Japan has offered to jointly build the next generation submarine fleet with Australia, according to a report from Japanese media.
According to Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, the proposal would see Japan's defence ministry assist Australia to develop steel and other materials for the submarines and Japan would be in charge of assembling the vessels.
As News.com.au reports, the report was not welcomed by the South Australian Government which pointed to the Government’s pre-election promise that the work would be done locally.
“A viable Australian shipbuilding industry should include frigates and submarines in a continuous build cycle, or there will not be enough work to sustain the industry or its sovereign capability,’’ said Acting South Australian Defence Industries Minister Jack Snelling.
“Our next generation of submarines should be built in Australia, using Australian steel and the world class expertise of Australian workers – anything else is a compromise and a broken election promise.”
Acting federal Labor Defence spokeswoman Gai Brodtmann agreed.
“He needs to keep the government’s promise to build 12 new submarines in Adelaide,” she said.
However, it appears unlikely that this will be the case. At this stage, the project is expected to be done by Japanese, German or French companies.
Last month, Treasurer Joe Hockey said the Government would not hold an open tender on the submarine project on the grounds that time is running out to replace the existing Collins Class vessels.