This new pact called “AUKUS” will see, in fact, the United States share with Australia their nuclear-powered submarine technology, according to the same source, for whom the new pact will bind Washington, London and Canberra “for generations ”.
Australia should therefore cancel, according to the Australian press, a gigantic order for conventional submarines from France, weighing tens of billions of euros, and which President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to defend.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison thus confirmed, a little later on Wednesday, that his country would acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new partnership in the Indo-Pacific region in concert with the United States. United and the United Kingdom. “The first major initiative will be to deliver a fleet of nuclear powered submarines to Australia,” he said, appearing on video conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and with President Joe Biden at Home White.
This announcement risks throwing a cold snap on another alliance, with France, if Australia actually denounces what is sometimes called the “contract of the century” for the French defense industry.
Asked about this aspect, the senior American official said: “I will let Australia respond to their agreement with France for conventional submarines. I think this will be settled in the next few days ”.
A framework agreement signed in 2016 by Australia, but which is faltering, provides for the construction of 12 conventionally powered attack-class submarines, designed from the French Barracuda nuclear attack submarines.
The overall cost of the program for which the French Naval Group is responsible amounts to 50 billion Australian dollars (constant, 31 billion euros).
During an interview with Scott Morrison in mid-June, Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed France’s “full commitment” to go to the end of the contract.
Disappointment of Naval Group
Canberra’s about-face could inflict a major setback on the strategy put in place by the French president for the Indo-Pacific zone, based on close partnerships with India and Australia.
On Wednesday evening, US President Joe Biden promised to “work closely with France” in the Indo-Pacific region. “France, in particular, has a significant presence in the Indo-Pacific and it is a key partner and ally,” he stressed.
This decision constitutes a “great disappointment” for Naval Group, reacted the French defense industrialist, Wednesday evening. “The Commonwealth of Australia did not wish to initiate the next phase of the program, which is a great disappointment for Naval Group which offered Australia a conventional submarine of regional superiority with exceptional performance”, affirmed the group in a statement sent to AFP.
letelegramme Fr Trans