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Australia

Australia, France sign submarine deal

Australia and France have inked an agreement for a French defense contractor to build 12 cutting-edge submarines. The submarines are part of Australia's new defense strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia and France on Tuesday signed the final agreement for French naval contractor DCNS to build 12 submarines in what Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a "critically important step in the development of our security."

The 34.9 billion euro ($36.3 billion) deal, including separate agreements with US and Australian contractors, is one of the world's largest defense contracts.

Turnbull described the deal as the "last foundation stone needed to ensure Australia is able to develop a cutting-edge sovereign submarine capability."

Australia's new fleet of submarines is at the center of the country's defense strategy released in February, which allots an extra 20 billion euros over the next decade to secure strategic and trade interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

'Critically important'

"This is a critically important step in the development of our security, in the assurance of our government in delivering Australians the security and prosperity that they need," Turnbull said.

The submarines will be a conventionally-powered version of France's 4,700-tonne nuclear-fuelled Barracuda complete with stealth technology. France and Australia agreed in April to the deal, for which Germany and Japan were also contending.

Most of the submarine production will be in the southern city of Adelaide and create 2,800 high-skilled jobs, Turnbull said.

US defense giant Lockheed Martin will produce the combat systems for the Barracudas.

Watch video 00:26

France to build entire submarine fleet in Australia

dw/tj (AFP, Reuters)

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