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Australia, France seal $37.5bn 12 submarines deal

Staff Writer |
France and Australia will sign a multi-billion dollar deal or 12 state-of-the-art submarines, their defense ministers said.

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Defence Minister Marise Payne said in Sydney the fleet of subs was the "largest defence procurement program in Australia's history."

The overall cost of the submarine fleet, which includes separate agreements with U.S. and Australian contractors, totals AU$50 billion ($37 billion).

The new contract, which will be signed Tuesday, will lay out the "legal framework under which Australia and France will partner on the future submarine program over the coming decades."

She added that it was "a critical milestone in delivering the regionally superior fleet of submarines."

Australia awarded DCNS the main contract in April to design and build its next generation of submarines, beating off competition from Germany and Japan.

The vessels will be a scaled-down, conventionally powered version of France's 4,700-tonne nuclear-fueled Barracuda but boast the same stealth capabilities.

Design and mobilization work has already been launched with Australian experts working in Cherbourg while DCNS will open new offices in Adelaide on Tuesday employing up to 300 engineers.

With Canberra insisting all the subs be built domestically, Payne said 2,800 jobs would be linked to the overall Shortfin Barracuda program in Australia, with the first vessel expected to be ready by around 2030.

French officials expect 3,000 to 4,000 direct and indirect French jobs to come from Canberra's agreement with DCNS, which suffered a major leak of secret data on Scorpene subs designed for the Indian navy last August.

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