French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called Australia’s decision to terminate the contract for the construction of submarines “a stab in the back” and demanded an explanation from Washington, which essentially intercepted the deal from Paris. Gazeta.Ru understood the political and military implications of the commercial deal.
“We will not continue the submarine building program with France, as we have informed the French government and its President [Emmanuel] Macron,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison .
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called Canberra’s actions “stab in the back”
“We have established a trusting relationship with Australia, this trust has been undermined,” the minister said on the air of France Info radio station.
According to him, Paris is waiting for an explanation from Canberra and Washington.
The decision to terminate the contract came immediately after the signing of a new defense and security partnership between the United States, Britain and Australia, which involves the creation of nuclear submarines for the Australian Navy in 18 months.
“Australia sees a threat to security, first of all, in the growth of China’s naval power. A partnership between the United States, Britain and Australia is designed to contain China’s ambitions. There is a political and economic aspect here: the tidbit will now go not to Paris, but to Australia’s traditional partners – the Anglo-Saxons, ”explained Igor Korotchenko , director of the Center for Analysis of International Arms Trade (TSAMTO), editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine, to Gazeta.Ru …
What “fish” jumped off the hook
Australia in 2017 signed a contract with the French company Naval Group for 12 submarines, their value was estimated at 90 billion Australian dollars ($ 66 billion). It was the largest defense contract in Australian history.
According to the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a French shipyard in a tender for the construction of submarines for Australia proposed the project of the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A submarine. This is a non-nuclear version of the nuclear-powered multipurpose submarines of the Barracuda project.
Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A, according to the project, was supposed to have a length of 94 meters and an underwater displacement of about 4.7 thousand tons, which would make it one of the largest non-nuclear submarines.
It was planned to equip the boat with a new generation of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, and not an air-independent power plant, to increase the submerged range. The project developer also promised a phased build-up of the combat capabilities of the boats throughout their entire service life.
The Australian Navy made an order for the construction of submarines of large autonomy. These submarines are to operate in the Persian Gulf and the North Pacific. Submarines were supposed to use torpedoes and cruise missiles, and also be used for special operations. It was planned that France would build 12 boats for Australia in 25 years.
They were to remain in the Australian Navy until the 2070s.
“Reminds of the Cold War”
According to Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of the magazine Arsenal of the Fatherland, a member of the expert council of the board of the Military-Industrial Commission , the reason for Australia’s withdrawal from the submarine construction agreement lies in the “desire of the United States to build an alliance in the Pacific against China.”
“Australia is the main outpost of the United States in the Pacific Ocean, it generally acts in line with the US policy, especially the military one. This move by Australia suggests that it fits into the alliance being created in the Pacific Ocean by the United States. It reminds me of the times of the Cold War, when there was a pact led by the United States, directed against the USSR and partially against the PRC, ” the expert said.
Murakhovsky noted that the creation of the military-political alliance “USA – Britain – Australia” is an alarming sign, first of all, for China.
“This will require China to seriously rethink its plans to create” three lines of defense. Australia is creating a serious area of potential military threat against China. He will be forced to direct even more efforts and funds to modernize and increase the size of his navy, ”said Murakhovsky.
Not only “against China”
Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, military political scientist Alexander Perendzhiev believes that the break in the agreement between Australia and France “has implications, this event is very significant both for world politics and for the internal state of the West itself.”
“NATO is starting to split over China. The Anglo-Saxon component and the European Union are clearly distinguished.
France is one of the leading states of the European Union. The Anglo-Saxons have concerns about his desire to create their own army – they are building defense mechanisms. In this case, so that Australia does not depend on France and the European Union, especially in military-technical terms, “
- Alexander Perendzhiev told Gazeta.Ru.
The expert noted that the British-Australian alliance is directed not only “against China”, but also against France.
“France previously had colonies, it is interested in re-establishing its influence in them. For example, she is trying to do this in North and Central Africa. Canada could join the US-Britain-Australia alliance, but it has the French province of Quebec. They will not be able to protest against France, especially Quebec is one of the developed provinces in Canada, ”says Alexander Perendzhiev.