France and Australia have reaffirmed their “full commitment” to ensuring local firms play a role in building Australia’s next generation submarines, after the main French contractor suggested Australian industry was not up to the job.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly met counterpart Linda Reynolds on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference after the comments by French shipbuilder Naval Group sparked outrage.
According to a joint statement:
“Both of us reaffirmed our full commitment to the program, in particular with respect to the schedule and Australian industry capability. We are committed to work together to make it a success.”
The Naval Group consortium, partly owned by the French state, was chosen in 2016 to design and build 12 attack-class submarines for the Australian navy.
The first submarine is slated for delivery in 2032.