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France accuses Australia, U.S. of lying in escalating crisis

124 Comments
By Stuart WILLIAMS

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The French are over reacting, stomping their feet and throwing a noisy tantrum like a erey young child. I think the US and Australia should just ignore them as one would ignore a child having a melt down until they calm down and are able to speak rationally. In the US case I think I would quietly bring their ambassador to France home until the French are ready to talk calmly again.

8 ( +34 / -26 )

Australia has the right to bulk its military any how it likes.

Over the next few decades China will make moves to secure the raw materials it desires, and Australia is very attractive target with its natural resources, France not so much.

16 ( +30 / -14 )

Show us what you have produce France. You sat on your hands for 5 years on a $90 Billion and have nothing to show. The French stalling tactic backfire. Hoping the Australian would come around to constructing the Subs in France. By the way did the french recall its workforce for the construction of the sub from Australia also. No because there is not one worker involved in producing the Subs living in Australia since the signing of the contract 5 years ago.

There;s the door Frenchy. Tell your story walking.

14 ( +30 / -16 )

Well, here’s the thing about contracts. You actually have to hold up your end of the bargain. And this contract was extant for a minimum of half a decade and I don’t even think France us laid a single keel, let alone produced the subs it claimed it could. Australia was tired of waiting, I guess.

7 ( +21 / -14 )

Now it seems France and China have more in common than just having frog on the menu. Seriously, France needs to unbunch their panties and get with the program. Where's that French pride and dignity? We have a common adversary and share common goals. Don't flip the table if you don't get your way. Both the Australians and the US are Pacific powers and their concerns are right in their faces. Unlike France.

3 ( +24 / -21 )

This is a business matter. Breach of contract should be solved in a business manner. In addition, national defense supersedes businesses. It is a liberty of Australia. Owning a nuclear sub is more appealing than having non-nuclear subs for Australia and other QUAD member countries against China that is behaving audaciously in the near seas.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

China will be doubly upset because they have been spying on the Adelaide submarine construction site from their suspiciously located consulate built in a suburban street a few klm away, and now their info is useless.

21 ( +26 / -5 )

This is SO French, it is classic.

For many years, French foreign policy and business relations has centered around whether you are trusted by them or not.

To be trusted by them, in businss or in government, that means that you have accepted your vulnerability to their interests, and that you agree to a mutually contingent exchange of gratifications, without acting opportunistically at their expense. To be their trusting partner in business means to recognize in perpetuity that you are giving up some / much / all of your own self-interests for the good of the relationship.

Ordinary rules of goods and services procurement mean very little. Petty business considerations like deliverables (goods made and provided exactly according to the technical specifications, on time and on budget) are for unenlightened sweaty masses to worry about! To be their contractor (or worse, a subcontractor) means to know the meaning of the words, complement and frustration. Complement, because you will never lack for someone being there to give you lots of free stuff (some prosecutors may call it a bribe, so make sure to have a good solicitor or two on speed-dial) and tell you that you are the greatest thing since the invention of wine (something you can expect to drink lots of in the years to come). Frustration, in that, as one of their dearest and most trusted true friends in the world, means that you don't compete against them - unless they agree to it, or (better) they want to make it a joint venture - and that you forgive much. Best not have too many hard deliverable deadlines in your contracts to others that you and your business have to meet that depend on their goodwill. You will eventually have to pay monetary penalities on account of your "friends."

Be prepared for lots of drama.

2 ( +21 / -19 )

To be trusted by them, in businss or in government, that means that you have accepted your vulnerability to their interests, and that you agree to a mutually contingent exchange of gratifications, without acting opportunistically at their expense. To be their trusting partner in business means to recognize in perpetuity that you are giving up some / much / all of your own self-interests for the good of the relationship.

I have my doubts about your claims. The French have been heavily involved in Chinese aerospace, and particularly their helicopter industry. Look how many French designs are made in China and used by their military. Are you still going to maintain that China is, to quote you directly, "giving up some / much / all of your own self-interests for the good of the relationship", substituting the word "China's" for the italicized your in your quote. It seems the opposite of any business relationship with China where they always arrange things to their benefit, as a means to gain access to technologies they do not have the means of developing in house.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Australia, another US puppet ...

-8 ( +19 / -27 )

Ah, some anti-French bashing from the all-powerful Anglo-Saxons, the police of the world.

6 ( +25 / -19 )

It would be interesting to know if Australia approached France at any point asking them to allow the transfer of their nuclear propulsion for use in the subs they were building for Australia and what the French reply was. That information could shed additional light on this controversy.

It is also arguable that the French failed to meet the terms of their contract with respect to the requirement for Australian made content in the subs. There had been discussions in the military press about Australia abandoning the contract on this point and the high level of expenditure so far well before the announcement that Australia would instead pursue nuclear powered subs.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

Aussies should look at the US Navy LCS program to see how USA compete in terms of compliance with a contract :

For many, the LCS has become something of a poster child for what's wrong with defense procurement, but the fact that these ships, envisioned to be cheap and ready to operate, cost as much to keep in the fleet as a destroyer, while struggling to even deploy on patrols, has taken that notion to a whole new level.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40147/littoral-combat-ships-cost-nearly-as-much-to-run-as-guided-missile-destroyers

3 ( +7 / -4 )

New Zealand won't allow Australia Nuclear Subs in their waters for environmental reasons.

The Aussie government always blabbers about the environment but when it comes to billion dollar dealers for their crony lobbyists they suddenly go quiet.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

Gee, America spent billions in war. No more war for this week, so America should just pay off the contract to France and be done with it.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

OssanAmerica Today  07:19 am JST

Both the Australians and the US are Pacific powers and their concerns are right in their faces. Unlike France.

