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News > France

US Submarines Contract is A ‘Blow In The Back’, France Says

  • A French-designed submarine, 2021.

    A French-designed submarine, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @NavyLookout

Published 16 September 2021

The new military alliance between the United States, Australia, and the U.K. It implies a large loss for the French submarine industry.

On Thursday, France denounced a "blow in the back" by the United States and Australia after these countries, together with the United Kingdom, sealed a submarines supply contract under the just-announced trilateral security partnership.


US, Britain, Australia Announce New Security Partnership

"We had established a relationship of trust with Australia. This trust is betrayed," French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said, adding that the contract is a "blow in the back."

"It is not over. They will have to give explanations… The American behavior worries me. This unilateral and brutal decision is very similar to what Donald Trump was doing," he pointed out

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly described the US-Australia contract as "very bad news" from the perspective of international order. "In terms of geopolitics and international politics, it is serious," she said, adding that she is "lucid on the way in which the United States treats its allies."

In a joint statement issued Wednesday, governments of the United States, Britain and Australia announced the creation of a new trilateral security partnership called "AUKUS," which will help "significantly deepen cooperation on a range of security and defense capabilities."

The first initiative under AUKUS will be the delivery of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia, and the three countries will spend as many as 18 months discussing how this capability will be delivered.

On Wednesday evening, Le Drian and Parly already issued a joint communique in which they said that "the American decision, which leads to the exclusion of a European ally and partner like France from a crucial partnership with Australia... signals a lack of consistency which France can only notice and regret."

The Frenchy-owned shipbuilder Naval Group was selected in 2016 by Australia to supply 12 submarines with conventional propulsion. France thus sees a contract of some 56 billion euros, but only 8 billion for the French part escape its naval industry.

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