Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Australia would commit to a $50 billion submarine deal to dramatically enhance the Navy’s reconnaissance and combat capabilities.
The Future Submarine Project consists of 12 new 4.5 thousand tonne Shortfin Barracuda submarines, which will be converted from nuclear to conventional powered boats. French submarine company DCNS was selected by the Australian government for the contract over German TKMS and Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation offerings.
DCNS have stated that the Shortfin Barracuda pushes submarine stealth capabilities into a new realm, using pump-jet propulsion instead of the traditional propeller. To add to its stealth capabilities, hydroplanes on the submarine will retract to reduce drag and noise.
The French company also states that the sonar on board Australia’s Shortfin Barracudas will be the most powerful ever produced for a conventional submarine.
In September this year, Lockheed Martin were selected for the combat systems integration on board the future submarines at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion.
The first submarine is not set to enter service until the 2030s, with builds expected to start in Adelaide in 2022.
The Royal Australian Navy is also set to receive 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels and nine Future Frigates.