Are you aware that France is present in all oceans ? There are French territories in Pacific Ocean (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna), Indian Ocean (Reunion Island, Mayotte), Atlantic Ocean (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin) and even in North America (Saint Pierre and Miquelon). So France is a power in the Indian-Pacific and has interest too.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

Time for Macron to go and let adult people to govern.

France needs to realize they are not a global player anymore.

Time to move on.

-3 ( +18 / -21 )

best of friends

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's understandable that the French submarine manufacturers are upset. At the same time, isn't it better if the Aussies, Brits and Yanks are on the exact same page in terms of arms and technology in confronting China?

12 ( +18 / -6 )

For many, the LCS has become something of a poster child for what's wrong with defense procurement, but the fact that these ships, envisioned to be cheap and ready to operate, cost as much to keep in the fleet as a destroyer, while struggling to even deploy on patrols, has taken that notion to a whole new level.

As originally designed the two LCS class ships were cheap. This was achieved in part by not specing them to full NAVSEA standards used the larger and more expensive combat ship classes. It was expected some will be lost in combat so design decisions were made to keep them austere and inexpensive. In the end the old salts prevailed on NAVSEA. They forced an expensive re-design adding all kinds of extra survival features not incorporated into the original design. The old salts could not get it into their heads that these were supposed to be cheap, numerous and expendable. The idea was you abandon it the way a tactical jet pilot bails out of their airplane if it's hit. They don't try to stay with the aircraft and save it. But the old salts could not accept the idea of expendable combat ships. They wanted them built to the same standards as a DDG and that drove their price up more than 50%.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

As far as I remember, Japan and Germany, as fellow bidders for the original project, accused France of acting in bad faith when the original deal was struck.

Now the shoe is on the other foot.

lol

16 ( +20 / -4 )

I think Japan at some point was involved in constructing subs for Australia but some problems about height headroom.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

New Zealand won't allow Australia Nuclear Subs in their waters for environmental reasons.

No. It is based on their opposition to nuclear weapons. They would not let conventionally powered US warships enter a New Zealand port unless the US explicitly stated the ship was not carrying nuclear weapons. The US will never say a ship does or does not have nuclear weapons on board (hardly any do today). The US during a multilateral exercise once even offered to make a port call to New Zealand in an old FFG*7 class frigate. This is a class of ship which everyone in naval or military circles knew had absolutely no nuclear weapons capability of any kind. That was a close as the US could get to sending a ship with no nuclear weapons without having to say it out loud. Even that wasn't good enough for New Zealand and the ship was denied entry. Diplomatic subtlety is not understood by the Kiwis. I don't have a lot of respect for them. They are a black eye on Five Eyes if you ask me.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

I wouldn't want to be inside this contract if (and only if) Trump got back in power.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What the hell does Australia want nuclear powered subs for? France and UK have nuclear powered subs reliant on US tech that can be taken away at anytime. Other than France, UK, USA, Russia, China, which countries have nuclear powered subs? They are offensive weapons. For coastal defense, diesel-electric subs are far superior. So which country is Australia planning offensive operations against? China or NZ? If the former, if I were advising the Australian regime, I'd suggest not doing that.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

I think Japan at some point was involved in constructing subs for Australia but some problems about height headroom

A version of Japan's latest submarine was offered to Australia with some changes to increase living space for taller Australian sailors. It was not chosen. Instead the French design was chosen. A story that is out there is that the Japanese boat was too small inside for Australian sailors. I have heard otherwise, that the French engaged in a lot of politicing, shmoozing Australian politicians where the Japanese were strictly business figuring they had the obviously better boat (they did) but others will disagree.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Massive overreaction from the French. Macron is throwing his toys out the pram in the style of Trump, probably to pull in votes in the coming election.

France should have taken this on the chin with some Gallic sang-froid. Gratuitously insulting their allies like this in public is embarrassing. Moscow and Beijing must be loving this.

Berlin needs to have a word before this gets any more out of hand.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

A version of Japan's latest submarine was offered to Australia with some changes to increase living space for taller Australian sailors.

What utter nonsense. The average height difference between "tall" Australians and Scandinavians is more than the average height between "short" Japanese and "tall" Australians. You Australians are midgets but you could still use our subs.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

What the hell does Australia want nuclear powered subs for? France and UK have nuclear powered subs reliant on US tech that can be taken away at anytime. Other than France, UK, USA, Russia, China, which countries have nuclear powered subs? They are offensive weapons. For coastal defense, diesel-electric subs are far superior. So which country is Australia planning offensive operations against? China or NZ? If the former, if I were advising the Australian regime, I'd suggest not doing that.

French nuclear subs to not use any US technology. Their program is independent of the US and UK so it is not a case of the French program could be taken away at any time. Among the nations possessing nuclear powered subs you forgot India. Brazil also has a program to develop a nuclear sub percolating along quietly that few seem to be paying attention to.

Australia would use its subs in concert with the US and UK forces in the context of a major Pacific war. They know diesel subs can't run with fast surface forces over great distances in blue water as will be necessary to engage China's growing number of carrier strike groups. DE boats are fine in confined waters where they can hang out noiselessly waiting for the enemy to come to them. But in blue water against fast maneuvering surface forces diesel boats are far from optimal. SSNs are the only subs that can run with fast surface forces across vast distances of open ocean and not be detected and neutralized. And they are the only subs that can make high speed transits from port to a combat zone submerged and in silence, another quality that will be necessary if something hits the fan off Taiwan or in the South China Sea.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

French nuclear subs to not use any US technology. Their program is independent of the US and UK so it is not a case of the French program could be taken away at any time. Among the nations possessing nuclear powered subs you forgot India.

