Australian news, and some related international items

France, (and everybody else) touting sales of nuclear submarines to Australia

France pitches nuclear submarine option Sky News, , Thursday, 24 March 2016 “………As part of its sales pitch, DCNS is touting a nuclear growth path.


‘If, in 2050, Australia wants a nuclear submarine, they can design a nuclear submarine,’ DCNS chief executive Herve Guillou told AAP this week in Cherbourg. The DCNS bid offers Australia the eventual capability to come up with our own submarine whether nuclear or conventionally powered. Deputy chief executive Marie-Pierre De Bailliencourt says the Shortfin Barracuda was conceived from a vessel designed to nuclear standards, especially safety. That’s all way down the track.

In the meantime DCNS has to convince the Australian competitive evaluation process panel its proposal is better than those of Germany or Japan. German firm TKMS is proposing its 4000-tonne Type 216, a new design based on its widely exported Type 214. The Japanese government is offering its 4200-tonne Soryu-class boat, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation.

Of the three designs, only the Soryu actually exists and is in service with Japanese navy. However, it would still need substantial modifications to meet Australian requirements for range and endurance……….

This will be Australia’s biggest-ever defence procurement by a large distance, costing as much as $50 billion for acquisition and perhaps $150 billion through their life.

DCNS has emerged as a strong contender. De Bailliencourt believes the Australian government and defence force only accepted theirs was a serious bid after former defence minister Kevin Andrews and defence chiefs visited the DCNS yard at Cherbourg where the first of the new Barracuda-class is under construction for the French navy. It will be launched next year.

DCNS is the only shipbuilder in the world constructing both nuclear and diesel-electric subs. Its Scorpene conventional design has been exported to India, Malaysia, Chile and Brazil.The 4500-tonne Australian version will be 2.5 metres shorter and 200 tonnes lighter than the nuclear Barracuda. ‘De-nuking’ the design is no trivial technical challenge………

The company is scathing of Japan’s proposal to power its Soryu boats with lithium-ion batteries from the outset. ‘We know that the technology is the same one used in cars and in cars they explode,’ De Bailliencourt said.

It’s also scathing of Japan’s proposal for technology transfer – the country has never exported any defence equipment, let alone something as complex as a submarine. Guillou likens this to learning rock-climbing by starting with Mount Everest.

Many security analysts have pointed to the strategic benefits of Australia buying Japanese subs, especially as the US focuses more on the Asia-Pacific. But DCNS says Australia will remain a close strategic partner of Japan whether we buy the Soryu or not, simply because of geography…..

Defence correspondent Max Blenkin travelled to France as a guest of DCNS.

March 25, 2016 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, marketing for nuclear, politics international

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