Australia’s ambitious project to jointly build 12 Attack-class submarines with the France is now estimated to cost nearly $90 billion, up by 12% (or $10 billion) in five months.
The forecast doesn’t include the whole-of-life cost of about $145 billion of sustaining the boats. Prices calculated in 2016-17 have been revised according to present exchange rates and inflation calculations amounting to around $89.7 billion, The Australian reported citing defence ministry on Tuesday.
“My French Defence Counterpart Florence Parly, and I held our first quarterly meeting to review the progress of the Future Submarine Program. The Program remains on track to meet its next major milestone, the Systems Functional Review in January 2021,” Defence Minister Linda Reynolds tweeted on Friday.
“The government originally promised the future submarines would be delivered from the mid-2020s at a cost of $50 billion. Now they won’t start building the first submarine for another four years, and they come with a $90 billion price tag,” opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles told The Australian.
The Australian Government selected Naval Group as its preferred international partner for the design of 12 Future submarines for the Royal Australian Navy on April 26 2016. The Aussie boats will be based on the French Navy’s new Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarines. In February 2019, it signed a “Strategic Partnering Agreement” with the French contractor.
The first Attack class submarine, to be named HMAS Attack, will be delivered to the Navy in the early 2030s.
In March of this year, Naval Group said it awarded PMB Defence based in Australia's Adelaide city and Greek firm Sunlight contracts to provide design, prototyping and qualification activities Main Storage Batteries which act as a power source for engines and other equipment on-board the new boats.