You are right. India has 2 nuke powered subs. No plans for anymore. Brazil doesn't but may have at some stage in the future. So we have France, UK, USA, China, Russia, India and ......... Australia!!!!! with nuke powered subs. So which country is Australia is planning offensive operations against? It could only be NZ or Papua New Gunnia

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Kobe City Japan also banned American warships because of a ban on nuclear weapons.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

“ We know their constant opportunism.“

Suck that thumb!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Yes. Lying. France has a right to be upset. That's all this current fake US administration does, is lie.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

As a westerner and European it makes me really sad to see countries that suppose to work hand in hand be in frictions.

We have so many things in common,by culture and heritage but then it all comes to bloody business when we talk about weapons.

This system should end someday,and the common folks from one side and the other will start bashing for silly nationalism.

In this situation I see none of them as good or bad but all opportunists.

Sad.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

OssanAmericaToday  07:19 am JST

Now it seems France and China have more in common than just having frog on the menu

An extremely non sense comment full of anglophone proud and mocking France.

This is wrong as well.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

The Aussie government always blabbers about the environment but when it comes to billion dollar dealers for their crony lobbyists they suddenly go quiet.

Money changes everything all the time and between nations, that’s the only thing that matters, nothing and no one else.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Could it be that the Australians and US are simply paying back France for that dreadful beaujolais nouveau they foist on the world every year?

11 ( +15 / -4 )

There is a contract between France and Australia so Australia at some point will have to pay compensation.

The nuke subs won't even be in service until 2040.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Austrailia canceled because the French contract was over budget and behind schedule. They would not receive the replacements in time.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

 I don't have a lot of respect for (the Kiwis). They are a black eye on Five Eyes if you ask me.

No-one did. But I guess it's cos they don't go around starting unjustified wars, destroying countries/economies and bombing innocent civilians left right and centre like the yanks.

That was a close as the US could get to sending a ship with no nuclear weapons without having to say it out loud. 

Well why didn't they just do that then? Seems to me it was typical American belligerence that caused that issue.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The France- Australia sub deal had been dogged by problems since its inception in 2016. The cost had doubled and there were a number of other sticking points, on both sides, which seem to point to it being a bad deal from the beginning. Australia wanted to complete the bulk of work in Australia, touting the creation of over 2,000 local jobs. There were many reports of a clash of work cultures, such as the Australian side requiring meetings to begin on time, the French requests for long lunch breaks and a 'la rentree' process after the entire company took a month long break in August. There was also the question of the efficacy of the French subs in the Australian context. The entire deal was not ratified until 2019, a full 3 years after negotiations began. The French are certainly right to be aggravated at the ditching of the program, but they can hardly claim to be blindsided by it, and the long term interopability of systems and range will probably make for a better outcome for Australia.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

France screwed up. It’s simple really.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

France screwed up. It’s simple really.

They are certainly screwed by the others, that's why they're fuming.

But no surprises, seems nothing is binding anymore, no one's word is worth anything

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

There is a contract between France and Australia so Australia at some point will have to pay compensation.

The nuke subs won't even be in service until 2040.

no it was in the contract that they can terminate anytime they choose, France has 6 years to start the construction and still nothing. Now Australia can get the far superior nuke subs why would they want a conventional french sub. Subs main defense is stealth, nuke subs can stay under indefinitely, their nuke reactors dont need refueling for 25yrs, they produce all their own water oxygen and can stay under indefinitely, the only limiting factor is food and toilet paper, so most deployments last about 3 months and theyre underwater the entire time. Basically they can travel all the worlds oceans and not have to surface until they get back to their home ports , Cant do that in conventional subs

10 ( +15 / -5 )

The French media are focusing the lions share of the blame on Joe Biden administration.

Even though it was not Joe Biden decision to make.

Jean-Yves le Drian, the French foreign minister appeared at one point to run out of insults.

The tone was excruciatingly harsh.

“It’s not finished.”

“That is why I say there has been duplicity, contempt and lies, and when you have an ally of the stature of France, you don’t treat them like that,”

“The agreement project initiated by the US and Australia was decided by a small group and I’m not sure US and Australian ministers knew about it”

“When we see the US president with the Australian prime minister announce a new agreement, with Boris Johnson, the breach of trust is profound. In a real alliance you talk to each other, you don’t hide things, you respect the other party, and that is why this is a real crisis.”

Macron should have counted to a hundred before recalling those Ambassadors. Humbly some anger management could come in handy in future. Macron truly lost the plot.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

no it was in the contract that they can terminate anytime they choose, 

Interesting, hope more info will be posted on this

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What’s wrong with France?

OZ doesn’t want their subs so why not sell them to a willing and able TW?

President Macron can even add fighters , missiles and destroyers too!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The direct cause of the row between AUKUS and France may have been the U.S. and Australia's contract of the nuclear-powered submarine dealing to the detriment of an earlier contract between Australia and France.

But it may be deeper than that. The historical rivalry between the Anglo-Saxon camp and Franco-Romance culture, maybe?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I think there is two (linked) issues the multi-billion program to build French-designed submarines, incorporated into a security partnership.

The sub contract I would imagine has all amount of penalties for failure to deliver key milestone obligations.

I would also assume there will be a number of escape clauses.

That would come some way to explain why President Macron is foaming at the mouth.

It is the damage to the dignity of France. Frankly they didn't deserve that.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Of London's role in the pact under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he added with derision: "Britain in this whole thing is a bit like the third wheel."

C'est la vérité! An accurate description of the British since 1945.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Rarely would a white nation deliberately label other white nations as liars with contempt.

Now France has just done that.

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

When the French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thébault resorts to a language/tone that invoke "treason/treasonous" behavior, that is a sure indication that noses have been put seriously out of joint.

