The Australian Government was in favour that most submarine building would be done overseas, says a report in ABC.
Cabinet’s national security committee last October favoured Australia’s new submarine fleet being mostly constructed overseas with the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) having only limited work, according to the ABC’s Four Corners.
The program was told this “by sources intimately involved with the project”. The submarines became an issue for Tony Abbott in the run up to the unsuccessful motion to spill the leadership, when he was forced to make promises about the involvement of the South Australian industry.
The decision informed former Defence Minister David Johnston’s statement that he wouldn’t trust ASC to build a canoe, a comment that eventually led to him being removed and replaced with Kevin Andrews.
The $50 billion project will now undergo a competitive evaluation process to decide whether ASC will partner with Japan, Germany or France to build the Future Submarines. Many have speculated that the deal with Japan was already done, however the ABC will report that that is not the case despite Prime Minister Tony Abbott
’s close relationship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Meanwhile, Dagens Nyheter, a Swedish daily, published a letter by the head of the Swedish Defense Material Administration criticizing recent statements made by Australian politicians and policymakers that Sweden no longer had the technical expertise to build submarines.
The letter, sent at the beginning of this month to the head of the Australian Defense Material Organization (DMO), which, among other things, manages the acquisition of weapon systems for the Australian military
, refutes in detail the justification that was publicly provided why Sweden was not invited to bid for Australia’s largest defense procurement program in its history.