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Australia signs multi-billion dollar submarine deal with French firm

Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pyne speaks as Prime Minister Scott Morrison laughs after signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement at Sir Thomas Blamey Square on Feb. 11, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. The prime minister has signed a strategic partnership with France to build new submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. (Getty/Kyodo)

SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- The Australian government signed on Monday a long-awaited contract for the nation's new fleet of submarines to be built by French state-owned shipbuilder Naval Group.

    The A$50 billion ($35 billion) Future Submarine program will see 12 conventionally powered submarines built for the Australian Navy, with the first expected to be completed by the early 2030s.

    Speaking at the agreement-signing in Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the Attack class submarines as the "cornerstone" of a $90 billion National Shipbuilding Plan which will see 54 new naval vessels built in Australia.

    "It's all part of Australia's biggest-ever peacetime investment in defense," he said.

    In 2016, the Australian government chose to partner with France's Naval Group over bids from Japan and Germany.

    With all 12 submarines to be built in Australia, the program is estimated to generate roughly 2,800 jobs per year.

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