French ambassador likens submarine deal cancellation to ‘"reason"

https://www.politico.eu/article/france-ambassador-australia-jean-pierre-thebault-submarine-contract-strategic-partnership-treason/

The French government are so incensed with red mist, they cant see that continuing this undiplomatic beasting will only make matter worse.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

France accuses Australia, U.S. of lying in escalating crisis

Macron & his govt are the ones who based their actions on lies and threats with ministers under scrutiny by justice, Macron has no lesson to give to anyone, the sooner he will go, the better for France and the world.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

It's simple: this deal, the most expensive ever undertaken by the Australian Defense Force, was cancelled so that Australia would have direct access to the actual nuclear technology themselves once they joined the AUKUS intelligence-and-weapons-sharing security pact.

France offered no alliance in this deal which dates back to 2009!, just nuclear subs that were delayed, with cost overruns confirmed (In 2020 the French Department of Finance indicated that the real cost of the attack-class subs will be in excess of $80 billion), and with the nuke tech actually unhelpfully sealed into the subs for the life of the vessel, since France was planning to use WEAPONS-GRADE nuke power in these subs (as opposed to being replenished every 10 years or so as is normal throughout much of the rest of the world's non-weapons-grade-nuke-powered arsenals.)

France already has been so slow and seen such steep cost increases added to their estimates that Australia way back in 2016 opened up outside bidding on the project again to countries like Japan and Germany. (Remember how miffed the Japanese were when France still won the contract? I do. It was about a petty and as salty as Macron's own government's outbursts!)

Australia will get better subs more cheaply...and a security pact with by-far the worlds dominant navy, plus another powerful cultural (and naval) ally, the US and UK. It's a better deal than what France is now offering, and now Macron is having a pre-election hissy fit for his domestic corporate backers. He has to...beyond French Pride, Macron's approval ratings were already deep down in the toilet before this latest debacle...

3 ( +9 / -6 )

The French Government intelligence security services does not come anywhere close to the advanced technology that the US can offer.

It is akin to buying a go-kart, when at a fraction of the price you secure a supercar.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

What the hell does Australia want nuclear powered subs for?

To enhance its blue water navy, to defend its territories and to defend its allies around the world.

France and UK have nuclear powered subs reliant on US tech that can be taken away at anytime.

No they do not. France has its own domestic knowledge on Nuclear propulsion based on its vast knowledge of civil nuclear technology and civilian reactors it designs and builds around the world.

The UK was given tech early on and develops its own based on that early sharing by the US.

Other than France, UK, USA, Russia, China, which countries have nuclear powered subs?

India leased a Nuclear sub from Russia and has built its own with more to come.

Brazil is a few years into construction of it's first nuclear powered Submarine.

Australia and South Korea are planning on acquiring nuclear submarines.

They are offensive weapons. For coastal defense, diesel-electric subs are far superior. So which country is Australia planning offensive operations against? China or NZ?

A short sighted comment. We have friends and allies out of practical range of diesel-electric subs, so nuclear powered gives us a much better ability to assist in defending them if and when needed.

Any military equipment can be used for attack. Australia does not plan on attacking anyone, but it does not know who will attack it or its allies or from where. The ability to retaliate is a defensive deterrent. If you think Australia is planning to attack any nation now or in the future you are obviously in error. All nations with a military are capable of planning to attack anyone, just ask China about it's plans with Taiwan.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Ha. I guess when the anglophones left without France, the French said Filer à l’anglaise!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

As a French, I see just a breach in a contract after 5 years. Not really a step to announce suddenly without compensations .

What is critical is that the deal was announced without proper internal communication. I would not do that to an ally for political reasons. It is a mistake due to Biden's try to restore his credential.

No better than Trump who was never considered a liar although he did so much silly moves, like customs tariffs for wines.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Being a shady partner and throwing a mega fit is such a French thing to do.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

As a French, I see just a breach in a contract after 5 years. Not really a step to announce suddenly without compensations .

It was announced that compensation would be provided as dictated by the terms of the agreement.

That in itself shows there was an in built mechanism to terminate the contract if desired. Call it a surprise by all means, be shocked at the decision sure, Call it treason or a stab in the back and your not being fair as the contract signed by both, had clauses for cancelling and the compensation required if it was cancelled. Australia has availed itself of using that clause/clauses and that is that.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Just as z reminder, France has over 11 million km2 of maritime exclusive economic zone just behind the USA (11.4), and far ahead of third Australia with 8.5 million km2.

It is well political.

I still like my fellow Aussies and Americans and Brits for many good reasons.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Petr14.

Where did you get all the details of that confidential for sure contract ?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Where did you get all the details of that confidential for sure contract

From Australian media who published that up to $450 million will be paid in compensation on top of monies already paid out during the contract of approx 2.4 billion AUD.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

You wouldn't trust this Australian government as far as you could throw them.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

You wouldn't trust this Australian government as far as you could throw them.

I wouldn't trust any nations government as far as I could throw them. They all have their own agenda's and that means putting their party first in all cases no matter where you are.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The French got their knickers in a twist!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The French have their parties in a twist when the fact is that their solution was behind schedule and suboptimal for the evolving environment in the pacific.

Let them have their hissy fit and go about our business.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

French Naval Group had lost control, budget, and importantly the ability to deliver to an agreed schedule within three months.

The contract had clear provision on where the a percentage of the had to be sourced.

The French Government saw the numbers, the billions, the trade deal of the century and without clearly carrying out a drains up close valuation, and line by line risk assessment allowed greed to take over.

Macron is as much to blame as Naval Group

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Sour grapes make a bad whine.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There is a simple rule in business, any business big/small, never ever sign a contract if you cannot deliver on cost and time frame/schedule.

