The French DCNS Bid for Future Australian Submarine
(Source: DCNS Australia; issued Dec 15, 2015)
The Future Submarine Program will deliver Australia an affordable, regionally superior, conventional submarine capability, sustainable into the foreseeable future.

Australia must have the ability to operate, sustain, maintain and upgrade Australia’s submarine force on an enduring basis. Australia’s Future Submarines project will be the biggest defence acquisition in Australia’s history, valued at $50 billion.

Building the submarines will be a mammoth task – at least twice the size of the Collins Class program.

On completion, the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A will be the most technically complex artefact in Australia.

Our pedigree

As one of the largest and oldest defence materiel constructors in the world, DCNS has the technical capability to deliver the highest quality submarines for the Australian Navy and the Australian public.

DCNS is the only submarine design company in the world to have design competencies in nuclear and conventional submarines, safely delivering submarines ranging from 2,000 tonnes to 14,000 tonnes to navies all around the world.

In the Western World, alongside the United States and France, France belongs to the very exclusive club of nuclear nations. DCNS designs, builds and maintains the French Navy’s nuclear submarines, and as such, control the most complex and sensitive technologies in our shipyards. It is with this in mind that DCNS has prepared the proposal for Australia’s Future Submarine Program.

The Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A

The Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A, designed specifically for the Royal Australian Navy, is the world’s most advanced conventionally powered submarine.

Cutting-edge technology, direct from France’s nuclear submarine program, pushes the submarine’s stealth capabilities into a new realm.

Pump jet propulsion replaces obsolete propeller technology. Hydroplanes can retract to reduce drag and noise.

The Shortfin Barracuda will field the most powerful sonar ever produced for a conventional submarine.

As new technology is developed between France, Australia and the United States, upgrades can be easily made via quick-access technical insert hatches.

The Shortfin Barracuda is 97 metres in length and displaces 4,500 tons when surfaced. It is a magnificent, inspiring submarine which will remain state-of-the-art until the 2060s.

In adopting this technology, Australia will join an elite club which includes only the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France.

Australia and France have enjoyed a close friendship across many generations. The Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A marches that friendship well into the future.

The Build

DCNS will present three strategies to build Australia’s future submarines:

-- The first option is to start the project in France and build all the submarines in Cherbourg, France.
-- The second option combines the capacity of two shipyards, one in France and one in Adelaide.
-- The third option is to start the project in Australia and build all the submarines in Adelaide.

Each option has different costs and benefits, and ultimately the choice of how the submarines will be built is a decision for the Australian Government to make.

For both options, dedicated programs and measures have been designed to transfer technology, expertise and knowledge to Australia. This technology transfer will prepare Australia for the future operation and maintenance of the submarines.

DCNS has the capability and resources to deliver either Australian build option.

Full transfer of stealth technology

France is offering the Australian Government complete access to the stealth technologies utilised on board French nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarines (SSNs) and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).

These technologies are the “crown jewels” of French submarine design and have never been offered to any other country. The very nature of these stealth technologies and the decision to release them to the Australian Government is a significant demonstration of the strategic nature of this program for the French authorities.

The United States will be responsible for supplying integrated combat systems to the Future Submarines, as well as the submarine’s weapons.

The collaboration between Australia, France and the United States will see DCNS providing design, technology and expertise within this sovereign framework.

Local employment

DCNS intends to attract and work with the local Australian defence industry across the design, construction and sustainment phases of the Future Submarine Program.

We view Australia’s Future Submarines Program not only as an opportunity to share our expertise and systems, but also to work in partnership with Australian naval shipbuilders to further develop the technical skills of the naval manufacturing workforce.

Our success as an advanced technology company is not only built on meeting customer needs by deploying exceptional know-how and unique industrial resources; it is also driven by our ability to develop innovative strategic partnerships with the countries for whom we build.

-ends-







prev next

Official reports See all