"The final choice must have been a very challenging one given the high quality of each of the bidders. The appointment of experienced French submarine designer and builder, DCNS, offers scope to introduce advanced maritime technologies proven in naval operational service into the Australian Navy.
"Our new fleet of submarines will be the most potent weapon in Australia's military armoury, one incorporating stealth capabilities essential for operating in our increasingly complex regional strategic environment.
"The Federal Government's decision for the indigenous build of the new submarines acknowledges the agility, skill and know-how of Australia's naval submarine building and sustainment workforce. Critically, this capability will be further enhanced over many decades as a result of today's announcement.
"This decision will be a massive boost to Australian industry with more than 1,000 companies nationally expected to be involved in associated supply chains over the coming decades. The complex build will also include the welcome incorporation of Australian steel.
"The challenge both for governments and industry will be to ensure that we realise to the fullest extent possible the advantages for the domestic economy. These include the development of workforce skills; integration into global supply chains; technology transfer; and the demonstration both domestically and internationally of Australian capabilities including in advanced manufacturing.
"The Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) for selecting the preferred design house for the new submarine comes after a long period of indecision by successive governments. It's to the credit of each of the bidders ? French, German and Japanese ? that they were able to submit their proposals on time. The Defence evaluation team ably led by highly experienced submariner, RADM Greg Sammut, has worked hard to progress this important program.
"Ai Group congratulates DCNS and its Australian team, led by former RAN submariner, Sean Costello, on winning the design development component of this program. We and Ai Group's Defence Council look forward to working closely with DCNS to ensure the strongest engagement of Australian industry throughout the design, build and sustainment phases.
"The combination of the decision on the future submarines along with the recent announcement of a continuous Australian naval shipbuilding industry centred around 9 Future Frigates, 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels and 21 Pacific Patrol Boats ensures a healthy future for this major area of advanced manufacturing capability. It represents a true renaissance of the industry benefits which will flow to all Australians, including hundreds of companies and thousands of workers," Mr Willox said.
Media enquiries: Tony Melville 0419 190 347