Naval Group, in reality never was able to commit to sharpening a pencil.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It is so typically Gallic to erupt in to a frothing rage and throw your toys out of the pram. Not however the behaviour of a statesman, Talleyrand would be deeply disappointed. The contract was under scrutiny by Australia from early this year for failing to achieve what was required and the contractors were told to pull their socks up. The contract specified how much local content was required but the French were dragging things out in the hope the Australian government would drop it and accept them being built in France. Their ploy has spectacularly backfired. That combined with changed strategic considerations since the original project definition rendered diesel electric submarines no longer suitable for Australia’s requirements.

There are media reports of Morrison stating in an interview that Macron was warned in June at a personal meeting of the danger of the contract being no longer suitable for Australian strategic needs as well as the concerns over the failed timescales, ballooning budget and technical problems/weight problems in converting a nuclear sub design to diesel electric.

It was a bad deal and the wrong design from the outset but the French contractors games and changing strategic circumstances were what finally sank it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Just as z reminder, France has over 11 million km2 of maritime exclusive economic zone just behind the USA (11.4), and far ahead of third Australia with 8.5 million km2.

Jesus Christ. After that it's Russia, UK, Indonesia, Canada and then Japan at number 8 with 4.5 million km².

China comes at number 33 with less than 0.9 million km². You'd think that China had twice the size of France's EZZ, what with all this fuss. If you included disputed areas, even that only comes to 2 million km². But hey, gotta keep that Yellow Peril threat in people's minds.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

itsonlyrocknrollToday  06:39 pm JST

There is a simple rule in business, any business big/small, never ever sign a contract if you cannot deliver on cost and time frame/schedule.

This sounds good, but not how the world works at all.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

P. Smith, agreed it is not the reality.

If you don't dot the i's and cross the t's you will have the world and his wife on your back.

Don't sign what you cannot deliver.

It is not worth the fallout that just SME.

$60 Billion, the poo will hit the fan big time.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Desert Tortoise: "t would be interesting to know if Australia approached France at any point asking them to allow the transfer of their nuclear propulsion for use in the subs they were building for Australia and what the French reply was." At last a good question! I was wondering how long the usual french-bashers were going to enjoy themselves at rehearsing their shortsighted anti-french formulas... Well, the answer is the exact contrary of what you seem to assume on this crucial point: The french Naval Group had actually to adapt their submarines to the Australian demand, in 2016: no nuclear powered submarines. Classical diesel propulsion was required (in full mutual understanding of both parties, by the way) that nuclear powered submarines have a range and a capacity of stealth progression not to be compared with the classical propulsion's range and missions. It was a wise and peace-oriented decision, with a full scale understangind of the strategic dimension of the whole Pacific navan zone... Actually, this AUKUS deal is making of Australia a major nuclear threat for China's military security. And this country is by now becoming a nuclear threat of first front line, should a conflict explose. Which Australia was not, until this sorry deal... It is anyway a very dangerous step enhancing the risks of a nuclear regional war. I know that the comments here are very much pro anglo-saxons oriented, but I am really very surprised that the signification of this major geopolitical event with its dangerous potential development for Japan's security is not even mentioned here.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

In Japan you have latitude with supply chain.

In UK and many European member states you won't be able to walk upright if you don't fulfill contractual commitments ontime.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Now it seems France and China have more in common than just having frog on the menu.

LOL ! Perhaps France is looking to join Beijing's belt and road intiative. Wait a decade, and we'll see France ensnared in China's debt trap a la Sri Lanka.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Actually, this AUKUS deal is making of Australia a major nuclear threat for China's military security. And this country is by now becoming a nuclear threat of first front line, should a conflict explose. Which Australia was not, until this sorry deal

No, it is no nuclear threat to anyone, at all, it cant be as it has no nuclear weapons and no intention of making any. This type of irresponsible scare mongering does nothing but distort the actual facts.

They are getting nuclear propelled submarines. They are bigger than D/E subs and carry more conventional weapons than D/E subs and finally their endurance out matches any D/E subs.

They may be a small threat if they sink although from other sunken nuclear submarines their reactors have so far not caused any catastrophes.

But hey if it makes posters feel good to make false statements based only on their opinions and not the facts then I guess it is fine with JT who allows them to remain posted.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I hope they can smooth this over. France is right now a reliable and powerful ally in the Pacific and the US should not give that up for a hypothetical future of a more able Australia. I think Biden was tone deaf on this.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

itsonlyrocknrollToday  07:18 pm JST

P. Smith, agreed it is not the reality.

If you don't dot the i's and cross the t's you will have the world and his wife on your back.

Don't sign what you cannot deliver. 

It is not worth the fallout that just SME.

$60 Billion, the poo will hit the fan big time.

I agree that you shouldn’t commit to a contract unless you can fulfill it. That, however, is too idealistic for the real world. Most major corporations/entities understand and accept that suing and being sued are merely costs of doing business.

It’s not uncommon for this exact situation to arise and for one party to breach the contract because it is far more efficient than fulfilling the contract. It’s actually referred to as en “efficient breach” in contract law.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The French media and government have and will continue to believe that have been betrayed.

No, not just betrayed, but treacherously condemned as an enemy.

Unless they can let go it will diplomatically spiral out of control.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

RecklessToday  07:57 pm JST

I hope they can smooth this over. France is right now a reliable and powerful ally in the Pacific and the US should not give that up for a hypothetical future of a more able Australia. I think Biden was tone deaf on this.

Australia made the decision to dump the French boats; Biden merely provided Australia with an alternative.

That said, it’s hard to imagine why Australia and the US would have alienated France like this given all three are strategic allies. Well, it boils down to money, so not hard to imagine.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

P. Smith I worked in Lyon, it was fun and the food was better than the politics, economics

Made friends for life,

I have spoken to many on Skype.

