By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) – Australia and France on Monday signed a strategic partnership agreement for joint construction of Australian navy’s new fleet of submarines, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The production of the 12 Attack-class submarines by French shipbuilder Naval Group will cost Australia A$50 billion ($35.5 billion). The bids were announced in 2016.
Construction on the “regionally superior” submarines has already started, the media report said.
The first Attack-class submarine will be named HMAS Attack and it will be delivered in early 2030s, the newspaper quoted a joint statement by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne.
“The signing of the agreement is a defining moment for the country,” the statement said.
“The submarines will help protect Australia's security and prosperity for decades to come and also deepen the defence relationship between Australia and France,” it said.
Australia rejected offers from Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, as well as Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG, and accepted the French bid.