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France reacts to Australian cancellation of submarine order

The French Ministry of Armed Forces spokesman Hervé Grandjean gave a press briefing on 21 September reacting to Australia's cancellation of the procurement of 12 Attack-class submarines from Naval Group.

A naval engineer from the Direction Générale de l'armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, and former industrial adviser to Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, Grandjean said, “Australia will lose 10 years” waiting for a new nuclear attack submarine (SSN) class that “won't be built in Australia. If you decide not to build the aft section [where the nuclear reactor is located], you don't build anything at all”. “US Navy sailors could be required to operate the SSN once it is in service with the Royal Australian Navy,” he added. Grandjean cited a US Congressional Research Service report estimating the unit price of the Virginia class at USD3.45 billion, three times that of the French Barracuda SSN.

Without confirming it publicly, the French Ministry of Armed Forces is reducing interactions with the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. French Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Pierre Vandier reduced the length of his visit to the US last week, and Parly “postponed” a Franco-UK ministerial meeting this week, which was to review co-operation projects such as the Système de Lutte Anti-Mines Futur (SLAMF) unmanned mine countermeasures system produced by Thales and the FMAN/FMC missile programme led by MBDA to replace Exocet anti-ship missiles and Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which are awaiting decisions by the two governments.

Janes was told that precise orders were also given to reduce or cancel French participation in upcoming exercises, but that the French submarine Améthyste was in Norfolk, Virginia, on 21 September, and the Frégate Européenne Multi-Mission frigate Aquitaine participated in the commemoration of the 240 th

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