I have known them for years.

They are are my dearest friends

Joe Biden must explain his reasoning, and where is Kamala Harris ?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

P. Smith, forget the question it not important

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Australia bungled at the start - they had the option to choose nuclear subs in the beginning, but decided on diesel subs in going with the French bid

Had Australia not been so wishy-washy, they could had just gone with nuclear - although that French nuclear design is one that France hasn't done before, so it would've taken more years to develop

Albeit the build up of bullying by China likely finally pushed them over the edge in going with nuclear

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Peter14: "no nuclear weapons and no intention of making any." Hey man, wake up and have a look on the real world outside - which is not your nice world of "intentions". Alas.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Solzasco

Difficult enough to sell the idea of getting nuclear powered subs to the Australian public. Nuclear weapons will never happen unless a nuclear power threatens to use such weapons against us. Until then your opinion is so far off the reality as to be ludicrous.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Peter14Today  09:23 pm JST

@Solzasco

Difficult enough to sell the idea of getting nuclear powered subs to the Australian public. Nuclear weapons will never happen unless a nuclear power threatens to use such weapons against us. Until then your opinion is so far off the reality as to be ludicrously.

We all know a nuclear power is not going to threaten Australia with nukes because Australia falls under America’s nuclear umbrella.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

itsonlyrocknrollToday  08:41 pm JST

P. Smith I worked in Lyon, it was fun and the food was better than the politics, economics

Made friends for life,

I have spoken to many on Skype.

I have known them for years.

They are are my dearest friends

This is great for you, and I’m happy you experienced this. It is, however, entirely irrelevant to contract law and business dealings.

Joe Biden must explain his reasoning, and where is Kamala Harris ?

Australia made this decision, so it has to explain its reasoning. Biden and Harris did not force Australia to do anything.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I would like to understand this issue, but so far there has not been enough information released to make a judgment, or to even form an opinion.

On the surface of it, doesn't acquire nuclear-powered submarines make more sense than acquiring diesel submarines? How was the original decision made to buy diesel submarines from France? How was the decision made to cancel the diesel contract, and then go with nuclear-powered submarines?

Did Canberra and France discuss upgrading the original contract?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Such a lot of fuss for something that wont even become real till the late 2030's. This project will be 20 years in the making. It is utterly irrelevant in the next 10 -15 years. And in the meantime there is talk of "leasing" submarines. Who has a spare sub by any chance? Certainly not the U.S or the U.K. Not one you would want anyway.

Just another laughable joke in the non stop circus that is Australian government defense acquisitions for at least the last 30 years.

The Collins class turned out to be good boats, but does anybody remember that fiasco? If you of a certain age, you will know what I mean.

In the meantime, we've annoyed the most important country in the E.U when it comes to military and a country with territory a relatively short ride from QLD, certainly shorter than Guam or Hawaii.

Smart hey.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I daresay it's smart for France, strategically, to put a lot of pressure on alliances and try make lemonade out of the lemon of losing the Australian sub-making contract.

I remember how Korea protested Japan's hosting of the 2002 World Cup FIFA Games, eventually gaining admittance as co-sponsor. In this case, as has been stated above, France has many overseas territories in the Pacific and rightly should have been approached to join the new alliance -- and perhaps still can be! AUKUS could just as easily be FAUKUS, now couldn't it? I believe Biden was too hasty in this project. More collaboration with room and a orocess for adding other nations which have nuclear-powered submarines (India?) down the road would have created more of an alliance, and less of a club structure.

Quoted from TheTruthisOutThere 8:22am: Are you aware that France is present in all oceans ? There are French territories in Pacific Ocean (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna), Indian Ocean (Reunion Island, Mayotte), Atlantic Ocean (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin) and even in North America (Saint Pierre and Miquelon). So France is a power in the Indian-Pacific and has interest too.

At first I went for the idea of urgency, that Australia was super-ready to support the US Navy in current strategies to keep international sea channels safe from Chinese control, but the fastest that the UK could deliver subs is 10 years, so it seems quite reasonable to make room for France in AUKUS.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

it seems quite reasonable to make room for France in AUKUS.

The new alliance is not just about the transfer of nuclear propulsion to Australia. There are a number of other technologies involved and perhaps one or all participants may object to sharing them all with France. France is not in the five eyes either and I am sure France has its own technologies it keeps close to its chest and would not want to share with others. All the focus seems to be on the fact an alliance between traditional allies has been declared and the nuclear propulsion Australia will gain. It is about much more than that, with other technologies also being shared between the three and developed together.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

FAUKUS

Not sure that is printable in the Wall Street Journalz

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Aren't French a bit hysterical? It is not only their outdated technology that counts, but also their language - it's as if they are trying speaking German with a dick in their mouth...

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Well why didn't they just do that then? Seems to me it was typical American belligerence that caused that issue.

The situation was an FFG-7 class frigate was ready to make a port call in NZ at the conclusion of a big multilateral exercise. Everyone knows an FFG-7 has no nuclear weapons capability. The Kiwis refuse to let it enter unless the US explicitly stated the ship is not carrying nuclear weapons. US policy is to never confirm or deny where it's nuclear weapons are. In fact the number of any weapon, nuclear or conventional, at any location is always classified. Adversaries expend huge labor efforts and vast amounts of their nation's treasure trying to figure out what the US has and where it is. Satellites, intelligence ships, recce planes, human intel (spies), cyber espionage, and all those analysts back home sorting through the mountains of data cost them dearly, all trying to figure out what the US has and where it is. The US is not about to make their job easier by confirming or refuting their intel by telling the world where there weapons are and how many. Let the bad guys guess and if the US is doing things right they are guessing wrong. But if the US says it has such and such here, an adversary can then know if their intel is correct or not. You do NOT want to give your adversary that kind of information. Let them wonder. Not satisfied with the US response the Kiwis told the ship not to enter their waters. The Kiwis ought to be smart enough to understand you don't give that kind of information away but they are stubborn.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At first I went for the idea of urgency, that Australia was super-ready to support the US Navy in current strategies to keep international sea channels safe from Chinese control, but the fastest that the UK could deliver subs is 10 years, so it seems quite reasonable to make room for France in AUKUS.

