM CSC, and General Manager Submarines, Rear Admiral Stephen Johnson USN (retired), who was previously in charge of the program to replace the Ohio Class ballistic missile submarines.

"The process was overseen by an independent Expert Advisory Panel, chaired by former Secretary of the United States Navy, Professor Donald Winter. It was peer reviewed by Vice Admiral Paul Sullivan USN (retired) and Rear Admiral Thomas Eccles USN (retired).

"This decision was driven by DCNS's ability to best meet all of our unique capability requirements. 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."

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