Australia has welcomed the largest French delegation in the last 20 years, which aims in discussing the economic benefits if France cracks the contract to construct a fleet of 12 stealth submarines worth $50 billion for Aussies.
French corporate moguls Airbus, Thales, and BNP Paribas along with several more companies have sent their executives in Canberra on Tuesday. The French delegation is due to meet the top Australian government authorities and business figures.
East Asia Forum reports that among the three contenders, one of is believed to seal the submarine deal. Aside from France, Japan and Germany top the list of nations being considered for the project. German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has proposed an upgraded class of Type 216 submarine for Australia, which is more convenient and accessible than upgrading Type 214 that Germany is offering. France has come up with a traditional version of the nuclear-powered Barracuda-class if offered by the naval contractor DCNS controlled entirely by the state. Japan, on the other hand, has offered a submarine to be built in the existing Soryu class.
Australia’s submarine contract is one of the most crucial defence procurement measures to be undertaken and hence the nation is quite serious in making a proper selection as far as delivering the project is concerned. Apart from best price, it is also looking for best strategic, economic and political input from the nations applying to propose a deal. Hence, none of the proposals are ideal in the view of the Aussie authorities yet but they are considering the three contenders.
DCNS officials also constitute an integral part of the French delegation sent to Australia. According to French Ambassador Christophe Lecourtier, the contract is not just having a chance to build submarine but is also a contribution from France to strengthen strategic and economic relations with Australia. “We’re not just offering a submarine design, but also a broader alliance between our business communities, between our governments, to face some of the most tricky challenges of this century,” he told Reuters.