Australia intends to build these subs in Australia. It is not a case of the US or UK building these subs to a US or UK design and selling them to Australia. The US will likely build the reactor and perhaps much of the other propulsion machinery but the Australians seem intent on building the hull in Australia with Australian labor and participating in the design and integration of the combat systems. I don't know enough about the Collins class to know if Australia has the necessary equipment and skills to work the 75 or 76 mm thick 100,000 psi steel used in US submarine hulls or if their welders have the skills. It takes about 3 years for an American welder to become competent enough to do the perfectly smooth bubble and void free pressure hull welds necessary to be safe at the depths these subs operate at.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

On the surface of it, doesn't acquire nuclear-powered submarines make more sense than acquiring diesel submarines? How was the original decision made to buy diesel submarines from France?

Until now of the nations who possess nuclear weapons and nuclear submarines, only Russia was willing to share its nuclear propulsion technology with India. For western nations only the US, UK and France had nuclear subs and there was no prospect for any others to gain the ability to operate them. If you remember earlier this spring South Korea asked the US for access to 20% enriched uranium to use as fuel for a proposed nuclear sub they wanted to build and the US turned them down citing US law restricting nuclear proliferation. That left Australia with only one choice for a sub, diesel power hopefully with an Air Independent Propulsion system for puttering around a few weeks without having to light off the diesels (they would still have to come to snorkel depth periodically to replace the stale air with fresh air).

France, Germany and Japan entered a competition to build the replacement for the Collins Class. It was widely assumed the Japanese would get the contract since they were offering a version of what many of us consider to be the best non-nuclear submarine made and not by a small margin. Many of us consider the Japanes boats to be the best subs in the world aside from an American or British nuclear attack sub. Apparently the Japanese team was too smug figuring their boat's qualities would do the talking for them. Meanwhile the French made a point to wine and dine everyone in Australia who had any part in the choice of the eventual winner. When the Australians eventually chose the French design there were howls of protest from the Japanese and Germans. Since then there has been a steady drumbeat of unhappiness with the French who have so far failed to come even close to the domestic content and technology sharing requirements written into their contract and the project was well behind schedule and over budget. These problems are documented in the defense press well before this current situation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well, the answer is the exact contrary of what you seem to assume on this crucial point: The french Naval Group had actually to adapt their submarines to the Australian demand, in 2016: no nuclear powered submarines. Classical diesel propulsion was required (in full mutual understanding of both parties, by the way) that nuclear powered submarines have a range and a capacity of stealth progression not to be compared with the classical propulsion's range and missions. It was a wise and peace-oriented decision,

That doesn't answer the question at hand. Australia had no choice but to specify a diesel powered sub as at that time no nation was going to share nuclear propulsion with a non-nuclear state like Australia. Calling it a "peace-oriented decision" is comical. The Aussies were looking for the best performing long range sub they could buy within the limits of nuclear non-proliferation laws in order to operate across the Pacific. But there had always been this question in the defense press whether the Australians chose the French design anticipating they would switch to nuclear propulsion before the boats were laid down. Choosing a design that is based on a nuclear sub would greatly facilitate a design change to nuclear propulsion for the Australian boats. So the question remains, did the Australians ask the French to share their nuclear propulsion with them or not? And if so, what was the French reply. It may be a case where the French refused where the US and UK said ok. We do not know. We do know the French were over budget, behind on schedule and not coming even a little bit close to meeting the local content requirements written into their contract with Australia. There were calls to cancel the contract based on those factors alone and they are documented in the defense and Australian press. If there were moves in the background to convince the French to provide nuclear propulsion which proved fruitless that could have sealed the program's fate. Someday the story will be told.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For Australia it's a good deal because they don't have to have diesel fueled subs but upgraded to forever fueled nuclear. Depends what they get. Virgina class subs rated at 33 years until core needs replacing. Yowza

The 2016 deal was the best they could get at the time but this is a significant upgrade in capability that will be had. Given the larger ocean areas around Australia the diesels would have limited capabilities

It's only because of the situation with China that this was needed to upgrade. There are likely contract escape clauses that will have a financial penalty for cancelling so I don't see why France is crying about it. Needs change.

I would have liked Canada to also been a part of this deal but we're in an election (polls tomorrow Sept 20th). Also our government has been scared to face China. Hypothetically it would be a good fit though because we also wouldn't want nuclear arms but as we already use nuclear power in cities (unlike Australia?) we'd already have expertise in the area so it wouldn't be such a stretch to use nuclear power propulsion.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is completely a business that Australia buy submarines from France. The contact between France and Australia was established in 2016. When Australia broke the contract somehow now, France should demand the cancel charges to Australia at least. Australia would have to pay a half of the total payment ($5-8 trillion) as France has been making submarines for Australia since 2016.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When Australia broke the contract somehow now, France should demand the cancel charges to Australia at least. Australia would have to pay a half of the total payment ($5-8 trillion) as France has been making submarines for Australia since 2016.

Compensation for breaking the contract is being paid out to France, as per the contract requirements. France has already been paid 2.4 Billion dollars AUD since 2016 and they have produced nothing. The total contract was originally worth $50 billion for the entire life of the 12 Submarines. This cost as reported has blown out significantly and was well behind schedule.

France was unable to stick to the details of the original contract.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Australia is in breach of a contract so i sympathize with France being angry.. all the resources and efforts put in and now you are calling it off - i would be angry!

and whats with all the bashing on French tech? Was the American F-35 program (highly over-rated if you ask me) not heavily over budget and delayed? just giving some perspective!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It sounds like Australia broke the contract suddenly from the stance of France. I wonder when Australia informed France about cancellation of the contract? It sounds like France did not know it at all until recently, so France is so angry about it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

France is correct.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The US and UK should have offered to sell their nuclear subs to Taiwan first.

Then they should let France join the bidding and said that OZ would also be offered the option to also consider them nuke subs.

Moreover , Washingjing would also give Paris the green light to sell Taipei their latest Mirages and missile frigates.

Everybody would then be happy as a cow except da-kine ... you know who!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

France accuses Australia, U.S. of lying in escalating crisis

The U.S. and the UK lying? Naw, who would ever think that...? Perfidious Albion? And its cultural offspring? Paragons of Honesty, certainly...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's not like the French to throw a big hissy fit is it...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

France have not done anything in the five years that contract existed . We can’t sit on our hands , China is a lot closer to Australia than France .

3 ( +3 / -0 )

AUKUS indeed submarined France on their submarine deal with Australia.

What AUKUS did is a grave violation of the 'rules-based' international order.

However selling those subs to Taiwan would be a boost to freedom and democracy .

The US and the UK and for that matter, France should not kowtow to China and sell Taipei their most modern subs, frigates, fighters like the F-35s and latest Mirages.

France can also sell their subs to Taiwan instead on crying over and over after being stabbed in the back by AUKUS!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

France have not done anything in the five years that contract existed . We can’t sit on our hands , China is a lot closer to Australia than France .

The French subs were to be delivered in 2027, but they haven't done anything yet and so we'll order from the U.S. to have them delivered by 2040.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

AUKUS should have included Taiwan since it faces the gravest threat from China.

It should be instead known as AUKUST!

In such a way Taipei will be able to buy not only nuclear subs from the US and UK but also modern Mirage and missile frigates from France too!

Sadly, by excluding TW it became clear that AUKUS is only solely an economic bloc to compete, gloves off with France and not really to counter the military threat from Beijington.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Australia had every right to cancel this contract at any time, due to non compliance from France. Five years in and no concrete plans for a sub yet finished let alone construction starting. It does not matter what replaced it. France doubled the price and stalled on construction and shot itself in the foot. Do not make promises you cant or wont keep.

A better solution for Australian needs has been sourced and this one does not include French input.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Apparently the French have sent an inspector to investigate this. He reportedly asked if Australia had a license for their minky.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Prior to AUKUS, a united Anglosphere to counter both Russosphere and Sinosphere seemed a fringe fantasy but suddenly it has taken form ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Somebody needs to remind the folks behind the French deal that the world... waits for NO-ONE.

I recall once that France did something similar once, and Australia was in the same place back then... waiting.

How France sank Japan's $40 billion Australian submarine dream | Reuters

Karma's a (expletive).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

France accuses Australia, U.S. of lying in escalating crisis

biden has been lying about a lot of things to a lot of people. What makes the French believe he is going to treat them any differently? I don’t blame them from recalling their ambassador. America under this president is not trustworthy - and it’s obvious by the many unilateral actions that have taken allies by surprise such as the rushed and bumbling exit from Afghanistan that this latest insult won’t be the last. This administration is way in over their heads.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It seems that French delays notwithstanding, it will be another 20 years or so before the first submarine is made from the UK. That is several Australian national elections away.

Does anyone have a sense of how amenable the Australian voters are to acquiring nuclear-powered subs? Neighboring New Zealand, also Canada seem wedded to their anti-nuclear stance, so I'm wondering if this a permanent right-wing shift on nuclear-related politics for Australia, or not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It seems that French delays notwithstanding, it will be another 20 years or so before the first submarine is made from the UK. That is several Australian national elections away.

The submarines will be built in Adelaide, Australia from technology provided by the US and UK.

Although it will take perhaps twenty years to produce the first submarine in Adelaide, Australia has indicated it may lease one or two nuclear powered submarines to fill any capability gaps when the Collins class start to be decommissioned.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm no great Boris Johnson fan but he is absolutely right to tell France to get a grip - or 'prenez un grip', as he said in jocular Miles Kington-style 'Franglais' fashion.

Remember that the French suppliers FAILED to honour their contract, and their subs were both way over the original price and way behind schedule.

So not only did the French lie to the Australians over what they would deliver, they also cheated their rivals - the Germans and the Japanese - out of the contract. If they had been honest about the price and delivery times they would never have won the contract in the first place!

The French need to shut up and end their arrogant, petulant and infantile protests.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Les frogs ne sont pas hereux! How much longer will they continue sulking? Good to see!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

20 years would have passed without Australia taking delivery of even so much as a French stick let alone a submarine. I can't stand Morrison and his government but they were right to derail this gravy train.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So the Aussies got tired of waiting for the French, and went with the #1 producer of nuclear subs .

The only question is, why go with France to begin with? They haven't won a war in 200 years. Buy their wine, pastries, and fashions, but if you want reliable weapons, buy American!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Contracts? Wouldn't it be nice if individuals could just abrogate contracts that we have signed just because we didn't like them as Australia seems to have done? When Corporate came after us we could just claim their having a "hissy fit' and forget about our obligations. Australia owes France a significant 'settlement' by any rules of 'fairness' in trade.

But the Aussie taxpayer will pay way more per sub and get many fewer subs for the same money so they will lose anyway. And don't believe for a moment that Australia will get the 'latest' American weapons or defensive technologies...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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